Wise Words from the Sustainability Mastermind Group
Yesterday I hosted another of our Corporate Sustainability Mastermind Group at another fantastic venue, this time the Biscuit Factory art gallery in Newcastle, said to be the largest commercial gallery outside London. Membership of the Group is open to senior managers and directors of large organisations who want to take sustainability to the next level.
The theme of the meeting was Global Megatrends in Sustainability and we used my sustainability PESTLE analysis as a brainstorming tool (note the lack of Powerpoint in the picture above). Group members identified key opportunities and risks they perceive and used that to discuss ways forward.
Here’s just a flavour of the take away points generated during the discussion:
- Risk of unavailability of raw materials rising to be equal to or even above risks from, say, climate change to business;
- This in turn is opening opportunities for circular business models;
- Philanthropy can come in the form of advice as well as cash – and is often more effective in this form;
- Gamification is an interesting new development, but need to be cognisant of company culture or it could backfire;
- ‘Base of the pyramid’ markets ripe for Creating Shared Value (CSV) type investment;
- ‘Soundbite environmentalism’ is a real risk to practical sustainability solutions – if people object, remind them of the alternative – the status quo – which they are effectively defending;
- Legislation can be a boon – grabs attention of board members and drives innovation;
- ‘Lean’ and other business process improvement programmes are a prime opportunity to embed sustainability into core processes;
- Greening supply chain can be difficult eg when there is a narrow choice in suppliers and in the case of land use changes;
- Flood and drought risks are not being taken seriously enough by business or authorities.
After almost 3 hours of intense discussion, we had a great lunch in the David Kennedy Food Social restaurant – and continued talking sustainability over the food.