Over the past few weeks I've been asking some of those tasked with leading the corporate green agenda what the word 'sustainability' really means. It's a term so overused and muddied that I was curious to put some feelers out there, in an informal way, away from the rhetoric and spin. It sounded a simple enough question really.
Anyhow, take a look. These were some of my favourite replies:
"God only knows, but it keeps me awake at night"
"It's an aspiration, a utopia. Will we ever reach true sustainability? I don't know. But it will hopefully make business more accountable along the way"
"It's meaningful, but it's also greenwash. My job is to make it mean something"
"It's not understood by many of our competitors. It should be turning their business models upside down. How can you strive for zero environmental impact while wanting to grow and continually profit?"
"My kids ask me that question and I obviously haven't come up with a good enough answer because they keep asking"
"Well today it means one thing, tomorrow it means another. It's confusing and open to interpretation. And it all depends where your measuring stick, or baseline, is"
"I'd like to think it's a spiritual journey. You can't win this by making a business case for it. It has to come from the heart."
(laughs nervously) "You're not recording this, are you?"
I guess there’s still a long way to go on this one.