Richard Stone has produced a provocative and important new documentary on nuclear power that was screened this week at the Sundance Film Festival. But as important as it is, Pandora’s Promise is a film that in its current configuration undermines itself.
From the Beard Foundation 2013 conference-planning meeting – the focus this year will be ‘appetite’ – to the screening last week at the Ford Foundation of A Place at the Table, the importance of food as central to a sustainable future is becoming ever clearer.
As Hurricane Sandy shifted the national conversation in the closing days of the U.S. 2012 presidential campaign, so too has the rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School interrupted the partisan machinations over government spending and taxation. As we look forward to 2013 and beyond we thus have a rare moment to reflect and observe that these issues share a common root: the respective roles of government and business to shape our future as people and as a national community.
As I prepare for meetings next week in London, and a presentation to Unilever, I wonder what I will be asked about the U.S. election – how to make sense of it. The explanations and interpretations are many.
Responding to a comment from Joe Nocera about Howard Schultz’s unique background, both as the company founder and a kid from Brooklyn who grew up in public housing, I reframed the question back to the link between organizational and leadership values – and perceptions of time.
Markets may well be the most finely tuned mechanism we have for allocating resources efficiently around short-term costs and prices. But absent a robust framework of social and cultural values and priorities to channel market operations these efficient markets will lead to vast inequity and depletion of critical resources.
In my closing remarks at the Sustainable Food Laboratory Summit I explained that I did not think sustainability was a goal, a metric, or even an approach to doing business. Rather, it is a principle. And it has at its core a fundamental rethinking of space and time.
When I began to unhook from SustainAbility in 2008, after 20+ years, to co-found Volans, Jonathan was working with the US end of SustainAbility — and sent the London end of the Volans team a large cardboard box of multi-colored felt rocks, which initially I couldn't make head nor tail of. I thought he was mad, or overly American.
But I have to say that, over time, those felt rocks have become a central feature of the Volans culture, thrown by team members at other team members (or guests) on the slightest provocation. That aside, he's a consummate professional, creative collaborator, skilled communicator, and keen intellect—and I am delighted both to have had Jonathan as a colleague and to now count him as a friend.
Founding Partner & Executive Chairman of Volans, Co-Founder & Non-Executive Member of the Board of SustainAbility