Archives for posts with tag: Sustainability

I often ask myself why sustainability has been framed within compliance – this don’t’ affect profits, increase competitive edge nor celebrate a distinct footprint.

The world is not perfect and neither is the way that companies address new opportunistic business by only getting on board with sustainability through compliance.

Sustainability is widely seen as the ‘new’ thing next to Lean, Glocalization and Retention. But it’s not – it’s so MUCH more than your usual buzzwords and kind of inevitable.

Nevertheless sustainability is anchored as sanctuary for dead fish already going down stream – not as the solution to gain new business or as profit generator in general. Why would companies otherwise categories sustainability as just a focus within compliance.

Sustainability needs to grow beyond compliance and in to highly creative development, like any profit center that wants to stay in business!

Think about how often upgrades to your computer are made available. How often new, faster and better systems are presented to us. If it isn’t Apple it’s Google or one of the other players, in or outside the Valley, which have seen ways to improve or revolutionize.

They are constantly developing – to win share of wallet the next 6-9 months. But what we have today will be made twice as fast in just 9-12 months.

The developers never stop exploring, and creativity blooms like never before – and today developers can be everybody from a 9-year old girl or boy with a great idea.

These developers are motivated by stock options, dollars and cents, market share and personal accomplishments that equal size of paycheck and attention. As many before them they sadly didn’t learn about creativeness. They themselves have to develop, secure and constantly improve on creative technical skills and are NOT motivated by taking part in sponsoring, in the world at large getting smarter!

They are always on the lookout for new inventions, and of cause have the budgets to do so, since the business’ know what would happen if they were to take out all efforts from innovation and development departments!

These business’ also recognize than “change is the only constant”, hence don’t applaud a common misunderstood say – “why change a winning formula”!

Whether they are seen as true future explorers I doubt, but I know that among our esteemed employees in sustainability, CSR and CSI we must find legitimate future explorers and innovators.

This is NOT the fact in 95% of all companies today! Here compliance rules only. They don’t invent and create as they do in Silicon Valley. Fact is that only few have the true skills to actually do so or claim the room to develop!

This is wrong! Because there is huge potential in turning sustainability into a reel profit center.

We should applaud these explorers, give them creative skills, room to operate and discover! Yet we merely laugh or get annoyed about the work they do – since they are NOT truly a part of the team, because they measure and regulate instead of developing. They are reactive instead of being proactive explorers and inventers like the ones in the Valley!

But sadly it seems like the older the ‘developers’ get the more restraint and non-creative they get, yet good employees since they were trained – or should I say restraint – to work within compliance!

And from this position they do only very little good!

We need to change this picture!

We need to start documenting that companies can profit hugely from sustainability and position themselves in a blue ocean zone.

Because then other companies will rise to the opportunity – since there have always been money in being between the first!

Just an example, I know about a company within work wear that went beyond compliance – they are today number one Internationally in the category!

I know that we kill peoples interest if we constantly and only talks about the devastation and how ugly our beloved planet is becoming – so please Al, stop talking about the problem and become part of the solution!

I learned from Anthony Giddens – a man of great expertise – that we should not wait for government or the international society at large!

So start to create before it’s too late – for your business!


I’m Brian Engblad

In my job as CEO and founder for a sustainable focused consultancy, I have the pleasure to visit summits like the one taking place in Copenhagen right now.

Through all I’ve already heard here, I feel a need to spread the message as wide as possible. The message is that too many people talk about the reactive CSR and the proactive Sustainability issues – but the majority are more than reluctant or at best fumbling, hence making unnecessary large investments with negative return on all parameters as result!

It is one very important thing – Sustainability!

We need change as fast as results – but foremost we need companies get it right the first time so we can change the negatives to positive vibes

We need environmental changes fast – we REALLY do! Getting these changes implemented and later to get actual results is one tuff assignment. It is my strong belief that we need good and well-documented stories. Stories about governments, companies and individuals producing massive and positive results (and with nice kickback as side effect moneywise)– not before can we start a broader acceptance and accelerate people’s movement towards a new future.

We need leaders, strong leaders – very strong leaders!

Demand is changing but too slow – so changes happen too slowly. And I honestly don’t know who should go first – the government – the companies or us consumers. Therefore we need leaders on all levels to secure focus and acceleration. Because it’s like everybody are expecting everybody else to go first. What a terrible situation to be in, especially since every day and every action counts!

We all have excuses, for not going first – and since we do too little or nothing – nothing happens, you would think! But there are stories – about early movers, about great and rewarding returns – all are about the very few individuals wanting to do better, about early movers in government and business’ hunting for better!

I learned today that we should not expect big changes from established markets since they are pretty comfortable as is – although they are trying they still are building from an old platform, and since that is burning, I have difficulty in understanding their path.

But ideas on new sustainable solutions coming from those that don’t have the means to buy the established solutions – these are the people, the real entrepreneurs of tomorrow, since they are not restrained by the past or by the solutions available right now.

I have seen stories and documentations today, about great revolutions coming from India within the electricity category, from people who don’t even themselves have electricity!

Nobody do anything, unless money is a positive kickback – and the most terrible thing that I have experienced today, is the fact that gradually the first moving passionist, starts giving up, thus good initiative is not appreciated in larger scale. Which is why I would argue that initiative easily would be invisible at best, if not all together forgotten – if we don’t take action in a broader sense!

Just take the hole in the ozone layer this is no longer a topic consequently not nearly top of mind! But have no fear, the ozon layer is actually closing! This is a fantastic reminder, showing us that we can do a difference hence create tremendous results.

Now we have to focus elsewhere – stop coursing unnecessary sustainable harm

What to do?

Start by scoring your self, your friends and your company – discuss the score and figure out easy wins. Asked questions – buy and support sustainable focused companies and their well thought product – by the way, there are a lot more of these products on the shelf that you think.

Follow this blog – Help me help others in creating a better change for sustainability and for all of us in the future!


For nogle år siden, læste jeg et indlæg af een af den store nordiske erhvervsøkonomer, professor T. Paulsson Frenckner fra Handelshögskolan i Stockholm – det var dateret i første halvdel af 70’erne. Han skrev: ”Det var aldrig meningen med den nordiske erhvervsøkonomi, at det eneste mål skulle være gevinstmaksimering, og at den eneste bundlinie skulle være det økonomiske regnskab. Men sådan er det blevet”.
Vi er opdraget til at tage hatten af, når nogen siger regnskab og bundlinie. For vi tror, at vi så har med skinbarlige sandheder at gøre. Det har vi ikke. Hvornår mon vi lærer, at alle regnskaber og bundlinier er menneskeskabte, og at selv en økonomisk bundlinie er skrøbelig? ”Stol ikke på en statistik, du ikke selv har været med til at forvanske”, sagde en kendt statistiker engang. Man kan sige det samme om regnskaber.
Vi skal acceptere, at der er flere formål og flere bundlinier. I privatlivet arbejder alle mennesker med mange mål og bundlinier. Jeg vil ikke bortforklare, at økonomi er en indiskutabel og bindende forudsætning. Der er ingen kære mor, hvis pengekassen er tom. En virksomhed kan ikke overleve, hvis den ikke tjener penge. Men den kan heller ikke overleve, hvis den har en dårlig ledelse og en dårlig medarbejderstab. Hvis der ikke er tillid fra medarbejdere, kunder, omgivelser m.m. til virksomheden, kan ingen virksomhed overleve.
Tillid, tillid og atter tillid. Tillid er langt vigtigere for en langsigtet god økonomi, end kortsigtede gode økonomiske resultater.
Det økonomiske regnskab var i mange år enerådende, fordi vi troede, at økonomi var både mål og middel.
Vi troede, at en god økonomi var det endegyldige mål, og vi troede, at en god økonomi var vejen til fortsat god økonomi. Det billede ændrer sig, men det går langsomt, bl.a. fordi vi lever i en benhård økonomisk verden. Økonomi er verdens mest dominerende logik – og den omstændighed er i virkeligheden ved at splitte verden ad. Tænk på, hvordan verden og mennesker lider under, at vi agerer så kortsigtet økonomisk, som vi gør. Økonomi vil altid være en grunddisciplin i en verden, hvor der er knaphed på en række goder.
Men det er ingen naturlov, at dette skal føre til en kortsigtet og ofte ødelæggende økonomisk optimering i virksomheder og i stater.
Vi har vænnet os til den retorik og mystik, der er omkring regnskabet. Nu skal vi videreudvikle de ledelsesinstrumenter, der skal stå til virksomhedsledelsens disposition. Igennem forskning på læreanstalterne og udviklingsarbejde i virksomhederne har vi f.eks. fået en tredobbelt bundlinie som en mulighed, nemlig en social, en miljø- og en økonomisk bundlinie, men andre bundlinier trænger sig på, og vi vil se udvikling på disse områder.
Det går langsomt, fordi vi er forbeholdne og bange. Vejen ud af den industrielle epoke, hvor vi tænkte udelukkende i fysisk produktion, og ind i vidensamfundet med en helt anden logik og retorik er præget af stor usikkerhed. Det tager tid, inden vi vænner os til disse ændringer, men det er ændringer, der vil få radikal betydning for al regnskabstænkning.
Den økonomiske bundlinie er først og fremmest udtryk for en kortsigtet forretningsorienteret tænkning.
Men rigtig forretningstænkning er meget mere. Forretningstænkning drejer sig om forretningsmæssig succes på længere sigt. Drejer sig om virksomhedens værdi på længere sigt og dermed om overlevelse på længere sigt. Men allerede dette har det økonomiske regnskab svært ved at indeholde og præcisere.
Den kortsigtede økonomiske bundlinie kan kun i begrænset omfang hjælpe os med den nødvendige langsigtede forretningstænkning og være vejledende her. Det økonomiske regnskab peger nu engang bagud.
Det kortsigtede økonomiske resultat er udtryk for, at vi forretningsmæssigt klarer os på nutidens præmisser og regler, bakket op af fortidens investeringer – bl.a. i teknologi og kompetenceudvikling.
Men det kortsigtede økonomiske resultat siger ikke noget afgørende om virksomhedens langsigtede muligheder for at overleve – heller ikke i snæver økonomisk forstand.
Det er forunderligt, at vi har bragt os selv i denne situation, hvor vi ikke måler på det, der virkelig betyder noget for virksomhedens muligheder for at skabe økonomisk fremgang og for at forfølge de øvrige mål, der er med virksomhedens aktivitet og eksistens, men kun på en enkelt af resultatdimensionerne.
Det er besynderligt, at den retorik og logik har vundet indpas, at vi skelner mellem de såkaldt hårde økonomiske resultater og de såkaldt bløde værdier. Vi afviser bløde værdier og størrelser med henvisning til et krav om den form for objektivitet, som vi finder i det økonomiske regnskab. Men regnskabet og tallene er ikke mere hårde, end værdierne. Værdierne kan vi blot ikke måle på den måde, hvorpå vi måler den fysiske aktivitet og de økonomiske dispositioner, der ligger til grund for det økonomiske regnskab.
Det siges ofte, at man får det, man måler! Vi bør blive klogere og begynde i langt højere grad at interessere os for at måle det, der virkelig betyder noget for virksomhedens forretningsmuligheder, nemlig f.eks. virksomhedens menneskelige kompetencer, kultur og værdier. Og blive så kloge, at vi til at begynde med måler på måder og med redskaber, der er naturlige for netop det, vi vil måle.
Alt dette er ledelses- og topledelsesanliggender. Og principielt og overordnet set også bestyrelsesanliggender. Det er et anliggende for bestyrelsen, hvilket tankesæt, der skal være det dominerende i virksomhedens direktion og øverste ledelse. Det er her, alt dette begynder. En direktion repræsenterer og er ansat af bestyrelsen. Bestyrelsen er den øverste ledelse, og de værdier og kriterier, der lever her, vil og skal forplante sig ud i den øvrige organisation.
For Brainstorm Roommates
Brian Engblad