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10 Comments

  1. 1

    Philip Dukas

    Thanks for the good article. I have experienced a similar situation with organizations here in South Africa. I combine the Balanced Scorecard with the Five Capitals Model, replacing the lag perspective of finance with the five capitals so that an organisation can build their strategy from the ground up, starting with sustainability measurable (kpi’s) before working on customers, perspectives and learning and growth. Thought you might find this useful. Regards Philip

    Reply
    1. 1.1

      Anthony Gilbreath

      Philip: Thank you! This is exactly the type of approach I think is needed. I will take a closer look at both of those. I’d like to integrate the best parts into our tool if it makes sense. Tony

      Reply
  2. 2

    Garry Bowen

    Mr. Galbreath:

    Your ‘trademarked’ Sustainability Management Framework, & it’s “conclusion”, (that) ‘sustainability is lacking a strong framework that defines it’ – will be insufficient, as those three do not have enough of a scientific grounding to “get to the bottom of” the knowledge necessary to effectuate a true enough level of change. . .this may lead to many unintended consequences that may even render the KPI (key performance indicators) idea of Mr. Dukas’ irrelevant in the face of needing optimum performance “from now on”. . .

    In search of a unified front, I suggest reading my ‘post’ on your LinkedIn article that may clarify the need for us all to be on the ‘same page’, opinions notwithstanding. . .

    Reply
    1. 2.1

      Anonymous

      Thank you Gerry! I reviewed your comments and left you a reply on the thread in LinkedIn.

      Reply
  3. 3

    Anonymous

    Dear Anthony
    Thumbs up for your attempt to solve a fundamental problem.
    A few thoughts from a helicopter perspective:

    It is a matter of priority.

    Profits, people and planet – this is most likely to be the priority

    On an international level planetary issues will only be addressed when there is a burning platform i.e. Climate and biodiversity where politicians struggle to agree upon commitments.

    The same goes for human rights. Strong leaders in many countries prioritize their own wealth and power – democracy is needed.

    On the national level in democracies left and right winged do not agree upon how to manage profits, people and planet the best way – and in different countries – the most urgent challenges differ.

    In Denmark only one political party – the new Alternativet – is operating with the 3-double bottom line. But I still believe that it is important to se healthy economy, healthy people and healthy planet as goals for the steering. From there the political debate on what this means and how we best achieve the goals can take place…

    An interesting observation is that left and right – in our mature democracy – is comming closer and that Alternativet claims not to have a ideological base as either left or right…

    A last thought. As a communicator I would love if we at least could agree on using the same colors for indicators on profits, people and planet. I suggest the intuitive blue for profit, red for people and green for planet…

    Reply
  4. 4

    Paula Peña Amaya

    Business sustainability is an ongoing debate where consensus needs to be reached regarding its focus and monitoring indicators. Furthermore, it needs to include tools that guide the process for companies operating in developing countries to help them build and shift towards a sustainable business model. Definitions and frameworks often are dominated by developed countries experience and points of view leaving out the challenges in developing countries. We need to be sensitive about this to make business sustainability inclusive across the globe.

    Reply
  5. 5

    Anonymous

    I can agree with some of what has been written in Anthony’s original piece and many of the commenters. However, I believe there are a few overarching items that are overlooked and play critically important roles in why the uptake is not nearly as robust, deep or fast enough to deal with the great challenges and opportunities facing us. I do not believe it’s really about framing, and standards – though both would be helpful. I believe it’s our mindset of denial, old economic and business thinking, extreme short-sightedness and extreme individualism to name a few. The issue of sustainability / flourishing is overarching, complex, ambiguous, and uncertain, and that is uncomfortable for all of us.
    1. Perhaps first gaining general agreement that we are operating our businesses, institutions, economies and communities in ways that most now recognize as “unsustainable” – meaning it will not and cannot continue as is – business as usual is at an end. Think of “sustainability” as the opposite of “unsustainable”.
    2. It’s “the system” – the ways that we even account for all we do – the “externalities”, externalized costs – that most on this thread know full well – creates incentives that are upside down and are destroying life. One can easily say that our current incentives and motivations are insane in today’s unsustainable and climate / carbon constrained world. When those in the C-Suites of our major corporations and our Congressional policymakers remain focused on satisfying the short-term “need” for exponential growth of revenue and profits in a finite world driven by greed and fear, this blinds them to the true issues of our time – they are operating with an old mindset and framework from the mid – 20th century which is completely out of touch and context with the 2nd decade of the 21st century. As my children would ask – “what are they thinking”.

    Human beings, communities, organizations and nations are supposed evolve, grow and change. So is our thinking – perhaps we are heading in reverse (see “Trump is nominee for POTUS”)

    Old thinking, old mindsets, denial of an old and badly broken system that is in dire need of leadership and deep change, especially by American business leaders (sorry – we are still the only nation with the heft, innovation, and standing in the world that can lead what must be a global sustainability / flourishing effort.). It’s much more than new standards or frameworks. Let’s not give excuses to those who don’t want to understand the nature of our times, who chose not to pay attention (as long as they get their payday before it hits the fan).

    Reply
  6. 6

    Elliot Hoffman

    July 10, 2016 at 4:21 pm
    I can agree with some of what has been written in Anthony’s original piece and many of the commenters. However, I believe there are a few overarching items that are overlooked and play critically important roles in why the uptake is not nearly as robust, deep or fast enough to deal with the great challenges and opportunities facing us. I do not believe it’s really about framing, and standards – though both would be helpful. I believe it’s our mindset of denial, old economic and business thinking, extreme short-sightedness and extreme individualism to name a few. The issue of sustainability / flourishing is overarching, complex, ambiguous, and uncertain, and that is uncomfortable for all of us.
    1. Perhaps first gaining general agreement that we are operating our businesses, institutions, economies and communities in ways that most now recognize as “unsustainable” – meaning it will not and cannot continue as is – business as usual is at an end. Think of “sustainability” as the opposite of “unsustainable”.
    2. It’s “the system” – the ways that we even account for all we do – the “externalities”, externalized costs – that most on this thread know full well – creates incentives that are upside down and are destroying life. One can easily say that our current incentives and motivations are insane in today’s unsustainable and climate / carbon constrained world. When those in the C-Suites of our major corporations and our Congressional policymakers remain focused on satisfying the short-term “need” for exponential growth of revenue and profits in a finite world driven by greed and fear, this blinds them to the true issues of our time – they are operating with an old mindset and framework from the mid – 20th century which is completely out of touch and context with the 2nd decade of the 21st century. As my children would ask – “what are they thinking”.

    Human beings, communities, organizations and nations are supposed evolve, grow and change. So is our thinking – perhaps we are heading in reverse (see “Trump is nominee for POTUS”)

    Old thinking, old mindsets, denial of an old and badly broken system that is in dire need of leadership and deep change, especially by American business leaders (sorry – we are still the only nation with the heft, innovation, and standing in the world that can lead what must be a global sustainability / flourishing effort.). It’s much more than new standards or frameworks. Let’s not give excuses to those who don’t want to understand the nature of our times, who chose not to pay attention (as long as they get their payday before it hits the fan).

    Reply
    1. 6.1

      Anthony Gilbreath

      Awesome comment, thank you

      Reply
  7. 7

    Steve

    Wonder if you’ve worked with the Natural Step framework? It is a systems approach grounded in science and has been used by companies and communities all over the world. It was brought to the States by Paul Hawken and Peter Senge. It uses four ‘system conditions’ which all must be met and which anyone can use to see if something is sustainable, and to be a guide for future actions. The biggest challenge in implementing this framework may very well be a lack of motivation and will.

    Reply

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