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Our thoughts on the S word

2 October 21, 2010
Everyone’s talking about “sustainability” these days but, really, what does it mean? Don’t worry, we’re not going to waffle on about our “green efforts” here, but we do feel it’s important to say a few things about what we believe and where we’re headed. Foremost, we believe that every business should be a net positive contributor to society at large, meaning it must create lasting value for all stakeholders, not just shareholders. In our case, a list of stakeholders would include:
  • consumers
  • customers (retail partners)
  • the environment
  • neighbors in our community
  • partners
  • shareholders
  • staff
  • suppliers
Setting out to consciously create value for each of these groups – vs. short-changing one or more for the benefit of mangers/owners – is the goal of sustainability, in our opinion. And, furthermore, given what we now know about the costs of doing business the old-fashioned way, sustainability is now a moral obligation for every business manager. We can no longer afford to ignore the true cost of rampant carbon emissions, massive loss of biodiversity and continued social injustice, often perpetuated by ignorance and financial greed. OK, with all that said, we obviously don’t have all the answers at Ursa Major!!! We’re starting with the obvious stuff like making sure our products, packaging, collateral, travel practices, etc. are as “green” as possible. (This is not as easy as one might think – going green, even at this basic level, requires lots awkward compromises. Keep track of our ongoing efforts on our blog.) We’re also developing a sustainability framework which identifies specific things we need to do as a business (and individuals) over time to create lasting value for each of our stakeholders. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be exciting… and we’re committed to learning from others and sharing our findings as we go. As stakeholders, we invite you to follow along and help us explore the frontiers of “enlightened entrepreneurship” here at Ursa Major, ultimately taking a hand in our actions. Let’s get things going now, shall we? For starters, which brands are inspiring you the most right now with their sustainability efforts? Who, in your mind, is helping pioneer a new, enlightened business ethic? We would love to hear your thoughts.

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