World Environment Center President Calls for Major Actions to Bring Sustainable Business Solutions to Global Market Scale

Jun 13, 2011 6:20 PM ET
(3BL Media / theCSRfeed) Washington, DC - June 13, 2011 - World Environment Center President & CEO Terry F. Yosie, in a major address on key disruptive forces in the global economy, presented a four-point set of recommendations for expanding the speed and scale of progress to grow global markets for sustainable products and develop more collaborative approaches to innovation.   Stating that “we in the sustainability community continue to look at issues primarily through a single lens—water, energy, climate, transportation, or food,” Dr. Yosie called for the development of new forms of collaboration where traditional boundaries across the private sector, government and NGO communities become less relevant. Specific recommendations included:
  • Engineer the benefits into the products so they become self evident. Rather than expect consumers to have a conversion experience prompting them to purchase higher priced greener products, a more effective approach is for companies to design energy efficiency, recyclability, fewer natural resources, and other sustainability criteria directly into the product at the same time as they improve quality, performance and price. 

  • Global companies must take responsibility for their value chains. Few institutions are as well positioned as the global corporation to bring more order and structure to economic relationships that can simultaneously advance global sustainability standards while providing affordable goods and services. 

  • Develop new forms of co-creation and collaboration to achieve global scale in sustainability initiatives. Co-creators of value are business partners, non-governmental organizations, governmental agencies, universities and individual families who are sources of new ideas for new products that can expand the infrastructure for renewable energy technologies, create closed looped systems, and foster greater competition with non-sustainable products in the marketplace. 

  • Get the leaders and the experts in the same room.   The goal is not to assemble all of the technical knowledge at the same time but, rather, to recognize that all of the major players—businesses, policymakers, NGOs, and consumers—must be part of the same system-wide conversation in the same room with a bias for converting their agreements into action over time. 

These recommendations were delivered with the understanding that disruptive global changes will continue to “intervene and periodically undermine our best efforts to create a more sustainable and just world,” Dr. Yosie said.  He concluded: “The real risk is not that these disruptive developments will occur. It is that our responses to them will be inadequate. It’s time to co-create the future.”  These recommendations were presented at the 2011 US—China Green Development Symposium hosted by The World Bank.  Dr. Yosie’s full speech may be downloaded here.   WEC14525