#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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Let’s celebrate the ordinary people of agriculture

I was led to this thought after reading a neat little blog the other day by Craig Winneker, Director of Communications for the European Renewable Ethanol Association (@CraigWinneker). In his blog Effective Messaging for Associations, Winneker notes “If you don’t have something to say, it doesn’t matter where you try to say it…” He goes on to say that you must “Speak for something”.

We as an agricultural industry have been poor at in trying to address the inevitable questions that arise around how our food is produced because too often we don’t tell our story well enough.  And our story is about people.

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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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