Sometimes, when the months are dark, so is the music I listen to. I have a few favorites from my youth, all bands that are radically pro-environmentalism and animal rights. Thus, when I’m running through a deserted office district on a dark February evening with my AirPods in, I'm reminded of the need to protect nature: protest, resist, repeat!
In January, my employer launched its sustainability strategy. As I've been working on it full-time since June 22nd, my initial reaction was one of unsurprise. This is a common feeling for those who are behind the scenes at launches. What's meant to be an exclamation point at the start of something new, is just another comma in the project for those involved.
A well-known architect I spoke with during the launch week told me that the problem with sustainability strategies is that they often provide an argument for delaying action that should be taken immediately. Saying "by 2030 we will do x" means "tomorrow we won't."
The advantage of launching a strategy that is already underway is that while it looks to 2030 and beyond, its short-term commitments are already in place. We're already putting all our weight behind achieving the strategy. Just this week, a national newspaper praised our 1.2-megawatt electric foundation machine. Hence, my lack of surprise.
Since then, LinkedIn friends and friendly competitors have reached out to say they appreciated our strategy. They may have committed to the same 2030 goals, but the actions for 2023 and attitudes for tomorrow are different. Simply repeating that we're dedicated to eliminating harm and maximizing social and natural value is a fresh message for some.
One of the first corporate interviews I did was with the Dutch head of marketing for Coca-Cola. I must have been 13 or 14. I wanted to know why Coca-Cola still ran ads even though they were already well-known all over the world. The answer, which I'll have to paraphrase after nearly three decades, was simple: Coca-Cola didn't just want people to know about them, but to think about them every single minute of every day. It's a marketing lesson that has stayed with me nearly as much as Coke itself.
Decades ago, a handful of people took direct action to limit emissions, live in harmony with nature, and respect animal lives. Some of them sang songs, some of which made it onto my Discman. Now, slowly but surely, their chorus is growing as companies and organizations also commit to action. Some make videos, some of which may end up on your LinkedIn page. The stories may not be surprising, but the message bears repeating every day.
Have a wonderful week,