Latest Updates: sustainability RSS
Ta da! We are delighted to introduce you to One Stone’s new website. It’s up, running and ready for interaction.
Why not click through to see how we’ve grown up? Our new site has better navigation, rolling updates and accessible information about our offer and inspirations.
We had fun contributing our own stony pictures to the stie. After all, we take our inspiration from our name. ‘One Stone’ embodies sustainability – a natural resource and humankind’s first tool. With stones you can build, create, connect, communicate. Stones are enduring. They symbolize the planet: the Earth is our stone and we only have one.
Many thanks to Christine Nelsen, project manager, and the entire One Stone team for developing text and tirelessly contributing comments and ideas. Also designers Rupert Bassett and Alex Bray for bringing life to our new shop window.
Try googling ‘management system’ images and your desktop instantly morphs into a Willy Wonka-esque sweetshop of brightly colored lozenges, pyramids and flow diagrams. And one of the brightest, most colorful new management candies on the block is the UN Global Compact Management Model.
The fruit of a partnership with Deloitte, its goal is to provide a framework that is at once flexible, dynamic, practical, straightforward and scalable – to help leaders and learners alike translate the UN Global Compact’s 10 principles into practice. Geared at continuous monitoring and improvement of an organization’s alignment with the principles, six management steps are presented in a circular process. Sustainability and management experts, civil society and academia have all chipped in.
The result is a vivid gobstopper that adapts the basic operating principles of ISO management system standards – Plan, Do, Check, Act – to the requirements of the Compact: Commit, Assess, Define, Implement, Measure, Communicate. At the end of the process, companies are expected to reaffirm their commitment to the Compact, and the cycle begins again. To work successfully, the model relies on three additional factors: governance, transparency and engagement.
An undoubted virtue of the UNGC management model is in offering those new to the Compact a clear, simplified way to approach and apply it – and here I think it can play a big, de-mystifying role.
Handy tips are provided for those ‘getting started’ as well as insight into ‘leadership practices.’ It is universal, generic and stand-alone.
But it’s this last quality, I would argue, that’s also its weakness when it comes to more advanced signatories.
While putting in place a dedicated management process may help in the early stages of implementing the Compact, ultimately, the ten principles must be intrinsic to a company’s culture, across all functions, not a separate, bolt-on process working in parallel.
For those already well advanced on the corporate responsibility road, the real challenge lies in merging the 10 principles seamlessly into existing management approaches, into ‘the way we do business.’ Setting up a new, dedicated management system runs the risk of keeping the UNGC commitment forever at arm’s length to the core of the business.
Total integration is by far the sweetest model of all.
I picked up Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink at a garage sale yesterday, and was enthralled at some of the data he has gathered about the way our brains work. Gladwell at some point polled half of the companies on the Fortune 500 to find out (not surprisingly) that the majority of CEOs are white men.
He also found out that a majority of them are TALL. In the U.S. population, 14.5 percent of men are six feet or taller. Among CEOs at the Fortune 500, 58 percent are six feet tall or taller. Even more striking, said Gladwell, is the fact that in the general population, just 3.9 percent of adult men are six foot two or taller. Among the CEO sample, nearly a third were six foot two or taller.
Today, sustainability feels like a short CEO in the boardroom – the same unconscious bias in attitude that causes us to favor tall white guys causes us to also lean toward strong economic growth, rather than sustainable development, as our overwhelming indicator of the ‘right’ road.
Can we change? Well, it is hard to change unconcious attitudes, as we aren’t, well, conscious of them. But Gladwell posits that positive associations with new ideas can really help. You must be exposed to the new on a regular basis.
So that’s why more CEOs – the short, the tall, female, male, black, white, and brown – need to ride bikes. And compost, put solar panels on their roofs. Grow their own greens. Get out of the corporate limo and walk. Practice and get exposed to what sustainability preaches.
In a recent Price Waterhouse Cooper study of 1,200 CEOs, five challenges emerged that corporate executives were most concerned with.
The top challenge was “how to tap into growing customer sentiment about environmental and corporate responsibility?”
And the answer is, Try some on for size. Most of us, CEOs included, have grown up in a world that reinforces an unconscious bias, I would wager, against some of the practices that could be deemed sustainable. To really “tap into customer sentiment” it takes one (green consumer) to know one. We all need more exposure to sustainable practices. Like riding a bike, some of them might even turn out to be fun.