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Our Future

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The four characteristics of humanism are curiosity, a free mind, belief in good taste, and belief in the human race. - E. M. Forster

The University of Pennsylvania has a student organization that just began an online sustainability publication called The Penn Sustainability Review (PSR). They focus on interviews around leadership, editorials, and academic papers, run by the students themselves. I had the pleasure to speak with them for an article in this review some time back.

I have to say that I was impressed with their questions. Clearly, they were interested in issues like career advice. But, they had some interesting questions as it relates to sustainability, and the professionals that practice it, as well. For instance, here’s a few of their questions (and answers from me).


 

MJ: Well, I would like us to continue what we have done in the past five years, while continuing to evolve it and push it forward. Also to increase the growing understanding that this is part of what FedEx does everyday- the role of connecting the world responsibly and resourcefully. I would like to continue to communicate – to the public and to the FedEx team – that it’s not just about fuel usage, but about allowing connections around the world to happen responsibly; bettering lives globally by connecting markets responsibly and efficiently.
 

 

MJ: I think it will continue to increase in importance, primarily because of the interconnectedness of markets and global commerce, but also because of resource demands. As the developing world continues to develop, the resource demands will increase. I think these forces will absolutely increase pressures for more sustainable organizations. I do fear companies falling into the trap, however, of simply using sustainability as a public relations strategy, as opposed to an actual core objective.
 

 

MJ: You don’t want to make a company what it’s not; you have to leverage the strengths and ethos you have already. For instance, GE created the Ecomagination program to merge their core business philosophy of innovation with sustainable and responsible business ideas. A company should integrate sustainable practices with their business mission.

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Comments (3) 

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Great question. We've been a member of an organization for more than a decade that looks to develop tools that organizations can use to better their environmental and sustainability efforts – Global Environmental Management Initiative. The tools are free to use, and can be found at http://www.gemi.org. There are some really good tools there, including water, supply chain, a map of future forces in sustainability, a guide to NGO partnerships, metrics navigator, among others. I encourage you to check them out to see if they can help. A good first stop when there is http://www.gemi.org/toolmatrix/. Why does FedEx participate? It gives us valuable insight as we work on the tools development. And, it allows FedEx to contribute to providing that learning to others, as well. All the best in your endeavors.

Remember to old saying, 'It's hard to remember that the objective was to drain the swamp, when you are up to your butt in alligators'. I believe that following environmental ideals leads to a positive impact on the bottomline, and,that sustainability is a path to efficiency and effective delivery of services. Is there a method for the vision and methods of sustainability to 'trickle' down from large, successful companies such as FedEx to a small, upstate community that wants to be better but is too busy fighting alligators? If yes, any help would be greatly appreciated.

FedEx has some wonderful plans for the future and I'm so exited for more volunteering!

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About This Blogger

Mitch discusses sustainability, governance and energy management.

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