Leaders give voice to the power of partnerships

Collaboration runs through the sustainability movement like a sinew that not only holds it together, but also gives it its strength. And with good reason. In many ways, the sustainability movement exists today in response to the lack of collaboration in the past, especially on the part of businesses. Blindly following the credo (often attributed to Milton Friedman) that “the business of business is business” did immeasurable damage to whatever lay outside a company’s immediate scope of concern.

This gave rise to the multiplicity of NGOs who stood up to defend and give voice to those under-represented elements, be they environmental, social or other. These have suffered as a result of what Kevin Rabinovitch, global VP of sustainability at Mars, referred to at GreenBiz 18 last week as “failures of collective governance.”

We’ve seen all too clearly in the political sphere how tapping into frustration and identifying a common enemy effectively can build support for an individual or an organization. But any organization that draws it strength from anger will resist sitting down with an adversary to solve the complex problems behind the conflict.