October 24, 2013

ASU sustainability advisers suggest business leaders focus on 'can do'

Posted: October 24, 2013
The Executive Master's for Sustainability Leadership program starting in January will equip current and future business leaders with the tools and knowledge to instill sustainability throughout the corporate environment.

"Sustainability" is quite the buzzword these days, but most of the conversation revolves around what we can't do. We can't or shouldn't drive cars, drink from plastic water bottles, eat meat and generally consume. So in a changing environment, how do corporations integrate sustainability and turn a "can't do" into a "can do"?

In a recent Triple Pundit article by Arizona State University sustainability scientist George Basile and consultant Bruno Sarda, the "can't do" overshadows the positivity of change and innovation in today's business world.

"The 'can’t do' conversation is, by its very nature, a discussion of inaction, of intention rather than execution," writes the authors. "In order to bridge the gap between intention and execution, the world needs effective and determined leaders who know how to use tools such as strategy, global context, communication and an emerging suite of new leadership skills to make the necessary change our planet and society needs to 'thrive today and tomorrow.'"

Basile and Bruno both agree that education plays a critical role in developing leaders. ASU has answered the call for sustainability leaders by establishing the School of Sustainability and Global Institute of Sustainability. The institute launched the new Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, in which one particular initiative, the Executive Master's for Sustainability Leadership, targets current and future business professionals who want to incorporate sustainability into every sector of the workplace but don't yet know how. Both Sarda, the director of Global Sustainability Operations at Dell, and Basile, also a green MBA program developer, serve as faculty members in the program.

In the article, the two authors lay out exactly how to instill sustainability into a corporate environment, starting with changing strategy and recognizing global context. 

"Enhanced leadership is needed to move companies beyond mere compliance and reporting to embedding sustainability throughout corporate operations and within the entire corporate strategy," Basile and Bruno write.

Starting in January, the Executive Master's for Sustainability Leadership program will focus on the "can do" attitude by integrating strategy, global context, communications and leadership.

Article source:
Triple Pundit


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Natalie Muilenberg, natalie.muilenberg@asu.edu
Global Institute of Sustainability