"If you're in a bad situation, don't worry, it'll change. If you're in a good situation, don't worry, it'll change."
-- John A. Simone Jr.
“Sustainability” is not always sustainable. Simply, doing and describing what you do as sustainable does not make it so. For organizations (and us, personally!) to be sustainable in what we do, we have to be sustainable in who we are and how we see the world. This gives us our best shot at doing something that is actually going to get or generate sustainable results.In the following series of six posts I will introduce the six levels of engaging in sustainability: Compliance, Conformity, Cooperation, Collaboration, Coherence and Constellation. We use these at Interkannections to help our clients clarify their current goals around sustainability and map out their paths for deepening their practice and impact.
Each level includes and transcends the one before it, adding additional functionality and value.
- At Conformity we realize the importance of our reputation and brand and the need to protect and maintain them.
- Sustainability is externally mandated and harvested for public relations
- Example sustainability issue: Creating a sustainability report and publicizing recent gains in workplace safety.
- Being at Conformity is about appearing sustainable to appeal to shareholders, immediate stakeholders, NGO’s and the media.
- What we see at this level is the power and influence of others over our business.
- What we are doing is using sustainability as a means of improving shareholder and key internal and external stakeholder relations
- What we get from Conformity is good PR, enhanced brand reputation, and good relationships with key stakeholders in our work.
- Failure to go beyond Conformity frequently results in an overwhelming focus on green washing and “spinning” activities to appear sustainable to avoid trouble and enhance image in the eyes of key stakeholders.
Tags: brand reputation, Coherence, collaboration, Compliance, Conformity, Constellation, cooperation, green washing, NGO's, shareholder relations, strategy, sustainability, sustainability report, workplace safety