Sustainability Myths

Picasso’s 1950 She Goat in the Paris Picasso Museum looks like a goat but it really isn’t. Its made of all sorts of stuff including flower pots and baskets and assorted detritus. We use this as a metaphor for sustainability. Much is claimed to be sustainable; and much is claimed about sustainability that really isn’t. It looks like it on the surface, and looks cute, but actually it’s a load of junk! Here are some common sustainability myths.

Sustainable development is too expensive; we can’t afford it  This used to be said about quality; Toyota showed the world this was wrong. Now they are leading the motor industry on sustainable development. Maybe they are wrong; then again….!
Consumers don’t care about sustainability  Wholefoods Market is committed to sustainable development; it is the fastest growing supermarket chain on the planet. Wal-Mart has just embraced sustainability at the core of its business strategy for the 21st century. The world’s largest company is betting that consumers do care.
There is no agreement on whether global warming is really happening, and even if it is, new technological developments will solve it  There is complete scientific consensus that global warming is for real, and alarm that it is escalating far quicker than scientists had anticipated. We already have the scientific means to solve it, but lack the leadership and political will.
The duty of companies is to maximise returns to shareholders so long as they remain within the law, so money spent on sustainability is anti-capitalist  Sustainable development is consistent with the need to maximise long term returns to shareholders through cost and risk minimisation, opportunity identification and staff and consumer engagement