The five key actions of
the sustainability-promoting firm
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Philip Sutton
Director, Policy and Strategy
Green Innovations Inc.
Tel & fax: +61 3 9486 4799      

                                                                                                      Paper marked up in HTML format
by Philip Sutton.

If society is to achieve sustainability (ecological, social and economic) then there will need to be a proliferation of sustainability-promoting firms. To date, most firms, when they become active on the environment, aim to reduce their own negative impacts. But even if every firm adopted this approach, society would not be able to achieve sustainability - because the firms' actions would be focused solely on existing production processes and existing products thereby locking in an inadequate (even though improved) status quo.

Sustainability-promoting firms, on the other hand, aim to help society to become sustainable. This change of focus moves sustainability-promoting firms into a new management paradigm.

At a minimum, sustainability-promoting firms will need to take the following five key actions. They will need to:

The 5 key actions

1. Be committed to the goal of effectively helping society to be sustainable
2. Use their full product range as a major driver of society's move to sustainability [info]
3. Take action to help society (locally and globally) to reach a condition of 'sustainability take-off'
4. Urge governments to be proactive in shaping the economy to promote the achievement of sustainability
5. Make sure their actions match the scale and pace of change needed if society is to achieve sustainability (ie. promote large scale, urgent action)

There are six additional actions that sustainability-promoting firms should take if they want to magnify their effectiveness. The firms should:

If sustainability-promoting firms proliferate, then the chance of achieving sustainability will switch from "vanishingly small" to "virtually certain".

Author:  Philip Sutton
First posted:  August 1998
Content updated:  12 December 1999
Format updated:  26 August 1999
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