#OptOutside – linking business and the environment. It just makes sense!

Over the course of this year I have attended and participated in various sustainability forums – on finance and green bonds, on the role of the private sector, on the relationships with NGOs and on the need for a shared vision for sustainable agriculture.  At each and every event, the call for businesses to step up to sustainable development was loud and clear. A common theme has been that businesses can do more to partner across industries, join hands with NGOs and work with the public sector. The overriding message is that it is not just the responsibility of governments because businesses must also do their part – individuals in businesses have the economic, social and environmental obligation to ensure our society and the global economy continues to grow in a responsible way.

What is perhaps more energizing is the fact that sustainability and profitability can and should, go hand-in-hand. There are opportunities and business advantages for the private sector to do well by doing right and create “shared value” with the community.

A clear standout for me has been the powerful message delivered by the CEO of Recreation Equipment Incorporated, a US based outdoors cooperative. REI’s CEO Jerry Stritzke is advocate in chief to support REI’s 17 million members to #OptOutside, for their belief that a life lived outdoors is better for everyone and better for the environment.  In REI’s most recent report to members, Stritzke says:

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If Springsteen were a farmer

 

Bruce Springsteen’s song catalogue, which numbers in the hundreds, chart’s the life of the ordinary man – ‘This Hard Land’, ‘Thunder Road, ‘Badlands’, ‘My Hometown’, ‘Waitin’ on a Sunny Day’, ‘Tougher than the rest’, ‘Walk like a man’, ‘The River’, ‘Better Days’, ‘Land of Hope and Dreams’ … the list goes on. Springsteen tells stories of ordinary people and it is to this that we connect. And through connection, he can often deliver a powerful message.

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Sustainability is not a zero sum game

Sustainability is not a zero sum game

I get really hung up on the word sustainable.  It’s like George Bernard Shaw’s description of the U.S. and Britain as “two countries divided by a common language.”

There’s no disagreement about goals… the SDG’s lay them out nicely: zero hunger, reduced inequality, rising living standards … nothing to argue about there.

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Our Finest Hour? Agriculture and Leadership

My 11 year old son Gus is fascinated with the Second World War and so was thrilled recently when his Mum took him to London where he visited the Churchill Museum. I too was thrilled because he brought me back a book of Churchill quotes, which has made for fascinating reading over the last week or so. It really got me thinking about leadership at a time when the global agriculture industry is going through so much change, because the success or otherwise of how we fare as an industry will come down to leadership: plain and simple.

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