Our view regarding sustainability and business goes beyond the law. Our planet is under pressure and therefore action is required, even when not all information is at hand. We build knowledge and skills in cooperation with our customers, and we hope and believe that it has a positive impact on the planet, for our customer and for us.
Beneficial for the planet
Not only does the business world need to reduce its impact on the environment, on ecosystems and on social systems, it also needs to take an active role in restoring and healing all the life-sustaining systems that are a prerequisite for our existence on Earth.
In Swedish we call it Planetnytta, a play of words combining the terms “planet” and “benefit”.
Much of the sustainability work undertaken in companies today is aimed at reducing footprints and thereby being “less bad”. We find this to be too unambitious. The vision should be to do good, to make a positive contribution. That means to be planetnyttig.
In order for companies to be good for the globe, its impact must be analysed on the basis of the entire value chain, meaning both its own operations and its effects upstream and downstream. This includes stakeholders, business partners, customers and the surrounding community. A framework for defining planetary utility is Kate Raworth’s model for a safe and fair development path for humanity on Earth, combined with the Planetary Boundaries model developed by Johan Rockström, among others. This means that a company must keep within these limits, both socially and planetarily.
To determine its planetary impact, a zero state must first be determined and negative and positive effects measured. Often the focus is on negative effects, but in order to investigate a company’s net impact, the positive effects must also be measured. A “planet beneficial” analysis will show the most important areas, whether it be around metals, water, child labor, work environment, or chemicals.
“Planetnytta” is a long-term vision and no quick fix. One does not achieve it by applying “business as usual” a bit harder. Instead, reassessments, new business models, innovations, new markets, new stakeholders, new partners, and new leadership is required. It means completely new thinking. Concepts and models such as cradle to cradle, dematerialization, fossil-free products, circular economics, biomimicry and multifunctionality are tools along the way. Above all, it requires a courageous decision – to decide that it is the right way, even if at the starting point it is unclear how to go about it. It is always the vision that drives the actions – not the other way around.
An example of “planetnytta” is to plant more forest than is used by the company, to contribute to more clean water than the company uses, to produce more renewable energy than it consumes, to create more biodiversity than it claims. Not only ensuring it is not engaged in corruption or paying reasonable wages, but helping create positive effects in local communities where the company or its supplier are in business.
We will gladly help make Planetnytta a vision in your company!
Catalyst for Good Business
U&We is a consultancy agency for companies and organizations that want to contribute to a sustainable future. We want to be a partner and leverage for sustainability, and we know that sustainability issues can be business driven. Our slogan Catalyst for Good Business stands for our work method: to catalyse business into performing well both sustainably and economically, in relation to the planet and to people.
We do this by working with organisations and companies willing to change and who can be role models and catalysts for others within the same industry: its customers and suppliers. We are driven by a willingness to help save the planet. In order to do that, we need to be many who dig where we stand and do what we can according to our specific conditions and opportunities.
Knowledge = Facts + Values
We believe that knowledge is a sum of both facts and values. Together with a vision of the future one has all the necessary tools – a map, a compass and a destination – to navigate the sustainability work.
Furthermore, facts are not static. Science change over time, and in anticipation of the definitive answer, it may suddenly be too late to act. Therefore, it is important to dare to act on the basis of current knowledge with a clear vision that draws one towards the future. This is a constantly changing game with adjusting tools and actions as facts and knowledge develop.
Collaboration & Knowledge Transfer
We believe that collaboration is needed to create companies and organizations that not only reduce their impact on the environment and social systems, but also help restore and develop the ecological systems that maintain life-sustaining conditions for human existence.
We are continuously learning more and pass it on to our customers and partners to drive the work forward. Knowledge does not stand still and needs to be constantly updated with new research. We are very dedicated to science.
To us it means to live as we learn. Our own sustainability work is governed by our management system that is certified according to ISO 14001 and ISO 9001. You can read more about our internal work here.
December 13, 2017