Submitted by: Patricia Calkins, vice president, environment health and safety
A couple of weeks ago I attended a forum convened around the topic of sustainability. While there is no shortage of sustainability forums these days, I do find it valuable to carve time out to get to a few. The forum was attended by about 200 folks representing 75 companies and various roles within those companies. In fact it was great catching up with some of you there!
There was lots of discussion about how we can continue to advance the sustainability dialogue when back in busy work environments. This inspired me to get feedback on a few observations from that forum:
- There is a broad range of organizational maturity on sustainability. While we are all on this journey together, for a variety of reasons, some have been on the journey longer. Wouldn’t it be great if we could harness the experience of those who have been on the journey longer to accelerate the path for those newer to the journey? — I would like to mention that Xerox is joining the Sustainability Innovation Forum, a group of companies coming together to create a best practices approach to sustainability—tools, tips and strategies to help those further down the learning curve to integrate sustainability into their business. Read more about the Sustainability Innovators Working Group.
- More roles within businesses are becoming involved in sustainability. This is very encouraging because getting where we need to go will require everyone to contribute. So how do we most effectively harness the power of the people in our organizations to contribute in a meaningful, effective and active way?
- Regardless of where we find ourselves on the experience maturity curve, we still have daunting challenges. Many of these challenges are industry, business and firm agnostic (#2 above is an example). We are each wrestling with some of the same challenges, each expending intellectual, human and monetary resources toward finding effective solutions. How can we effectively pool our collective resources to solve problems common to many of us?
As you may have concluded by now, inefficiency drives me crazy… whether environmental or organizational… and perhaps is why I am in this profession.
Actually if you really think about it, the low hanging fruit in the environmental sustainability arena is reducing waste/inefficiency. Eliminating the “collective” cross company inefficiency could perhaps significantly accelerate our journey.
I look forward to your thoughts about my observations as I continue to travel along Xerox’s sustainability journey.