For the past year, I’ve been hist by two keywords: innovation and sustainability.
It’s hard not to notice the deliberate attempt by many organizations to tie the two concepts into their marketing, strategic planning and advertising.
BMW says it is “preparing for a Hydrogen future” with “pie-in-the-sky, what-if technology.” Honda has invested in a solar cell company. BP is into bio-fuels. But it’s not just consumer brands that are onto it. The city of Phoenix has a “sustainability blueprint. Tucson has a volunteer-led “Sustainable Tucson” network.
The city of London has a Sustainable Development Commission, promoting community-friendly policies for climate change, education and energy.
It’s tricky to balance growth and sustainability –and getting buy in. At ASU, we wrestle with this all the time. The Global Institute of Sustainability, a block from where I work, does a fine job of defining what it involves, and applying it. Here at the Decision Theater, we actually show organizations what sustainability means by taking their data, and putting it into interactive visualization.
So every time I see ads like the one about building cars out of straw (Toyota) or the Land Rover‘s paying for carbon credits on behalf of the customer, I realize many are only scratching the surface. Once you see how small decisions can change the air quality, water table or traffic patterns in your immediate locale, you’ll see that wearing an eco label requires you to do more than build a neat micro-site, or shooting a great commercial.