I'm writing this just before I catch the train to London, tux in tow, for the big BusinessGreen Leader awards tonight - Terra Infirma Ltd has been shortlisted for Green Consultancy of the Year 2013. While I'm very excited, I'm not holding my breath - the competition is stiff to say the least.
Competition is a key human trait. Our dominant political system is democracy - a competition between ideas and individuals to get elected. Our dominant economic system is a market based economy - beating the competition by providing better or cheaper products and services. Our dominant pastime is sport - look how the papers are full of Wimbledon, The Ashes and the Lions Tour. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the competition of natural selection. It is no exaggeration to say competition is in our genes.
My Green Jujitsu principle says tap into that kind of powerful instinct, instead of straining against it (tree huggers look away now). There are some great examples:
- Greenpeace's ranking of electronics companies which managed to push Steve Jobs into a rare u-turn on environmental issues as he didn't want Apple to lose at anything.
- Forum for the Future's sadly now defunct Sustainable Cities Index whose power I witnessed at first hand pushing Councils to up their game on sustainability.
- Diageo run competitions between its sites as to who can be greenest.
- A number of businesses run competitions between staff teams to see who can use least paper or cut their carbon most.
We love competition. Use it.
+++ Update: we lost, but of course we're just happy to have been shortlisted. Of course. Wait until next year... +++