Since joining The Natural Step Canada in August 2011, some of my writing has been published on the organization’s website. Below are excerpts from a handful of blog posts that live over on www.naturalstep.ca, posted here for easy access. Click on the “Read more” links to see the full post.
Supporting Collective Impact through Backcasting
October 17, 2012
At The Natural Step Canada, we are increasingly hearing calls for “more innovation” and “more collaboration” to facilitate progress on sustainability challenges. Many organizations – including many of our own clients and partners – have recognized that there is only so much that they can achieve on their own, and that there are plenty of obstacles to overcome in partnership with suppliers, customers, regulators, and yes, even their competitors.
Raising the bar: Nike backcasting from a bold vision of success
September 11, 2011
In May of 2012, hallmark company Nike published its Sustainable Business Report for 2010/11, demonstrating that it is increasingly reaping the benefits of integrating sustainability into its core business through a world-class vision and strategy.
Nike has contextualized all of its sustainability efforts relative to a bold, aspirational vision:
“Our vision is to build a sustainable business and create value for Nike and our stakeholders by decoupling profitable growth from constrained resources.”
The Reality of Ecological Debt
August 27, 2012
Wednesday, August 22nd was “Earth Overshoot Day”, the date on which humanity exceeded the bio-capacity of our planet for the entire year of 2012. In essence, we have now utilized all of the resources that our planet can provide in a calendar year in a sustainable scenario, and for the rest of 2012, we will continue to deplete the planet’s ability to provide the resources we need to sustain our society in the future.
The concept of Earth Overshoot Day was developed by Global Footprint Network and the new economics foundation as a way to express the increasing stress placed on the natural environment by human activity. In the 1970s, humanity’s consumption of natural resources began to overstep what the planet could replenish. In 1992, Earth Overshoot Day fell on October 21. In 2002, it was October 3. Not only is the trend moving in the wrong direction, but it is accelerating.
There are signs all around us that our society is out of balance. Our institutions are failing us, we are riddled with debt, we are lacking social cohesion and trust, and we are consuming at an ever-increasing rate – all the while becoming less happy. These patterns are wreaking havoc on the habitat that sustains us – the Earth – and the social systems on which we rely. If we draw these patterns out to their logical conclusion, the story does not unfold happily.
To address a series of massive and interconnected challenges that includes poverty, pollution and toxicity, species extinction, and climate change, we require a) a unifying strategic planning approach that will allow us to thrive within the planet’s limits, and b) leadership that inspires systemic change across sectors, borders and disciplines. The Master’s programme in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability (MSLS) offers these two things in spades.
Alberta Sustainability Champions Gear up for Success
November 2, 2011
On October 13 and 14, nineteen professionals gathered in Edmonton to build their capacity as sustainability practitioners by participating in The Natural Step Canada’s Sustainability for Leaders Course – Level 1: Foundations (join us at the next session coming up in Vancouver).
Participants included professionals from Enermodal Engineering, Worley Parsons, Edmonton Airports, Stantec,Bullfrog Power, AIMCO, Landmark Group of Builders, EIDOS Consultants, Servus Credit Unionand Earth Legacy, municipal leaders from the City of Red Deer and the Town of Stony Plain, and educators from Bow Valley College, Grant McEwan University, and NAIT. I had the pleasure of facilitating the course with my colleagues Sarah Brooks and Colin Baril.
Please support Masters level education in Strategic Sustainable Development
September 18, 2011
In the small town of Karlskrona, Sweden, young leaders from around the world gather every September to begin a Masters program in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability (MSLS) at the Blekinge Institute of Technology. The course is based aroundThe Natural Step Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development, and it turns passionate students into empowered change agents for a better world.