Sustainability in Light of Paris Accord Exit


In my recent conversations with clients, there has been a strong theme of having a “strategic guide post.”  A strategic guidepost is a central tenet (or tenets) that exists as the core of a company’s strategy and interaction across the company. This is not the mission – but an internal first principle.

For example, my friend, Greg Dynek of Bluestem Fiber referenced “The Power of Habit” and the role of safety for Alcoa as that strategic guidepost.  I have heard Kiewit say the same thing – safety is their guidepost. This safety focus is the company’s first principle and the guidepost for its actions – helping it to also improve efficiency, to innovate, and to build a better business.

This week the Harvard Business Review published a paper regarding sustainability.  It seems that some of the companies cited in the article are using sustainability as a strategic guidepost.  In light of the U.S. exit from the Paris Climate Accords, it is fascinating to consider businesses using sustainability as “the” guidepost. 

It is a fascinating read because it describes the affect of climate change – floods, droughts, etc., on businesses, and how these conditions have long-term negative effects because of the high variance of outcomes (both from disasters and in specific regions) and economic impact of natural disasters.  It is also fascinating because it goes beyond just agriculture or traditional places where environmental challenges have been traditionally discussed as fundamental business factors.

I encourage you to read the article and think about your own business.  Should your company have a specific, strategic guide post for sustainability, climate change, or social order in your company’s strategy?



Tom Chapman