So I’m at a Spheres of Influence reception this evening featuring Yosef Abramowitz of Arava Power in Israel. Fascinating progress towards development of the first solar-based power company in Israel, First 5MW plant (photovoltaic) to go on-line sometime with the next 18 months (interesting company and story, though not the point of this post).
While talking to a salesmen for a distributor of plug-in charging stations, he asked what I do. I said that I’m a “sustainability strategist.” He said “What’s that?” To which I replied “I design sustainability initiatives for companies that drive value to the bottom line through environmental and social responsibility.” He then queried “Is your background finance?” I then asked the following questions to offer-up as an illustration:
- Who makes your charging stations?
- What are the employee benefit and related HR programs in place for the workers in the manufacturing facility?
- What materials make-up the charging station and from where are they obtained?
- How are the stations transported, installed, warehoused?
- What are the energy, water, air and waste programs at the manufacturer’s facility and offices?
- For that matter, what are the distributor’s?
- What NGOs have you partnered with?
- How do you report, market and advertise your environmental and social stewardship?
I could go on and on…get the point? He finally did, because he didn’t have an answer to any of these questions.
So what’s wrong with this picture, beyond the obvious fact that he didn’t have answers to my questions?
See a Sustainability: It’s not the “What” but rather the “How!” and let’s sum-up how we can aim to paint a better picture.