Andrew Winston is an environmental strategist and author of The Big Pivot, a book advocating a "green-shift" in business priorities, away from short-term profits toward long-term economic, social and environmental sustainability. In this YouTube video from the Big Thinkchannel, Winston speaks of the need for a transformative shift in business. A shift toward meeting the challenges we all face in the 21st century:
"I believe that the challenges we’re facing globally as a business community and as a species are getting so large and so complex that the way we do business has to fundamentally change"
"Sustainability" has become a buzzword that makes Winston wary. The assumption has been that the environmental and social challenges that word encompasses means a tradeoff for businesses between addressing these issues and being profitable.
"This myth was based in some reality for a long time," Winston says. "There were things that did cost more money and green products or green services – they weren’t very good for a long time so there’s a sense that green was somehow not good for business. It wasn’t out of nowhere but that’s really a dated view."
Winston uses the exponential drop in the cost of renewable energy as an example, even as the efficiency of the technology continues to improve.
"The cost of that has been dropping dramatically, 70-80 percent reduction in cost of, you know, using solar power in the last five years. So the economics have shifted. This is now very good for business."
The biggest challenge is climate change, says Winston. Not only for business, but government and civil society. All sectors of society must participate in solutions.
"Climate change is arguably, and I believe really, the greatest challenge we face for humanity and I’m not alone in this. There’s now voices coming to the table that are from unusual places. You know former U.S. Treasury Secretaries have put out a report called Risky Business that talks about how expensive this has become just for the economy and for all of our cities and how expensive it will be, how dangerous it is."
Image credit: epSos.de, courtesy flickr