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Flourishing beyond sustainability

July 11, 2012

If you had to choose between two verbs to describe life ahead of you, which would you choose?

1)      To Flourish

2)      To Sustain

We know sustainability is an important aspect of business viability, yet our current focus on sustainability is likened to applying the brakes to a bus going in the wrong direction if we do not also seek to transform business (and society) towards positive, wholesome outcomes.  Yes, applying the brakes to a vehicle we know is doing damage is sensible, yet we ought not to allow the focus on applying the brakes become singular as to exclude focus on what we can evolve into.

Yes we need to measure, monitor and reduce the negative impacts business has on life, yet we must not think that this is it.  Business does not need to be solely about reducing its harm; it can and must be a force for good, not simply doing less bad.

The profit motive of business has become separate from the purpose motive.  Companies that flourish in volatile times must have a sense of purpose.  The purpose, not the profit, needs to be maximised.  As we move beyond carrot and stick approaches of old, we move into a new business paradigm where business creates conditions conducive for life, where our actions and interactions enhance life.

The current business paradigm does not need to be sustained as it is life-damaging; it needs to evolve to one that is wholesome for life.  Let’s thrive in business; flourishing beyond sustaining.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 18, 2012 10:12 pm

    We need both. Flourishing, as you see in any tropical rainforest, is really the optimum point. It can only happen long term if you also have the central tenets of sustainability (consume resources no faster than they are created, generate waste no faster than it can be transformed into raw materials etc.)

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  1. Flourishing beyond sustainability | Biomimetic Design

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