Learning from ethical sustainability leadership
For a few years now marketing has led the business narrative about sustainability. With the notable exception of Patagonia (and there may be others) the narrative has been disconnected from reality. To claim sustainability was easy since it was only loosely defined. Caring is not the same a doing. That is all changing as regulators, consumers and culture respond to the imperative of opportunity that is the sustainability age, or the sustainability economy depending how you see these things. To weave a web of marketing flimsy around sustainability is the poetic fiction of greenwashing. The winners in this competition to remake our world will be grounded in science fact.
As the sheer scale of the sustainability economy comes into focus we will see creative and entrepreneurial ingenuity applied in many many ways. The urgency in some minds is to stall and maybe reverse climate change or maybe to rebalance social inequity. But it is also a business urgency: to redo design, manufacturing, retail and most importantly the narrative of marketing to avoid being left behind in the competitive rush to the sustainability opportunity.
These are exciting times. The sustainability revolution is here and it promises to be a long boom of positive change. At the heart of the opportunity is ethical sustainability leadership, not the leadership that comes from marketing research that illuminates people’s hopes but from action, facts, science, technology, human ingenuity and innovation: the reality of the Sustainability Revolution is as powerful as the Industrial Revolution with even longer lasting consequences.