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: