A Sustainability Surge?

Over the last week or so I have had a taster of both how big and how small the world really is.

On Thursday the previous week I joined HP’s advisory board on corporate responsibility and sustainability, the HP External Global Citizenship Council.   I was honored to participate in a day and a half of stimulating discussions and insights.

Last week,   BT’s internal executive level Sustainable Business Leadership Team met in London.  I was able to experience moving from the advisory to the operational side of the table just a few days apart.   We commenced our BT meeting with an inspirational presentation from Gail Kleinworth CSO of Unilever.

Going from one meeting to the other, gave me the opportunity to stand on the edge of the Pacific Ocean and the north bank of the River Thames in London within just 18 hours of each-other.

On my way to the airport on Saturday afternoon I stopped off at Half Moon Bay in California. I arrived at Heathrow on Sunday and by early afternoon, about 18 hours later, was on the less naturally beautiful, but equally exciting, north bank of the Thames; it’s a small world, indeed.

I went to Half Moon Bay to see the location of the Mavericks, the big wave competition.  Enthusiasts eagerly await the event each year and track the storm cycle that leads to the surge for many days preceding the in the run up to the surfing competition.

The three companies with which I was involved this past week, HP, BT, and Unilever, have significant differences in their core business but much in common through their sustainability challenges and opportunities.  Not only do we have much to learn from each other and ways in which we can help each other, but also many ways we can help other companies and communities through our sheer size. In raw numbers, between the three companies, we have well over half a million employees and over $200 billion in revenue.

If you think about it, our combined efforts in sustainability are like the swells that build the unusually large waves at Mavericks.  I am confident that we have sufficient momentum to build a wave of action to bring all companies that value their sustainability and societal responsibilities together to do great work.

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