I recently attended a client’s vendor of the year ceremonies, during which I had the opportunity to participate in a meeting regarding sustainability. The client’s vice president of sales for the Wal-Mart account and the firm’s director of sourcing facilitated the meeting. The attendees were primarily from the packaging community.
A colleague who attended the vendor presentation with me exclaimed, “This is brilliant!” The presenters effectively tied sustainability to the economic benefit of the program. Wal-Mart is touting annual estimated savings in the billions—yes, billions. But success is not going to be driven by corporations. God’s working capital, if you will, is the Earth’s resources, which are finite in their abundance. If this initiative is destined to succeed it will be due to the consumer, not the corporations, which, it may go without saying, are motivated by profit. Sustainability efforts are destined to succeed due to the moral obligation that we all have to this planet, not the economic implications.
The Toflers’ summary of organizational velocity is a classic rationale as to why sustainability will be embraced, adopted and supported with consumer dollars. It’s because businesses and consumers, individually and in groups, are ahead of the institutions on the change curve.
As a savvy negotiator might suggest, the best business deals are generally consummated with a win-win mindset. The sustainability initiative can be described as the ultimate win-win initiative. As human beings, we all share one thing in common, regardless of our education, background or nationality—we all share just one Earth. While I am not about to begin a tirade on global warming or its political ramifications, I do wish to point out that each and every person who shares this earth potentially contributes to or detracts from our world’s future. Looking to find common denominators, we can easily relate to the human characteristics of mind, body and spirit, attributes targeted by the beauty industry each and every day. We can embrace those shared characteristics to achieve a win-win scenario for the planet.
Sustainability is here to stay, and we, as an industry, must look to contribute in such a way as to make a positive environmental impact while still addressing the needs of consumers worldwide. Let’s start today and make a change. God’s currency is running close to bankruptcy.
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