Hazel Henderson: "Beyond GDP"October 16 ISE provided the opportunity to hear from Hazel Henderson who as an author, speaker and activist has been working toward an interdisciplinary economic and political theory with a focus on environmental and social concerns. See her web site http://www.hazelhenderson.com/ and Wikipedia entry.
With a commitment to reducing her carbon footprint Ms Henderson presented via WebEx. The slides and audio are available here. (Please overlook the institutional sound check disrupting the presentation.)
There was much to consider in Hazel Henderson's "Beyond GDP: Operationalizing Indicators of Sustainability and Quality of Life" presentation but these were my key takeaways:i. Time to Change
Hazel Henderson has been advocating for "an interdisciplinary economic and political theory with a focus on environmental and social concerns' for close to 30 years. Changing mindsets and practices is no easy feat.
ii. We Manage What we Measure
Ms Henderson's presentation reminds us that measures matter and that adapting enterprises to be more sustainable will demand using new metrics for success.
Rich discussions followed Hazel Henderson's presentation led by Frank Werner, a Professor of Finance at Fordham University, and Fern Jones, a financial industry expert focused on socially responsible investing.
HopenhagenKelly Stephenson, who's helped bring Ogilvy Earth's Hopenhagen Campaign to life, was also present at ISE to encourage support for their program.
Hopehagen aims "to connect every person, every city, and every nation to Copenhagen. To give everyone hope, and a platform from which to act. To create a grassroots movement that’s powerful enough to influence change." The campaign grew from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's concern to raise public awareness around the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen December 7.
Have we Reached a Sustainability Tipping Point?
As I think about Hazel Henderson's work through three decades to change "blind spots" of conventional economists and scan the landscape it seems to me momentum is changing. My last post here reported presentations from the www.wnsf.org October conference where executives-- notably all impressive women-- leading sustainability strategy at DuPont, IBM, Pfizer, TIAA-CREF and Walmart. Coca Cola, Siemens and SAP are corporate partners in the Hopenhagen campaign. (SAP's involvement is not surprizing given it's flurry of sustainable business publications and "long-term strategic focus on sustainability, covering both its own operations and customer solutions for more sustainable business practices" announced earlier this year.)
Everywhere I turn a professional group is striving to understand how their roles and skills are relevant and must adapt as their organizations become sustainability aware from doing the minimum, compliance, or seeking new opportunities "sustainability" offers. This week I participated in thoughtful discussions of the ODNetwork NY Sustainability SIG and I'm hosting a "Sustainability" discussion (members only) at allPM.com ahead of International Project Management Day. (I'm spreading the word about our Wikisourcing Sustainable Enterprises initiative that aims to build a living library of examples of enterprises leading the way and providing models for others to follow.)
Is your organization seeking new opportunities in "sustainability" like leaders DuPont, IBM, Pfizer, TIAA-CREF, Walmart, Coca Cola, Siemens and SAP listed above?
How are you preparing to adapt your skills to contribute to the needs of your organization as your management grasps the messages from business influentials starting with Ram Nidumolus, C.K. Prahald and M.R. Rangaswami that sustainability is key to competitive advantage?
Please take a moment to share your perspective. And if you are an enterprise that can inspire others with how you are adapting your business to be more sustainable and provide next practices to guide others, please share what you're doing and what you've learned.~ Jenny Ambrozek