SIGNALS: GROWTH PLATFORMS FOR A COVID-19 IMPACTED WORLD (01/11)
The global lockdown has shown us the scale of positive environmental change that is possible. This didn’t happen as a result of ‘sustainability’, it happened as a consequence of mass, radical, uncompromising action.
Our planet now needs more than ‘sustainability’, it needs even more of this mass, radical, uncompromising action and for brands, that means significantly upping ambitions from work on ‘Sustainability Initiatives’ to delivering Mass; Radical & Uncompromising Pro-Earth Strategies.
‘Sustainability’ is broken – “the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level; the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance” (Dictionary.com) - as a mission, is no longer powerful enough; we must be more radical than we believe is necessary; everything is at stake.
As a business imperative, ‘Sustainability’ is replete with blurry intentions to the point that it has become a meaningless catch-all covering anything from recycling to transparency, sponsorships to social good initiatives.
Sustainability has become a ‘small habit’; a convenient and unchanging ritual that confirms I’m doing my bit and excuses me from thinking about what all the bits add up to. Or worse, what they don’t add up to.
And that’ll be the death of us.
Over the past couple of months of ‘Lockdown’, we have participated in the global fight against what we have seen as humanity’s greatest ever common enemy. For the first time in history we have focused on one, shared mission with some wonderful rewards:
— We have experienced decreased concentrations of NO2 and PM 2.5 meaning much improved air quality for the 91% of the world’s population living in areas of poor air quality which accounts for 8% of the world’s deaths (Source: WHO).
— Our beaches are cleaner, their waters sparkling; this is vital for coastal communities and tourism (often part of the problem).
— Reductions of environmental noise levels from transport etc are, literally, and figurately a quieter upshot.
— As one, we have delighted in clear waters and skies; once-again visible mountains; fewer pollution related deaths; songbirds; people walking, cycling, running in our parks; garden centres; being closer to our planet.
— The UK has run for two months on coal-free energy; energy from gas is still an issue but this is fantastic news!
Clearly, we need more than ‘sustainability’.
Our planet needs even more of this mass, radical, uncompromising action from companies; brands; communities; governments. And from us.
We must make; buy; eat; move; sell; incentivise; punish; legislate; consume, sight-see with a Pro-Earth mindset.
This means transforming from a ‘Do No Harm’ approach to a ‘Fix the Planet’ imperative.
We must innovate with ‘Pro-Earth’ principles to the fore across every element of our lives. ‘Sustainability’ is not the bar.
Take for example gyms and banks.
Sustainability in gyms means being Carbon Neutral and have reduced towel washing.
Pro-Earth in gyms means pushing further like Terra Hale gym in London, the first human-powered gym, uses the energy produced by patrons to power its facilities in off-peak hours.
In banking, sustainability initiatives lead to Green Mortgages however Triodos Bank goes ‘Pro- Earth’ by only and exclusively financing sustainable enterprises.
This move takes brands from ‘invisible’ to ‘wow’.
The gains are great not just for the planet but for businesses helping create more magnetic and distinctive brands, two of the great goals of any innovation strategy.
(Image: Terra Hale)
To Win Tomorrow we must realise that our ‘greatest ever global enemy’ is the misguided yet convenient ‘small habit’ of ‘sustainability’.
To Win Tomorrow, we must make being aggressively Pro-Earth a ‘Big Habit’ for everyone, at every opportunity, in every role we play, across every walk of life.
Come talk to us about how to transform your organisation into a ‘Pro-Earth’ big habit hotbed of innovation and growth.