The Sustainable Company – Stage 3.

Dave Kinnear1-On Leadership

In a previous post, we looked at the work done by Ram Nidumolu and M.R. Rangaswami in which they stated that there is no alternative to sustainable development. And they identified the five stage process on the road to sustainability. This post discusses Stage 3.

In this stage, the company has moved to designing sustainable products and services. The central challenge here is to develop sustainable offerings or redesign exiting ones to become eco-friendly.

The competencies needed for stage 3 include:

  • The skills to know which products or services are most unfriendly to the environment
  • The ability to generate real public support for sustainable offerings and not be considerd as “greenwashing.”
  • The management know how to scale both supplies of green materials and the manufacture of products

At this point in the process towards becoming sustainable, the executives realize that a significant market exists for eco-friendly products/services, and that they can develop a significant competitive advantage by developing those offerings.

This drives the organization to find additional innovation opportunities, and are often surprised to discover which processes within their model are unfriendly to the environment. They move forward by conducting life-cycle assessment and by:

  • Applying techniques such as biomimicry in product development and
  • Developing compact and eco-friendly packaging.

To design sustainable products, companies have to understand consumer concerns and carefully examine product life cycles to plan for proper disposal and/or reuse.

Are you thinking about life-cycle assessments? Do you have an environmental consultant on your payroll? How will you take advantage of this disruptive change in the market place that is or soon will be moving us along the sustainability curve?

Previous Posts:
Introduction, Stage 1, Stage 2.