…”Vision is the most important step in policy-making. If we don’t know where we’re headed, it doesn’t matter how much progress we make. Yet vision is rarely discussed in policy discussions, much less in our culture. We talk about fears, frustrations, and doubts endlessly, but only rarely and with embarrassment about our dreams…” Donella Meadows states in her 1994 article still relevant today.
Towards a sustainable future
We face one of the most fascinating and exciting challenges as we change our global financial systems towards benefiting people and the planet.
Bringing about social or environmental change requires 4 key factors:
- Taking action to implement desired changes.
- Utilizing sustainability methodologies and models to monitor progress and, even more importantly, having access to information. Before we can make change, it is essential to understand where we stand, what we have already tried, and why it hasn’t worked. We use information to create models, develop them, and make them work. Our models are built with information.
- In order to improve impact and sustainability strategy, among other things, internal leadership is required: monitoring, organizing data, selecting wise indicators, and promoting employees’ education. In order to avoid repeating failures, we should cross silos and learn from past endeavors.
- Defining a clear vision which will guide us on our journey to a sustainable future. Young generation innovators, such as Gen Z leaders and impact oriented companies are daring to dream, setting the tone towards solving our global changes.
Implementing Sustainability ESG and Impact
Today, there are many organizations and companies trying to address our most pressing global issues: climate change, social inequalities, hunger, and lack of natural resources, water, agri-food, and energy. The majority of actions, statements, and discussions revolve around implementation, with the remaining few ones devoted to modeling and information.
Almost no resources are left to complete the last phase of the vision setting exercise – clearly defining our shared goals:
- What is our company’s vision for the world we hope to create for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren?
- What is the direction our company / organization will take in the long term to benefit people and the planet? And mid term – next 10 years? What short term actions support us in getting there?
- To know if we have accomplished our goals, what impact and business outcomes need to occur?
Design a sustainable business vision
Over the past few years, I have had the honor of working with over 100 companies and organizations to develop impact models. Goal-setting, integrating sustainability, climate innovation, assessing ESG and impact, tracking key performance indicators, growth, and gaps towards business growth. Our time together has also included exploring our vision and purpose, our inner WHY. Why is our mission so important? By combining our mission, we can lead the way forward.
I often imagine how I want my gardening project, book, or workshop to turn out before I begin it. What am I trying to accomplish? How do I envision it? How will the overall experience be? To get inspired, I like to sit in my garden, turn off my rational mind, and start writing. I often share my work with colleagues, who correct and refine it to help it evolve. It is sometimes embarrassing to do this. However, I keep doing it because it improves my life and my work. Some visions aren’t clear from the beginning. Others take time and are long-term in nature.
It is possible to be motivated by melting icebergs or natural disasters caused by global warming, however, I believe the most powerful motivation is derived from a passion for creating a better world. Please join me in achieving this vision: Consider these questions
- What do you envision as a sustainable future?
- Imagine your business or workplace in a sustainable world. What would it look like? What is your mission? What are the problems your organization is addressing? What kind of work do you do?
- What are your working relationships like?
- What keeps you motivated?
The impact compass
Visionary alone isn’t enough. Having the vision is the first step. The grandest vision will never be realized without adequate information, models, and implementation (and resources, labor, capital, time, and money). Each change comes with its own challenges. Nevertheless, change makers are people who love to imagine a better version of the world as we know it. Therefore, we must, in order to create a truly sustainable planet, set clear visions and take action in making the impossible – possible.
Inspired by the article – Envisioning a sustainable world, Donella Meadows
Picture attribute: <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/photos/people’>People photo created by senivpetro – www.freepik.com</a>
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