The sustainability movement is not a complete failure, but there is a struggle to shift from the safety net of the current paradigm, which is bringing the world down, to a brighter new future that is both sustainable and prosperous. Business leaders worldwide are faced with insurmountable challenges when it comes to bringing sustainability to the core of their business models.
Many leaders are at a loss as to how to achieve their intended projected growth by 2020, while also reducing harmful emissions and other sustainability issues. When a challenge is as vast as sustainability, it’s understandable to see how easy it is to “disconnect” from the environmental issues at hand.
It’s sort of like, out of sight, out of mind. But that attitude needs to change. And the only thing that will bring the change is a clearer vision for the future of sustainability with attainable and manageable sustainability goals.
The future looks bright for the ozone layer as it has begun to recover thanks to international efforts to completely eliminate chemicals which were depleting the ozone layer. And you know the old saying, “less is more.” Well, it seems that small local sustainability initiatives around the world are making a difference.
According to a study conducted by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, or ICLEI, there have been over 6,000 sustainability initiatives made world-wide in over 100 countries to make a difference in the world by attempting to make the world a “greener” place.
And according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development, or iisd’s top ten sustainability successes, the emergence of corporate social responsibility has made their number four spot on the list. Corporate leaders are recognized for starting to recognize responsibility for the environment, for people and for communities.
Corporate leaders were originally scoffed at in the early 90’s when talks about corporate social responsibility first began, but many are now recognized for “talking the talk and walking the walk.” There is only so long that you can talk without taking action, but thankfully, many are taking action.
One of the biggest sustainability failures according to the iisd, is not following through on the “Rio bargain.” During the first Earth Summit, the “Rio bargain” was established and through the Rio bargain, developed countries and developing countries were supposed to work together to bring change.
The agreement was that developing countries would participate in green initiatives, whereas the developed more capable countries were to then help these developing countries by removing trade barriers, helping them to take action on debt, helping with technology transfer and more.
But instead, the developing countries have not followed through on their part with green initiatives and the big guys haven’t followed through on their part either. The trade market has opened, but it has opened one-sided and allows the more industrialized nations to export and not the little guy – the developing nations.
Other failures include world peace, the widening gap of wealth, damage to marine ecosystems, the scarcity of clean water and more.
A Manageable and Attainable Sustainability Future
The first step to a sustainable future is a complete and thorough analysis of the current system that is failing; analyzing both the successes and the failures with a focus on the success. What brings this success? How can we bring this success into every sector of sustainability?
One important key aspect to take into consideration when analyzing this data is the fact that one of the greater successes has risen from multiple small initiatives worldwide. Think “big” but start “small.” If everyone did a little, the world would benefit greatly and we may see more positive change.