Sandra Stewart | January 6, 2015
I somehow missed the memo about how everyone who can operate a keyboard should generate a list predicting 2015 trends that will disrupt, despoil or dimly affect our lives and businesses this year. Even bots got into the game—see the Guardian’s random prediction generator, which culls news headlines for prognostications from niche (“2015 will be the year of brandy”) to Onionesque (“2015 will be the year of incremental improvements in technology”).
Amid this torrent of listicles, it was the calls to action rather than the predictions that caught my eye—a nice illustration of one of our favorite tips (Want to stand out? Take a stand). These two, in particular, are worthy rallying cries for sustainable businesses:
Let 2015 be the year green businesses engage in policy fights
This article (a narrative, not a list!) by the American Sustainable Business Council’s Zach Bernstein points out the need for sustainable businesses to speak up about public policy and points out three upcoming opportunities to do so. Business voices carry extra weight with policy makers, so it’s essential that we support initiatives to build a sustainable economy and counter the progress-impeding nonsense spewed by dinosaurs like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Successes like the wave of benefit corporation laws passed across the country and the beating back of efforts to derail California’s climate change initiatives show that we can make a mark.
Prove everyone wrong
This item, from Fast Company’s The Top 10 Best Business Lessons of 2014, has particular resonance for sustainable businesses. How many of us have been told that what we’re doing won’t work, violates the tenets of market religion or doesn’t have a constituency? We were told that just recently about a major project we intend to pursue this year, and success will be all the sweeter with an “I told you so” on top.
Practically every great idea was initially rejected as stupid or impossible. And it’s true that many never make it to fruition—you need genuine insight, the capacity to execute, some luck and, of course, smart marketing. But my experience throughout my professional life is that people love to tell you why things won’t work. My lone personal addition to 2015 advice: look for people who will tell you how it can work, and then go for it.