To face big challenges you need big ideas. If companies are to survive the coming decades, business models, products and services must be rethought, taking into account environmental factors yet remaining affordable and profitable.
In short, what is needed are champions: sustainability champions. In February, the sustainability communications agency Futerra brought together three leaders in the field, among them L’Oréal’s Director of CSR and Sustainability Alexandra Palt, for a “Breakfast of Champions”. Together they established seven key actions for success:
1. Find your big idea
Every business needs a big idea for the future. Without it, you are not preparing your business. Connect to your business purpose and create a big idea to bring it to life. Keep it simple, memorable and punchy.
2. Talk to people
Consult beyond your business for thoughts and ideas from friends and critics. What are their needs and expectations? Learn from your suppliers and buyers, but also host communities and campaigners.
3. Make it commercial
It’s obviously not just about the money, but ideas that drive sustainable growth and opportunity must resonate with your customers.
4. Make sure the fit is right
It is much more important for your big idea to be a long-term cultural “fit” for your organisation’s psyche than to be “sexy”. The idea should be positive, not guilt-ridden, and align with your core commercial strategy.
5. Sell it in
In order to realise the above benefits you have to fast-track the people in your business into the same mindset as yourself. Use communications to make sustainability real, relevant, tangible and personal. Inspire, engage and mobilise your people.
6. Crunch the numbers
Measure the important stuff. Track progress. Report. Perception is nothing without performance.
7. Spread the word
Build a movement to change the world. The health of business, people and the planet is at stake. Our big ideas may be precisely the mechanism that delivers more for humanity.