Little Things: Big Impact

I had a great week. As the sun is back in Barcelona today, and the week-end is so close, there are plenty of explanations behind my good mood. One of those explanations is definitely my lunch with Guy Bigwood, MCI Sustainability Director on Tuesday. Although my favourite soccer team has had a tough time on Wednesday, I had a fantastic evening with my friends on Thursday. Then, this morning, I read two very interesting articles that I’d like to share with you:

Can Green Building Save the Planet?

“That’s the question experts sought to answer at The Economist’s Intelligent Infrastructure conference held at Pace University, where principals of major architecture firms gathered to define green building and how it relates to their own urban designs.”

In the article, some of the architects share their vision of how we can build a more sustainable planet through green architecture. Among many great contributions, I particularly liked Llewelyn Davies Yeang chairman Ken Yeang’s idea that true green building is “a seamless integration of four eco-infrastructures”:

  • Gray” — engineering infrastructure. Energy, smart grid, IT, recycling, waste, transport.
  • Blue” — water infrastructure: “We need to close the loop as much as possible.”
  • Red” — human infrastructure. “We have to change as people. Our lifestyle has to change.”
  • Green” — green infrastructure. “We cannot see this because it’s invisible.” Nature’s utilities, habitats, biodiversity, ecological corridors.
  • I like this approach. It also reminds me how important it is to choose, not only the colours, but more importantly, the words carefully. Specially when talking about sustainability.

    This aspect  is particularly clear in the other article that I wanted to share:

    How to get your Board engaged in sustainability?

    Written by Sally Uren, a “Deputy person @forum4thefuture. On a mission to create a sustainable future” as mentioned on her Twitter account, this brilliant article gives very smart pieces of advice to sustainability practitioners. Among them, Sally mentions the importance of “Using the right language.” She writes:

    “Tailor your language to make the case as compelling as possible – use the language of business. So it’s ecosystem asset, not rainforest; it’s supply chain security, not running low on resources, for example.”

    I couldn’t agree more. Using the language of business and, even more importantly, adapting your vocabulary and style to the personality of your interlocutor is fundamental, specially when presenting sustainability to political and rational decision-makers, as described by Sally in her post. Those two types of personality styles are more likely to be found in a Board room than the emotional one. The ideal situation would be to have a good balance of those three styles in a Board room, individually or as a team. That’s why diversity is so important as discussed in a previous post.

    Well, in case you have to present some day a sustainability project in a Board room full of “emotional decision-makers” I can recommend the following video sent by my friend Gaelle, a brilliant manager at SAP. She has the right balance between emotional, rational and political decision-making styles, and she’s passionate about sustainability.

    Enjoy and have a wonderful (green or multicoloured) week-end!

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    About Frederic Page
    Learning & Development professional, based in Barcelona, Spain. Blogging about Corporate Sustainability and Social Responsibility.

    3 Responses to Little Things: Big Impact

    1. theglassblog says:

      A thought above green buildings by Ken Yeang. Nice post.

    2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Little Things: Big Impact « Aequology's Blog -- Topsy.com

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