The Foundations of Sustainability

A few weeks ago I participated as a panel member in the Arabian World Construction Summit in Dubai.  The focus of the panel was around the issues of leveraging global organizational talent in the region to support sustainability. 

One of the participants pointed out the fact that as the topic of sustainability evolves, there has been a convergence between environmentally friendly action, corporate social responsibility, and economic/business model sustainability.  He refered to these three elements as a three legged stool.  I remember that it made a lot of sense to participants as organizations have to have a plan that takes into account all three to ensure that there is a return on investment associated with sustainability actions, regardless of whether this return is monetary or otherwise.

As I reflect further on this, I have to state that I believe that sustainability starts with individual leadership.  Having leaders within the organization who have a strong sense of civic responsibility, personal accountability, and ethical comittment, is imperative to build a foundation for sustainability within the organization.

Leaders who are not able to be good stewards of the environment, marketplace, and society that they live within are actually not likely to be good stewards of shareholders’ money.

Who knew, sustainability starts at home!