The Big Pivot: A Blueprint for Radical, Profitable, Corporate Sustainability
A critical transformation in the way our world operates and conducts business lies before us in the form of sustainability. Today’s business climate is demanding a shift from short-term gain to long-term positive practices that’ll maintain the success of not only the company, but the environment in which it performs. This is from the manufacturing facilities, all the way up the supply chain, and right to the CEO. Of course, these long-term practices include maintaining and increasing profitability.
Somewhere along the line, when we began talking about the role of business in sustainability, we miscommunicated that profit wasn’t part of the picture. The large, corporate players understand how big of an impact they can make by radically altering the status quo. They also see economic opportunities in the extreme shifts ahead; research and development, innovation, employee attraction and retention, and the opening up of an entirely new customer base that’s inspired by change. In a new book titled The Big Pivot: Radically Practical Strategies for a Hotter, Scarcer and More Open World (Harvard Business Review Press 2014) written by Andrew Winston – a corporate sustainability strategist, consultant, speaker, and author – the concept of extreme behavior change within the business community is detailed in action steps that can be implemented immediately. By illustrating clear and simple scenarios of consequence, Andrew encourages corporate leaders to check themselves in for the benefit of the planet – and of the sake of their business’ prosperity. A mindset switch is allowing leaders to take advantage of this brilliant perspective and carve out some of the aforementioned economic opportunities via improvements that positively impact the environment.
According to The Big Pivot, the “mega challenges” facing our globalized world – climate change, water and food shortages, energy consumption, and resource depletion – are no longer debateable so the discussion about whether or not it’s actually occurring is no longer relevant. What’s most important, as outlined by Andrew in The Big Pivot, is that our business community takes firm stances to urgently “pivot” in order to ensure continued existence. The book contains plenty of examples of companies having performed what Andrew calls “heretical innovation” by applying what businesses should always be known for – creative solutions. Companies that take a look at their own footprint are able to set “science-based goals” to not only reduce impact, but begin reversing decades of damage.
One of the book’s stark examples of the consequences of ignoring the need to “pivot” is a Plainview, Texas based beef-processing plant that shutdown in February 2013. State-wide drought dried up pastures thus driving up the cost of growing hay. Without a food supply for their cattle, ranchers were forced to sell-off their herds and as a result 2,300 jobs were lost. That’s equivalent to 10 percent of the town’s population.
Agriculture, energy, and many other major industries all face these dismal consequences. But as Andrew points out, through radical collaboration industries can assess the challenges that aren’t isolated to one particular company, but rather those that affect the entire sector. This doesn’t mean that the economic mechanism of competition needs to be eliminated, it just means that we’re approaching business from a new angle – one that drives innovative change and positive growth.
“Corporate sustainability” is not a one-size-fits-all blueprint to cure our planet’s problems. It’s a broad concept that needs to be carefully analyzed and tailored to each specific company’s culture, goals, and vision. Then it needs to be executed, communicated, and improved upon consistently.
“Sustainability is not philanthropy” says Andrew. “These are just really big issues that businesses can take the lead on if they learn to operate in new ways.” Every business, no matter the size, can integrate sustainability practices into their core functions and still do it profitably. The Big Pivot is the guide for companies who understand the need for radical change and are ready to explore their options.
Now available on Amazon.com, The Big Pivot is being talked about by some of the world’s most influential companies and business leaders as an essential road map to navigating the necessary shifts ahead. To complement the book’s concepts, Andrew created www.pivotgoals.com as a transparency tool for Fortune 500 companies to benchmark their triple bottom line targets. This further supports Andrew’s view of collaborating radically and upholds accountability and integrity which is what’s needed in order to make “The Big Pivot”.