Successful businesses need to embrace the sustainability revolution

Posted On Thursday, 17 October 2013 09:04 Published by
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Globally, boardrooms are being held to account for their sustainability, ethics and social contribution

Jason Drew"Globally boardrooms are being held to account for their sustainability, ethics and social contribution," says Jason Drew, an entrepreneur, passionate environmentalist and visionary who advocates for the sustainability revolution.

Drew, a self-confessed 'environmental capitalist', who will be one of the keynotes at the imminent Green Building Council South Africa Convention, happening at the CTICC from 16 – 18 October, argues that sustainability has to have an economic impact and moreover, an economic reward, if it is to strike a chord with a global audience.

He believes that whilst capitalism may have caused many of the issues we face - it may be the only tool we have that is strong enough to fix the problems.

"As we move out of the era of the industrial revolution and into the sustainability revolution, capitalists and environmentalists will become natural bedfellows, not the adversaries they once were," advises Drew.

The green revolution
"We are shifting from one period to another and those who get it, get it," says Drew. "For example, Nedbank in South Africa, which now calls itself the Green Bank, and the Cooperative Society in the UK have emerged as ethical, green-focused banking institutions."

Frank Berkeley"As the primary sponsors of the Green Building Convention, Nedbank has long recognised the importance of sustainability and is at the forefront of the 'green' revolution," says Frank Berkeley, Managing Executive Nedbank Corporate Property Finance.

As a group, the bank has a highly integrated approach that includes social, environmental, cultural and economic sustainability. We not only are significantly involved in financing and occupying a number of developments that speak to this interconnected mindset, but are constantly driving this approach to facilitate products and services such as the Green Savings Bond, Renewable Energy Independent Power Programme (REIPP)- that is aimed at reducing South Africa's reliance on coal-based power and energy generation, while lowering the national carbon footprint - and a number of collaborations,' adds Berkeley.

Customers are setting the pace
Customers are becoming increasingly aware and demanding sustainable business partners and products; and with skills shortages being an ongoing challenge to business success, talent attraction needs to also be a priority.

Research done by PriceWaterHouseCoopers shows that sustainability is a key concern when candidates are deciding where they want to work, and that it's also one of the issues employees consider when deciding whether to remain with a company or move on.

Brian Wilkinson GBCSA"Focusing on sustainability will be a major differentiator for a business's success in the future. Ultimately, it will contribute to the long-term survival of an organization and serve to reshape the way we do business," says Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the Green Building Council South Africa.

There is more to creating a sustainable business than recycling, turning off a light switch or donating money to an ecological charity. Wilkinson advises that responsible businesses need to see what impact their organisation has on the environment and what they can do to lessen the negative impacts and to better manage the consequences.

Network of like minds to fast track sustainability
Also confirmed at the Global Green Building Convention is an impressive line-up of influential sustainability leaders, presenting alongside Jason Drew are: Richard Fedrizzi, founding chairman of the US Green Building Council and current Chairman of the WorldGBC; Romilly Madew, CEO of the Australian Green Building Council – voted as one of Australia's top 100 most influential people in 2012; Gunter Pauli, entrepreneur, author and initiator of the Blue Economy concept; Cameron Sinclair, the co-founder and CEO of Architecture for Humanity; Lewis Pugh, an ocean advocate, pioneer swimmer and explorer who was named as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum; and Dion Chang– trend-spotter extraordinaire, Norbert Sasse, the CEO of South Africa's largest listed property company and Justin Smith who spearheads Woolworths' highly successful good business journey.

Last modified on Friday, 18 October 2013 05:17

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