Category Archives: Sustainability

Living my Sustainability Values

It’s time for another house move and as I sort through 10 years of belongings, I realise that I’ve kept a lot of stuff that I don’t want, purely because I couldn’t find somewhere or someone to pass it on to and I cannot bear to put it into landfill.
I’ve had little success with the usual channels – St Vinnies etc. Even the Buy, Sell, Swap sites aren’t getting any success.
I can either give up, or I can put more effort in, to find sites or groups who do want the things that I think still have some value.
What sites and groups have you found useful?

The Four Day Work Week – is it time?

I’ve been re-thinking the possibilities of a four day work week – the benefits being less stress, less time in peak hour traffic, more time with friends and family and more time for personal creative projects.  All it takes is learning to live on 80% of our current earnings. So, as a starting gesture I’m taking a month off purchasing any new stuff (food excluded) in November to see how hard it is.

Then it will be Christmas.  My new favourite Christmas gift is loans to on behalf of family and friends, so I won’t have to buy any new stuff for gifts.  And I can attend the North Sydney Womens Clothes and Accessories Swap so I don’t have to purchase any new clothes for Christmas parties!

Today an email popped into my inbox from Co-Exist with the heading “The 30 Hour Workweek is here (if you want it)!  Hooray, someone else is thinking the same and done some heavy duty thinking.  I can’t wait to read the new book Time on our Side from the New Economic Forum (so I will make one exception to my no new stuff – although because it is an e-book I could sneakily argue it isn’t “stuff” – it’s food for my brain and my imagination.

5 things to increase well-being that don’t cost the earth!

Thanks to Rob Deitz and Dan O’Neill’s book Enough is Enough for alerting me to the research from The New Economics Foundation.  They’ve summarized the evidence and described five proven ways to increase well-being:
1. Connect – maintain close relationships with family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues.
2. Be active – take part in enjoyable physical activities.
3. Take notice – be curious, savor the moment, and be aware of what’s happening in the world.
4. Keep learning – try new things and set challenges that would be enjoyable to achieve.
5. Give – express gratitude and do helpful things for others.

My experience has been that they are all true … and the great thing is they can all be done for free.

Sharing Sydney – join the move to collaborative consumption


Good to see the City of Sydney council is supporting the collaborative consumption movement – which is all about sharing stuff instead of owing or hoarding it.

Having the council involved addresses two of the barriers to collaborative consumption programs.  One barrier is  – trust – can I trust that others won’t damage or steal my stuff; and critical mass – are there enough people near me who want to share with me to make it worth my while participating.

The City of Sydney activities and events are open to all residents and workers, so come along to an event soon, make connections and improve your work and life.

Sustainability – when less is sufficient

Three years on from first being introduced to Gayle Avery and her work on sustainable leadership and I still cannot easily explain what I mean by the word sustainability.  Now my colleagues at the Linked In Group are asking whether we need to move beyond sustainability because to some, sustainability implies sustaining ‘what is’ i.e. the status quo.

This implies that ‘what is’ is not enough and that more is better and this common business view continues to trouble me.  For me sustainability is closer to sufficiency but I don’t quite know how to apply this to examples such as health, love etc. because more more health or love does sound better than sufficient health or love, except to the extent that I don’t need to strive so hard with the former.

The meaning I prefer is adaptiveness – where sustainability means our leadership, organisational and national capacity to adapt to changing environments.  And in some environmental contexts more is better, whilst in others less is sufficient.

Giving Voice to Values in paperback

Good to hear that one of my favourite books – Giving Voice to Values, by Mary Gentile –  is coming out in paperback.  Next month’s task is to get the Australian Institute of Management bookshop to stock it.   They will be great to use as reference sources in programs.

Towards the end of the year I will be starting a series of case studies around common Australian business ethical dilemmas – with a sustainability theme.  Watch out for new workshops in the new year.

Time for a bit of courage and commitment

It was very timely to receive and read Joy Cushman’s blog tonight.  Speaking of activism, she tells us that the campaign plan is the engine but without the fuel of courage and commitment we don’t get any forward momentum.

It’s appropriate as I consider a morning at home on Saturday or a quick trip to support the Get Up Climate Change rally at Belmore Park.  Time to show my commitment to sustainability.

If we believe it we can achieve it

Now here’s a headline I like to see: “100% Renewable Energy is not limited to our Wildest Dreams” .  According to the researchers, it is possible in 20-40 years at no extra cost.  Read the Fast Company article here (you need to sign up for a login).

The “only” barriers are social, business and political inertia – a snap for 1 million women to shift.  Let’s get moving girls (and guys).

Books that make the Business Case for Sustainability

Happy New Year.

Over Christmas I read up on a number of books explaining the Business Case for Sustainability including:

The Sustainability Advantage, by Bob Willard

Sustainable Leadership: Honeybee & Locust Approaches, by Gayle Avery and Harald Bergsteiner

Making Sustainability Work, by Marc Epstein

I enjoyed all three books – Avery & Bergsteiner’s had many interesting research links and corporate examples, as did Epstein’s – but I particularly liked Bob Willard’s book, which outlines a number of the “yes, buts” and importantly, provides responses to a number of them.  The key, he says, is to reinforce the “both and” – acknowledging that managers can have both profits and sustainability, can be both hard nosed business people and socially, environmentally aware.

Next month, I will be adapting Willard’s Sustainability Business Case spreadsheet to provide local examples.  In the meantime, the DECCW site has a number of case studies of sustainability in NSW, as do most of the other State Government sites.