The Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. The SDGs were set up in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030.

Many businesses have chosen to adopt one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals and feature the icons on their website (see icons below).

If you are looking into developing an Environmental Policy following ISO 140001 or an Energy Management Policy following ISO 50001, these international standards are already supporting sustainability goals #7 Affordable and Clean Energy, #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, #12 Responsible Consumption and Production, and #13 Combat Climate Change. If you are adopting the ISO 14001 and/or ISO 50001 standards for your own business, you are automatically supporting these sustainable goals as well. There is no framework or accreditation associated with supporting the 17 Global Goals. However, I have summarized the main certifications for sustainability that might be of interest for your business in this blog article (link).

Ever since I was introduced to Tim Jackson’s mind-blowingly smart criticism of exponential economic growth, I feel the need to qualify growth in my endeavours and my business name.

The first edition of Tim Jackson’s revolutionary assessment of the astounding flaws in our current economic thinking was first published in 2009. A substantially revised second edition (Prosperity Without Growth: Foundations for the Economy of Tomorrow) has been published in January 2017.  The book summarises the evidence showing that, beyond a certain level of comfort, further growth does not increase human wellbeing. Prosperity without Growth analyses the relationships between economic growth, climate change and social recession. It proposes a route to a sustainable economy without growth and argues for a redefinition of “prosperity” in light of the evidence on what really contributes to people’s wellbeing. As Jackson points out, what really truly matters hardly ever is of material nature once basic needs are met and survival is secure. In the wake of technological progress and the pursuit of ever-increasing profits, financial growth and its “skewed priorities” are linked to human exploitation and environmental destruction, which Jackson refers to as the “age of irresponsibility”. “The clearest message from the financial crisis of 2008 is that our current model of economic success is fundamentally flawed. For the advanced economies of the Western world, prosperity without growth is no longer a utopian dream. It is a financial and ecological necessity.” Jackson proposes a “Servicization” of the economy which would best support the circular economy (reuse-reproduce-recycle) that could not only save our planet but play a major role in supporting mental well-being and prosperity. Jackson explains how an emerging economic model could be the blueprint for the economy of tomorrow – an economy that provides plenty of purposeful work and treads lightly on the environment.

The book was described “one of the most outstanding pieces of environmental economics literature in recent years.” I certainly agree! The book is surprisingly easy to read, and even humorous in places. I would highly recommend it as inspiration for your own journey to sustainability!

The Triple Bottom Line (TBL) refers to the real cost of doing business which includes its impact on people (staff, customers, stakeholders, communities) and the environment. Planning for the Triple Bottom Line is good business practice as more and more businesses see the value of doing good. It seems increasingly unacceptable in the eyes of many consumers that businesses should only care about the economic outcome. Instead, the usual “bottom line = profit” should be replaced with the Triple Bottom Line (TBL): people, planet and profit. If a company does not account for its social and environmental impact, then it does not account for the full cost of doing business, according to John Elkington, who first introduced the TBL in 1994 (!). Research indicates that contributing towards the TBL is a win/win situation: In New Zealand two thirds of the workforce prefer to work for a company with strong values even if paid less. And further research suggests that there can be significant cost savings (up to 45 %) when switching to social procurement in order to grow social impact.

So where do you start if you want to grow your TBL? If you’d like some help in talking this through obligation-free I’d love to hear from you.

Here are five simple suggestions to get you started:

  1. Review your mission and values to reflect caring about your social and environmental impact as well as your economic impact.
  2. Consider substituting business (and personal) gifts with gift cards from The Good Registry which channels the whole gifting industry towards charitable trusts for a better tomorrow for all of us.
  3. Contact Akina to find out more about social impact. One way of growing your social impact is by reviewing your supply chain to include suppliers with social impact or in other words: social procurement. Fwd.org.nz is growing the social procurement movement in New Zealand. You’ll find a list of suppliers for social procurement on their website.
  4. Replace all your lighting with LEDs (if you haven’t already done so). For further suggestions, use the free assessment provided by the official NZ Climate Action Toolbox.
  5. Contact us to find out more about your environmental impact and get help in measuring your carbon emissions. We take pleasure in giving free initial advise to create a better tomorrow for all of us.

Let’s do some good today!

In “The Luck Factor” we have seen how a positive mindset or “feeling lucky” can not only alter how we perceive the world, but also how successful we might perform. The book “Peak Performance” shows that many of the practices that lead to great success are essentially the same regardless of the discipline. Brad Stulberg, a former McKinsey and Company consultant, and Steve Magness, a performance scientist, show evidence that the following practices (among others) have a proven high impact on results regardless whether it is in sport, arts or business. Some of these secrets of success you might already be aware of, but others will most certainly take you by surprise. In their book “Peak Performance” Stulberg and Magness coach their audience how to use these simple practices:

 

  1. Optimally alternating between periods of intense work and complete rest: 2 hour chunks of focused followed by a short rest (of up to 15 min) is best. Take days for recovery, great inspirations generally happen not during busy times.
  2. Setting up a good routine that is inducive of performing well (which might be slightly different for everybody). Good habits also have the added bonus that they free up mental capacity that would otherwise be needed to navigate through the work when routines are not in place.
  3. There is a direct correlation of sleep optimum and performance. Generally speaking, most of us don’t sleep enough, i.e. 6-7 hours when for most of us optimal are 7-8 hours.
  4. Regular meditation practice increases the ability of dealing with adversity significantly.
  5. Repetitive behaviour, ie eating the same meals and dressing in the same style, does free up other mental capacity (as very amusingly described in “The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion, T.H.). Stulberg and Magness point out how Steve Jobs used to and Mark Zuckerberg does seem to dress in very similar clothing.
  6. Socialising: Many of us will be pleased to hear that de-briefing in a social environment with friends or colleagues is beneficial for our performance rather than de-briefing on our own.
  7. Purpose: Evidence shows that people perform better and gain extra strength when working towards a common goal or for a specific valued purpose rather than for their own gratification.

 

I love how Stulberg and Magness give the latest scientific insights into the cognitive and neurochemical factors that drive performance. They got my attention when they challenged our habit of overworking by highlighting the benefits of regular breaks and the importance of letting your mind go into inspiration mode!

Recently I was lucky enough to attend a webinar with the Grow Good Guy, Tim Jones. If you ever get the chance to see him talk – take it! Tim introduced Professor Richard Wiseman, a widely published experimental psychologist. Professor Wiseman’s studies reveal that how to become more lucky in life is not something that happens to us, but something we create. There is a fundamental difference in the approach to life between people that feel lucky and people that feel unlucky, according to Wiseman’s research. Unlucky people generally believe in the power of fate and that building a happy life is out of their control. Lucky people in contrast generally work hard towards realizing their goals and ambitions and often succeed because of it. People that feel lucky are generally open to opportunities that present themselves along the way whereas “unlucky” people simply don’t see the opportunities right in front of their eyes. If people want to become more lucky in life, there are simple steps that they can take to start change their luck.

This became evident during an experiment, in which lucky and unlucky people passed the same bill boards and read the same magazines which advertised huge opportunities. The “lucky” people investigated the opportunities advertised whereas the “unlucky” people simple did not see them. Professor Wiseman concludes that “unlucky” people are generally fearful and anxious and this narrows our perception of the world so that we might miss many opportunities.

Take action today to keep your mind positive and open to opportunities! If you are endangered to go down the path of an apparently “unlucky” person, there several things you can do to become more lucky in life. According to Professor Wiseman, starting a diary to record all the things you could be grateful for can already change your perception of luck.

Taking the Growth Test is the first step in working smarter not harder. It also touches on sustainability, you will find more info about sustainable growth here. We understand that you might not wish to grow your business size-wise. But growing your profit margins without additional investment could be of high interest, or not? And if you can grow your social impact while reducing your environmental footprint at the same time – wow, wouldn’t that be an amazing outcome well worth pursuing?

People, Planet, Profit

Growing your positive impact on people, planet and profit is the area we can help you with. Because certain parameters have to be in place and working satisfactorily to enable your business to grow sustainably which means long-term. In fact, we could even go so far to say that revenue growth is almost inevitable if certain parameters are working well. Chances are, if you are interested in revenue growth, these pillars of business development are not working for you! It does not matter if you have been in business for 10+ years. What got you here, won’t get you there.

Growing sustainably

Take the Growth Test to find out whether your business has what it takes to grow revenue sustainably. Go ahead, it will only take 3 minutes! If you can answer all 10 growth questions with an honest and definite “yes”, then you will be well on your way to business success!

In any case, taking the growth test will give you a complete list of our top growth strategies and valuable marketing advice for business success in the months to come.

And if you still have difficulties to grow revenue after implementing the recommendations – we obviously need to talk! It won’t always be the lack of marketing function that prevents your revenue to grow (in the majority of cases it is though). We will do what it takes to get you in touch with the right people to enable revenue growth – and ultimately business success! It all starts with the Growth Test below, let the magic begin:

Take the Growth Test and receive a list of best practise sustainable growth strategies.

I love helping companies that want to create a sustainable future and care about our people. Like me, many customers – including your potential customers – want to engage with brands that have similar values.  There is really no other way of doing business if we want to build a liveable future! And hasn’t caring always been at the very core of our Kiwi DNA?

I started AO Growth Strategies in April 2020 during lockdown. Previously, I had clients all over New Zealand with Aotearoa Marketing Ltd involving a lot of travelling. I simply loved how we all embraced alternatives to business travel when COVID hit. The slogan “support local” really resonated with me and I started to specialise in Canterbury businesses that care about creating a sustainable future and enabling communities. In my own business, I have significantly reduced power usage, landfill waste and the amount of travel. The article “Contributing to the Triple Bottom Line” discusses ways to reduce your carbon footprint and show more social responsibility.

I am continually intrigued by the many companies in Christchurch and Canterbury that have found a clever way to contribute to a liveable and better future for all of us. Keep up the good work! I offer free consulting services to companies that follow sustainable business practice or are a social enterprise. All you have to do is to check eligibility and get in touch. This is my way of giving back to the community that has supported me for 20 years.

If you’d like to explore the triple bottom line (economic, environmental, social) – please do get in touch!

I’m part of a small, innovative group of marketers who represent a new way of doing marketing: growing your business strategically, not wasting money on tactical marketing with little impact. If you have any questions about strategic business planning for revenue growth, I would love to hear from you!

Since COVID-19 many businesses are facing uncertainty. Make sure you have the right strategy and structures in place to support long-term success.  I can help to rethink your strategy and to re-position your business in our current volatile market to help your business survive. I challenge you today to think strategically to enable long-term growth. I created this blog to assist and encourage you, to think strategically.

If you have already watched one of the videos on our website – you might have detected a slight accent. I’m from Germany and a large part of my experience is also in international marketing, market research and export strategies.

I hope the videos will inspire you to start thinking more strategically more often – let me know if it worked 😉

Or skip forward and contact me today. I look forward to be of service and to contribute to your success!