First what do we call the collective systems that all these folks and all their organizations are helping to create? I'm going to suggest we call them the "ecosystem creating the future of strongly sustainable business". Perhaps this is an example of a value-constellation? (Thanks to Peter Jones for this idea).
Second. This got me thinking about ways to explain and describe all this work...and perhaps this might help all these folks and their organizations collaborate with each other towards what I think they would all see as a common ideal goal.
One Ideal GoalThere is a growing consensus that we need to act quickly and at scale to help business move to adopt strongly sustainable business models, i.e an ideal goal of:
All business proactively enabling strongly sustainable outcomesTo, as John Ehrenfeld puts it:
Create possibility that humans and other life will flourish on Earth forever(You can read more about this in my post Strongly Sustainable Business Models - Defining the Field)
One ApproachActing on Einstein's observation that you don't solve problems using the approaches that created them: there also seems to be a growing consensus that we need to move forward by using what we know works, but at the same time approaches we didn't use to create the current "mess". In practice this would appear to mean:
Collaborative Design + Systems ThinkingTogether perhaps the ideal goal and the approach could be illustrated as follows:
Six FociMany people and organizations are working towards this ideal goal using this approach: but each has a number of foci - depending on their skills, knowledge and where they believe they can best contribute.
I'm suggesting it might be helpful to think about these foci in the following six groups (if you have suggestions for more or different please respond in the comments)
- “Gold Standard”
- What is organizational strong sustainability and how is it measured? (Based on the science of strong sustainability)
- What do people need to know to be effective at creating and improving strongly sustainable organizations (and a certification to demonstrate competence)?
- How to ensure people know what they need to know (facts and methods)?
- How do you efficiently design and implement businesses with high probability’s of achieving the “gold-standard” What tools can help? (Strongly Sustainable Business Model Canvas)
- How can businesses making the journey to strong sustainability work together and support each other?
- Provide services to businesses to accelerate the journey to strong sustainability
Toronto Centric ExampleSo what does this look like in and around Toronto and the people I work with... rather an alphabet soup... but see the list below for the acronyms* ...
Is this perspective helpful? Confusing? What's missing?
Leave me a comment and let me know.
* Kudos and credit for the inspiration and ideas in this post to folks I spoke to over the past week (listed in the order we spoke!) All the mistakes, errors and omissions however are mine.
- Kathryn Cooper (Founder and CEO Sustainability Learning Centre - SLC),
- Shirley Segev (CEO ISO14000 consultancy GreenMark and Chair of the recently relaunched Green Enterprise Toronto - GET)
- Chad Park (Executive Director The Natural Step Canada - TNS),
- Bob Willard (Sustainability Advantage) + leadership / involvement in practically all of the others listed
- Joyce Sou (MaRS Discovery District, Manager, Certified B Corporation Hub)
- Barry Martin (CEO of Founding Canadian B-Corp Hypenotic)
- Peter Jones (OCADU MDes SFI Faculty, Design with Dialogue - DwD Convener, CEO Redesign Research and member of the Strongly Sustainable Business Model Group- SSBMG)
- Neil Fairhead (Chair CMC-Canada Energy & Climate Change Special Interest Group Task Team on Knowledge, Skills and Competencies)
- Alliance for Strategic Sustainable Development (A-SSD)
- B Lab the non-profit powering the Benefit Corporation movement.
- Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE)
- Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR)
- UK Chartered Quality Institute Model of Sustainable OrganizationWorking Group (CQI/MoSO)
- Centre for Social Innovation (CSI)
- Ryerson University Chang School Graduate Certificate in Sustainability Management (CSM)
- Edward James Consulting Ltd. (EJC)
- Forum for the Future (FftF)
- Global Organizational Learning and Development Network (GOLDEN)
- Global Initiative for Sustainabilty Ratings (GISR)
- International Society for Sustainability Professionals (ISSP)
- Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) Partners in Project Green (PPG)
- Sustainability Business Strategy and Architecture Consulting (SBSA)
- Shift Alliance
- The School for Social Entrepreneurs – Ontario (SSE-O)
- Transition Towns
- Toronto Sustainability Speaker Series (TSSS)
- York University Facility of Environmental Studies Business + Environmental Diploma (York-FES)