Sustainability is not just ‘doing nature a favour’
At yesterday’s Corporate Sustainability Mastermind Group (CoSM) a new member* said something that I thought was quite brilliant: “We’ve got to get people away from thinking that Sustainability is just ‘doing Nature a favour'”. With that phrase, she perfectly nailed what irritates me about the tone of so much talk about Sustainability: it has a fluffy, nice-to-have, aren’t-we-fab tweeness.
Tackling climate change, protecting biodiversity and eliminating persistent pollutants is all about protecting the natural systems that sustain us. Saving the bees is both the right thing to do morally and ensuring that future generations get something to eat. That’s what Sustainability means.
Tone is important. Tweeness implies Sustainability is optional where you can pick and choose what you do and what you ignore as ‘too difficult’. Proper Sustainability puts those ‘too difficult’ things first.
And now I have a new way of describing it!
* The group operates under the Chatham House rule, so I can’t identify the speaker.