Image Source: Gutenberg.org
In the story “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, almost everyone is willing to go along with the emperor’s delusion. Only a child is willing to say the emperor is walking around naked. “Out of the mouths of babes…”
There are a growing number of intelligent adults who have concluded that (corporate) sustainability is either dead, walking around naked, or simply not up to the task. I am seeing, perhaps because I am looking for, more and more critiques and alternatives to “conventional” approaches to (corporate) sustainability. Below are a few of the recent ones that stand out for me. Some common themes include:
- Our current approach to sustainability will not get us to where we want, and need, to go
- “Sustainability” has been appropriated by the dominant culture to align with non-sustainable goals
- We need to rethink our overall goals and strategies
Paul Gilding, The Great Disruption
Patagonia’s founder and CEO, Yvon Chouinard, talks with Joel Makower at the 2013 GreenBiz Forum on authenticity, responsibility and sustainability (video)
Book: The Zeronauts – Breaking though the sustainability barrier.
Breakthrough Capitalism – a program for people to engage with the idea of businesses creating system-level change
John Ehrenfeld and Andrew Hoffman
The wrong-headed solutions of corporate sustainability
As Dana Meadows so eloquently pointed out many years ago (“Places to Intervene in a System“), changing the goals of a system is one of the most powerful ways of intervening in that system to change outcomes. It’s clear that sustainability has NOT changed the goals of our global economic system. Until that happens, can we really expect to see meaningful change?