We tend to believe that someone else will deal with a crisis. Like thinking that our leaders are going to do something about the crisis of climate change. And what if they don’t?
As an independent consultant working in the field of sustainability supporting organisations to become “greener” and more responsible towards not only their shareholders or funders but their people and the planet too, I believe I should live the way I learn.
Walk the talk.
Therefore I find it natural to set three overarching business targets for 2019. These relate to the financial, social and environmental impact of my company.
My business targets are to:
Achieve a strong enough profit to support myself financially.
Increase the membership of the SDG Network Meetup by 50%.
Reduce my carbon footprint.
I believe we have all learned that targets should be SMART; as in specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound. What is more interesting though, I think, is what these targets mean for me as an individual and what they mean for our planet.
The financial target means that I can support myself and contribute to the support of my family, living a life that in which I can not only survive but thrive. So it is money to pay the bills and the mortgage and so on, and it is more than that. It is a feeling that I have achieved or at least working towards achieving, my ikigai. Ikigai is a Japanese expression meaning purpose or the reason for being; doing what I love, what I'm good at, what the world needs and what I can get paid for.
There seems to be an infinite amount of work that can be done which fulfill some of these circles. For me usually: what I am good at, what I love, (hopefully) what the world needs… and the paid for bit is lacking. Sometimes get the feeling that to talk about money is “ugly”, it’s not what you should do, and it can be difficult. I don’t know if it’s a gender thing… perhaps just a Carolina-thing! In either way, the financial target is essential for sustainability.
The social target means that I'm contributing to raising awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Only 1 in 10 people in the UK know of the Sustainable Development Goals (pictured below and if you click on the picture you can find more easily accessible info from the UN).
By running the SDG Network I also hope to inspire people to make positive changes in their life, in the community where they live and operate or in their workplace. Kind of challenging to measure but more on that another time.
Finally, the environmental target means I strive to tread lightly on our planet not using more than my fair share of our planet’s resources. Challenging yes and for me essential to strive for. I believe the biggest challenge we are facing as a society is climate change and I want to do what I can to tackle it. Step by step sometimes and it’s important to be aware, be courageous and learn as I go along as well as making improvements where I can. No matter how small it seems.
The point I'd like to make in this blog, is that it doesn't matter if the organisation is small or what sector it operates in. I'm a self-employed independent consultant providing business services. We all have an impact and wherever we are on the spectrum of doing good business we can all improve and learn from one another. I know we can't recycle our way out of the climate crisis and that the BIG COMPANY cutting their carbon footprint by 5% will have a much bigger impact than me cycling to the train station. That doesn’t mean I should not cycle to the train station. Because that is something I can do straight away, I am in control of the change and it doesn’t leave the responsibility to someone else (and who knows when “they” will change?).
I don’t want to be a bystander.
Get in touch if you, like me, don't want to be a bystander and we can chat about sustainability improvements for your organisation which are great for business, people and the planet.
Join the SDG Network MeetUp community in London or Milton Keynes (or both!)