“The book is grounded in a truth too many of us ignore” – Gil Friend
Gil Friend, author of The Truth about Green Business, introduces a passage that debunks sustainability ratings from Flourishing: A Frank Conversation about Sustainability
, by John R. Ehrenfeld and Andrew J. Hoffman.
John Ehrenfeld is a friend and valued mentor, yet because I am one of those consultants that he says “tout sustainability as the new way toward profits and market share,” I sometimes find myself in his crosshairs. That can be a sobering experience, but I’m grateful for his fierce and honest critique, which is reprinted below from a new book that marries Ehrenfeld’s writings and his interviews with his former student Andy Hoffman. The book is grounded in a truth that too many of us ignore: Superficial tweaks to business as usual will do little to transform the structural and infrastructural fallacies of the modern global economy.
“The world, the ultimate source of goods, is finite. Eventually we will exhaust the resources necessary to support human life.” – John R. Ehrenfeld
A month ago, Andy Hoffman and I were throwing a book party to celebrate our combined efforts in writing Flourishing: A Frank Conversation about Sustainability.
With a few hitches here and there, I can say I am flourishing in real life. Without being smug, I can say, that at any moment, I feel complete and satisfied that I am taking care of myself, others and the world.
But I can hardly say the same for the world out there. People do not even know what they mean by sustainability, as I judge not only in their words but, more importantly, in their actions. Sustainability always carries a sense of continuing to create or maintain something. Without specifically naming the something as I do in calling out flourishing as the goal, the cry for sustainability is a cry for maintaining the status quo. Two questions naturally then arise. What characteristics of today’s world? Who decides which ones?
This week sees the release of a special issue of the Journal of Corporate Citizenship (JCC). This issue, on the Positive Psychology of Sustainable Enterprise, looks at how a positive approach to corporate sustainability catalyses engagement, productivity and workplace well-being.
The collection of ten papers explores how an organisation’s quest for sustainable value might bring out the best not just on the outside – helping to advance a better society or world – but also bring out the best on the ‘inside’ – in the flourishing of people, the quality of their relationships, their health and well-being, their motivation and performance, and their capacity for growth, resilience and positive change.
Contributors including David Cooperrider, Chris Laszlo and John Ehrenfeld discuss the impact of a positive attitude towards sustainable growth, and how we might move forward using our knowledge of the link between advancing sustainability for the good of individuals as well as the good of society.