Sustainability: Seeking Calm After the Storm

October 20, 2022 | What's Hot | 4 min read

Three years ago, I started writing a weekly series for my global marketing team at Skillsoft. These “ Monday Moments” were an informal way to share company news, business tips, or introduce new learning solutions. As time went on, I realized I also wanted to keep it "real.” Because, while we’re all professionals, and we’re all working hard, we’re people first and foremost. And we share more than just our work.

We share our planet.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about our collective heartbreak over the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ian and Super Typhoon Noru. In the case of Ian, parts of the southeastern United States have been all but destroyed, while other territories and countries have also been ravaged. The economic cost of Ian in Florida alone is predicted to surpass $100 billion. Meanwhile, Noru hit “super typhoon” strength in less than six hours, before many communities in the Philippines and Vietnam had time to prepare.

Neither storm should have become as severe as it did, and so quickly. And, as debate heats up about whether officials should have warned residents sooner, it's becoming increasingly clear that future storms promise to be stronger, wetter, faster, and harder to predict and track as climate change barrels ahead.

The fact is, we know our planet is at a tipping point — and the severity of recent weather is just one major consequence. I believe we all have a part to play in helping to address what is clearly a global climate problem of epic proportions. As business leaders, our role cannot be underestimated.

Organizations across the globe are developing sustainability strategies to help reduce their carbon footprint — and rightfully so. But, if your strategy starts and stops with addressing your organization's impact on the climate, you're indulging in "eye of the storm" thinking: the deceptive moment of calm we all feel when we're "doing the right thing." As Emma Cox, Global Climate Leader for PwC, has said:

"Business leaders who have been working hard to decarbonize their operations may be surprised to hear that they may have climate risk blind spots. If they have not considered the ways a changing climate could impact their business, they could be failing to see big risks. And the impacts are coming sooner than many leaders think. In fact, they are already here."

It's one of the reasons I raised my hand to support Skillsoft's new Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) strategy program. I've always been open about the fact that I want to work for an organization where corporate values align with my own personal beliefs. A company where we can have purpose and profits. A place where employees behave ethically and act responsibly towards people and the planet we share. I'm grateful to have found this at Skillsoft.

In a few weeks, we’ll deliver our first full ESG Impact Report, which demonstrates progress against the journey we’ve been on. Most companies have embarked on some sort of strategy — often driven by their leadership, their Board, or their customers. Building on the knowledge that creating a sustainable business should be approached holistically, ESG covers everything from supplier diversity to social impact programs to corporate ethics and stewardship.

Now, this is new and uncharted territory for many of us; we’re building our own program, which is both challenging and invigorating. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn something new and help the company build an initiative that achieves three important goals:

  • It aligns with our purpose.
  • It helps us meet growing customer demand.
  • And, it's the right thing to do for ourselves, each other, and the greater community we all belong to.

We’re also in a position to make a difference by being part of the World Economic Forum's Reskilling Revolution, whose mission is to advance prosperous, inclusive, and equitable economies by preparing one billion people for tomorrow's economy. Through their research, the WEF has found that $1 spent to advance the global energy transition returns $3-8. And, studies also show that clean energy infrastructure construction generates twice as many jobs per $1 million spent as fossil fuel projects. Talk about direct impacts.

As they say, "there is no Planet B." If you're looking for ways to make holistic sustainability your "Plan A,” we can help.

I encourage you to visit Skillsoft Percipio and sample some of the valuable content we offer on sustainability. Take some time to watch the video The Impact of Ignoring Sustainability; read the book Managing Sustainability: First Steps to First Class; or listen to the audio summary, The Power of Sustainable Thinking. Or, to really get engaged with this important topic, join me in completing the Aspire Journey Sustainability and Restoring Our Earth Aspire Journey.

One last note. If you or your loved ones have experienced loss because of the recent storms, my heart goes out to you. As these events have shown, we’re all in this together. And together, we can work to effect change and build a better, more responsible future for all people — and our planet.

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