ooking out over the marketplace and economy, one wonders whether practical approaches to sustainable business will both encourage and rally those in the private, public, and academic sectors. In West Michigan, for example, the following observations are the key areas of sustainability in which organizations are focusing:
Resiliency planning, as the need for emergency preparedness and disaster management control systems take place due to volatile weather patterns and climate conditions.
“Beyond Greening” strategies based on clean and disruptive technologies due to fewer “low hanging fruit” green environmental efficiency projects with longer payback periods. Many of these “beyond greening” products and services are being tailored for the nearly 3 billion global population that live at the “base of the pyramid” on $3-4 per day.
Transparent sustainability assessment and reporting moving from determining short term eco-efficiencies to developing longer term value creation and the collective impact of economic, environmental, and social sustainability.
Development of proactive sustainability risk management strategies that address compliance and constraints areas, contingency planning to “game changer” risk management strategies that ensure brand reputation and increased transparency among shareholders and stakeholders.
Establishment of collaborations, working relationships, partnerships across the public, private, and academic sectors to address systemic sustainability issues such as quality of life, educational attainment, and poverty—“wicked problems of sustainability”.
Growth of sustainable supply chain management best practices as producers, suppliers, service providers, and customers seek optimal performance across the “triple bottom line” of economic, social, and environmental sustainability in the global marketplace.
The evolution of sustainability activities, events, and projects to a sustainable lifestyle and way of life, such as academic institutions seek to become “living learning laboratories” for faculty, staff, and students.
The importance and development of a local and regional economy based upon clean technologies and new economy skillsets and sustainable development best practices.
Practical sustainability and best practices are being embraced and embedded across many sectors in West Michigan as a future platform for growth in our region. Our Community Sustainability Partnerships also continue to grow, as there are now six of these networking and capacity building organizations whose mission is to help nurture and grow local sustainable communities. These observations lead most to believe that the future is promising and brighter for us all!