Friday, February 17, 2012

Whose Sustainability is it Anyway?

This is the blog of Gill Yourston (51 and 3/4), Exec Coach, Sales Eminence Training Programme Manager at IBM and relative newbie to the subject of Sustainability. 

Whilst my initial interest in Sustainability was generated by the business opportunities for data analytics and metering; my research, (and gentle prodding from colleagues), has shown me how relevant, simple and complex this subject is.  Simple, as our current use of resources is unsustainable and complex, because solutions will require fundamental changes in our individual behaviour and the ways we do business.

Why has it taken me so long to get interested?  I believe our behaviours are driven by our values and beliefs and without a supporting value or belief we are unlikely to exhibit the behaviour. 

I started recycling following a story in the Local Authority magazine about the implications of landfill and non-biodegradable waste.  I considered solar panels because of the financial incentives, (although my husband thought his logical pragmatist had lost it!)  The issues became relevant to me in the here and now. 

Through my blog I’ll be sharing some of the things I’ve learned from my reading around Sustainability and the questions that have come up for me.  I’d welcome your feedback and introduction to new information and resources. 

My intent will be to find practical responses, (where available), to some challenging questions, both for individuals and organisations alike.  I will include links to any papers, other blogs or sites I have visited in the course of my reading.  I also plan to share stories of where and how businesses and individuals are being, or will be impacted.  As part of these stories I hope to share the motivators for change.  

Some of the subject areas for future blogs include:

  • Energy - what strategies are in place to address the UK energy gap? 
  • Transport – what are the challenges/benefits of running a fleet on bio fuel? 
  • Waste – what are the opportunities and challenges and how attractive are the incentives?
  • Resources – Water, raw materials, what’s the issue?
  • Business – how will businesses need to change/adapt and what does that mean for employees?
In the course of my reading on Sustainability, even my understanding of the term “bottom line” has broadened.  Reference is made to the Triple Bottom Line; or the 3Ps; of People, Profit and Planet, or alternatively Social, Environmental and Economic.

What I see is that what’s good for the Planet, can also present a real opportunity for business.  If businesses are to survive and adapt, in a complex world of finite resources and increasing legislation, incorporating Sustainability into business strategy is an imperative that is supported by a number of recent CEO studiesThere’s an opportunity for organisations to engage and influence their customers and employees ……and vice versa……

Thanks to all those who’ve helped me on the way.  You know who you are. I look forward to sharing with you in the weeks ahead…..

(The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions).


  1. Interesting post, Gill. Looking forward to watching your blog develop. David

  2. Valuable area of research.As an individual I am enthusiastic about recycling.
    Looking forward to following all areas of your blog.
    Angela kay

  3. Thanks Angela, my next entry will be posted tomorrow, where I'm sharing my findings on the impending energy gap

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