Dr Ariane David Moderates a Panel Discussion on
Sustainability and OD

October 27th, 2010   •   2 comments   

Dr Ariane David Moderates a Panel Discussion on Sustainability and OD

Presentation Transcript
Sustainability: the Next Megatrend How Will Organizational Development Contribute? OD in Los Angeles October 27 th , 2010 Westside Conference Center

Dinner and Networking 6:00 PM
Program 6:45 PM

Sustainability Topics:
Sustainability in Business and OD – Ariane David
Sustainable Transformation – Bill Bellows
LEED and Customer Service – Jim McPartlin
Performance Management – Mauricio Mesones
Walmart’s Sustainability Effort – Nkechi Ndu
Questions and Dialogue
Closing 8:30 PM

So, what do we understand “Sustainability” to be?
What short phrase do you think most people would immediately think of if you mention “Sustainable Business”?
So, what do we understand “Our Role” to be? OD (Organizational Development) is a critical contributor to the successful implementation of Sustainable principles and practices in organizations.

What is Sustainability?
There is no right definition of sustainability.
Intuitively we know that if something is sustainable it can go on and on without adverse affects.

What is Sustainability
Tim Jackson, UK Sustainability Commission: “ Shared and lasting prosperity.” (But he also adds that we’ve destroyed lasting prosperity through unfettered growth.)

Elisabet Sahtouris, writer: “ I see Capitalism as a pretty natural (in the sense of evolution biology) juvenile economic mode, acquisitive and creative, but believe it is high time to move into the mature cooperative mode if we want to survive current pileup of unprecedented crises.”

Ray Anderson, CEO and founder of Interface: “ Take nothing (that is not quickly renewable), and do no harm.”

What is Sustainability – an operational definition
Depletion of substances extracted from the Earth
concentrations of substances produced by society
Degradation by physical means
people are not subject to conditions that systematically undermine their capacity to meet their needs.
Prof Karl-Henrik Robèrt: In a sustainable society, nature is not subject to systematically increasing and, in that society…

What is Sustainability: Classic Model
Old Model: Concentrated on environment; “ green”.

What is Sustainability: New Model Three Pillars
Environment: waste/pollution/depletion neutral on a global level
A new economic model: global vs. local impact
Social justice that addresses poverty, disease and slavery.

What is Organizational Sustainability?
A new economic model
Social justice

Sustainable Organizational Environment
Environment: Waste/pollution/depletion Neutral on an Organizational Level
Extractive to renewable
Wasteful to waste free
Abusive to benign
Fossil fuels to renewable energy
Exploitive to collaborative

Sustainable Organizational Economics
A new economic model:
Rape pillage and plunder is not a sustainable business model.
Current calculation: labor + materials + overhead = cost of production
Sustainable calculation: labor + materials + overhead + pollution + depleted non-renewable resources + future increased cost of extraction + human cost = actual cost of production

Sustainable Organizational Society
Social justice: no need to choose between employee well-being and profits
Providing employees with an environment of
Work satisfaction,
Personal growth
Work/non-work balance
This is where OD comes in!

Sustainability Requires Systems Thinking
Involves looking the larger system of which we’re a part
Systems are interconnected and cannot be separated
In what ways is my system embedded in a larger system?
How does the larger system influence my system?
What influence does my system have on the larger system?

Sustainability Requires Systems Thinking
Involves seeing the connectivity of our actions through time.
The conditions today are the direct result of decisions made in the past.
The decisions we make today will determine where we are in the future.
What impact will today’s choice have in the long run.

INTERFACE: Ray Anderson’s Quest for Sustainability
Mission Zero:
zero waste,
zero emissions,
zero use of non-renewable energy
in Interface by 2020.

INTERFACE: Ray Anderson’s Quest for Sustainability
1 . Research and development: greening of all manufacturing processes
2 . Organizational development:
Created a culture which would allow employees to participate
Invites ideas from the rank and file, rejecting none without consideration.
Encourages employees to participate in the formation of strategies and goals.
Employee satisfaction is a high priority.
Interface attracts and retains the very best talent and employee productivity is high.
Employee engagement and affinity are high
Absenteeism is low.
Productivity is high

This year Interface seems to be on track to it’s goal.
Greenhouse gas emissions were down by 80%
Profits doubled
Fossil fuel consumption down 62%

What Drives an Org. to Care About Sustainability?
C-suite survey of 203 large U.S. enterprises, Feb.-Mar. 2009
What Do Organization’s Believe the Greatest Benefits to Be? Survey of 1,560 global business leaders MIT Sloan, Business of Sustainability Report , 2009; http://www.mitsmrezine.com/busofsustainability/2009?#pg20
5. Purpose/Passion Values-driven senior leader 4. Integrated Strategy Enhanced organizational value 3. Beyond Compliance Eco-efficiencies PR crisis Regulatory threat 2. Compliance Regulatory enforcement 1. Pre-Compliance Stage Sustainability Org. Journey Source: Bob Willard – Sustainability Advantage

The Basic Toolkit for the OD Practitioner of the Future…
Evolutionary Leadership
Knowing how to choose among existing alternatives as well as how to create new ones

Systems Thinking
Seeing things in terms of connected relationships, patterns and processes and not just in terms of separate objects, structures, positions

Sustainability Strategy
Understanding the objectives of sustainable business practice and knowing how to design for them


  1. Vastlyday says:

    Hi, very interesting post, greetings from Greece!

  2. […] Dr Ariane David Moderates a Panel Discussion on Sustainability and OD […]

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