Why does this all matter? It’s a question that rattles around in the back of my mind a lot.
I am convinced by the urgency of doing something positive, and I can see that there is a huge opportunity waiting. But I really like the “why?” question. Was it Ricardo Semler – of Seven Day Weekend fame – who said his company’s strategy is to ask the question “Why?” repeatedly when faced by any new initiative or problem? I think he said it helps them prioritise, and ensure they only spend time on the things that give the most real benefits. That’s something I guess we would all aspire to.
And it’s such a simple technique.
So “why” do something about climate change? Why do something about poverty? Why try to seize the sustainability opportunity, when there are probably plenty of easier ways to make a living, and probably easier ways to make money, if that is your goal too.
I read a little piece by Rosie Boycott the other day in a very good book called “Do good lives have to cost the earth” by Andrew Simms and Joe Smith. I wouldn’t normally have much time for something written by a former editor of the Express newspaper. I can’t be bothered with newspapers at the best of times, let alone the Express. But she reminded me that the reason we need to do something in the UK about climate change is partly to show our leadership to the rest of the world. This in turn reminded me that we need to do the same about sustainability in general, even though the UK is a small country with relatively little impact on these global matters.
So one answer to the question “why?” is that we should do it because we can – we have the wealth and security. And we also should do it because we have a responsibillty and an opportunity to show leadership to business people all over the world.
If we in the developed world can’t make good sense and good lives out of the opportunities arising from sustainability, how can we expect others to do the same? And, with the size of the opportunities and the size of the problems, we really need these others to be part of the solution too.