The rise of sustainability - which looks at the social, environmental and economic impacts at the same time - has been driven by a number of forces. Climate change (IPCC 5th Assessment) and the decline of most of our global ecological systems (UN Millenium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005), growing population (7 billion+), and growing inequality both globally and nationally are forcing investors, governments, and engaged citizens to rethink how we build a more stable, just, and environmentally sound future. There is no one school of thought on how to do this, but more and more research is showing the benefit of planning and preparing for triple-bottom-line performance to ensure enterprises can continue into the forseeable future and not bankrupt or destroy life-support systems for future generations.

In late 2015 the 193 nations of the United Nations agreed that together we needed to address 17 areas for improvement and we set measurable goals for all 17 to be achieved by 2030. These goals are now collective a working definition of sustainability.

Sustainable Development Goals to achieve by 2030

Sustainable Development Goals

The UN, all 193 nations, agreed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals to achieve by 2030. I’d like those goals to have a prominence on the page. There is a good image we can use of the goals here: I think we should take the current lead focused on my talk a couple years back, down and shift to the SDG’s. In a sense all efforts should address them.

There is an accelerating trend for corporate sustainable reporting, including a powerful set of institutional investors who are pushing to REQUIRE such reporting as part of due diligence. Higher education has developed its own standards for sustainability reporting through the STARS program developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. The federal government has pushed agencies to begin developing sustainable reporting for performance.

The late Ray Anderson, founder and CEO of the world's largest carpet tile manufacturer, Interface, tells of his own conversion and the changes his company began in his "Mid-Course Correction." Different industries are developing their own benchmarks, while labeling and certification systems are proliferating: there are currently more than 200 eco-labels. In all this seeming chaotic activity there is opportunity for enhanced performance that will put industry leaders ahead of laggards. If you are looking to become more profitable--financially, socially, and environmentally--I can help.

Don't worry about where you are on this road. Starting Now can make this journey a more positive one for you, your stakeholders, and the community.