Future business success depends on taking personal responsibility for sustainability, argues Mark Coleman in his new book, The Sustainability Generation: The Politics of Change and Why Personal Accountability is Essential NOW!
“You will be in a world where natural resources are constrained and recruitment and retention are difficult,” Coleman warned in an interview. What’s required, then, are businesses and products built around engaged employees and social responsibility.
Coleman points to Green Mountain Coffee Roasters as an example. The company invests in the communities that grow its beans, he observed, not out of some abstract sense of obligation or philanthropy, but because keeping that environment healthy is a basic requirement for getting high-quality, low-cost beans. Sustainability is core to the business strategy.
Another example: Tom’s of Maine. The purveyor of organic, sustainably created self-care products explicitly builds its marketing and product niche around social responsibility. “It’s social value as a business,” Coleman explains.
Such efforts go way beyond corporate-sponsored fun runs or giving campaigns, he points out. “Socially responsible strategy has to be an anchor in…where the business is going in the marketplace.”
The individuals in a business – it’s CEOs and ground-level employees – all should “take ownership…for what a sustainable generation should be,” says Coleman. While many turn to government or technology to solve environmental and social concerns, what’s “pragmatically missing is the people factor.” Individuals make the difference, he stresses.
The new generation of employees wants work that allows them to be that difference.
Explore how a sustainable-focused business can make a difference for your employees and business strategy at Business4Better.