10 steps toward organizational sustainability

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Author and consultant, Katrin Muff, shares an inspirational story from a recent day she spent facilitating an organization’s shift toward embracing sustainability and shared values.

Note: this article is part of The Transatlantic Debate Blog series, which forms a conversation between Dr. Katrin Muff and Dr. Kathy Miller Perkins on business sustainability. Read the previous post here.

What does it take to get an engineering company to embrace their care for a better world? Is it possible to provide access to the deeper meaning of sustainability to those who define it as either one-dimensional economic long-term survival, or as a predominantly ecological issue?

These were my questions as I prepared for my consulting day with a medium-sized traditional Swiss engineering company. The sustainability-fluent CEO had invited me to lead a workshop with his senior team, including the board, in a first conversation towards formulating a vision 2030 for a company that, in his view, had embrace sustainability. I am sharing here the step-by-step process of that very positive one-day workshop.

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The Seven Drivers of Responsible Investment

Thomas Croft, Executive Director of the Steel Valley Authority and co-founder of Heartland Capital Strategies, shares his thoughts on the seven drivers of responsible investment.

A new wave of responsible investors is mobilising capital for smart buildings and affordable housing, civic infrastructure projects, wind and solar energy, and high-speed rail, hybrid buses and electric cars. They are sustainably rebuilding cities, renewing the industrial commons, growing the clean economy and fighting to make the ‘boss’ more accountable.  Continue reading

Responsible Investment in the 21st Century

The fact that the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) now has almost fifteen hundred signatories including over three hundred asset owners and nearly one thousand asset managers provides evidence that responsible investment is increasingly seen as a standard part of mainstream investment practice. Over the past decade, PRI signatories have encouraged improvements in the environmental, social and governance performance of the companies in which they are invested, and they have made significant investments in areas such as renewable energy.
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Courageous collaborations: how one plus one can be greater than two

Note: this article is part of The Transatlantic Debate Blog series, which forms a conversation between Dr. Katrin Muff and Dr. Kathy Miller Perkins on business sustainability. Read the previous post here.

Organizations have always been complex.   And in today’s world the enormity of our challenges calls for rethinking how our establishments operate.   In her March blog, Katrin discussed how structure and culture can equip an organization to address current and future challenges.   She argued that many may need an overhaul.  Her primary focus was on changing how the organizations function internally.   I propose that we should also consider how we relate to other organizations outside of our traditional boundaries.  I believe that collaboration across boundaries gives us the best chance of coming up with innovative solutions to at least some of our multifaceted conundrums. Continue reading

Organizations of the Future – how to get there?

Note: this article is part of The Transatlantic Debate Blog series, which forms a conversation between Dr. Katrin Muff and Dr. Kathy Miller Perkins on business sustainability. Read the previous post here.

Organizations of the future can be recognized by a number of unique elements:

  1. They attract and retain talent with future-relevant competencies
  2. They are able to innovate as quickly as the outside world changes
  3. They have distributed power structures based on smart self-organizing units
  4. They build their purpose on solving burning societal needs and thus ensuring long-term economic viability
  5. They embrace stakeholders into their decision-making
  6. They have flexible and adaptive structures and processes

In short: they look very different from the typical large-sized organization of today.

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Adapt or Die: Understanding Stakeholder Pressure as an Opportunity for Purposeful Growth

By Dr. Kathy Miller Perkins

Note: this article is part of The Transatlantic Debate Blog series, which forms a conversation between Dr. Katrin Muff and Dr. Kathy Miller Perkins on business sustainability. Read the previous post here.

Have you ever thought about how many formerly great companies are no longer around? For example, whatever happened to previously iconic companies like Compaq, Standard Oil, and Polaroid? And who can overlook the gradual demise of Blackberry?  Of course it is difficult to say whether these failures could have been predicted much less prevented.  Continue reading

Democracy, democracy, and how to keep the sanity?

By Dr Katrin Muff

Note: this article is part of The Transatlantic Debate Blog series, which forms a conversation between Dr. Katrin Muff and Dr. Kathy Miller Perkins on business sustainability. Read the previous post here.

At the dawn of the primaries in the United States, there is much surprised rubbing of the eyes in front of the possibility that we might enter the U.S. election with a radical dreamer on the left (Bernie Sanders) and an egomaniac billionaire on the right (Donald Trump), both lining up the late-arriving Michael Bloomberg to represent the sane path down the middle. Both candidates play skillfully with two dangerous emotions: fear and anger. My grandmother had always advised that fear and anger were not wise counsellors. Continue reading