New Bottom Line Volume 7.1 – A Sustainability Cookbook

Jan 13, 1998

A client recently asked me, “Isn’t there some kind of ‘cookbook’ for making a company sustainable.” My first reaction: “Not yet. It’s all too new. No one is there yet, or even close.” My second reaction: “It’s not possible anyway, since circumstances are so varied.”

Once I finally realized “This is something this client needs, or certainly wants, so I’d best not dismiss too hastily,” I got to thinking: “Maybe that’s not such a bad idea after all. We may not know enough to write the cookbook, but perhaps we can outline it.” So bear with me this week as I take a first stab at the 750 word version.

It seems one could approach this challenge in three phases. (Like the other lists in this article, the sequence may not be critical.) What you need to know. What you need to do. How you might proceed to do it.

What you need to know:

What you need to do:

How you might do it:

That’s one possible outline of a sustainability cookbook. You know how it is with cookbooks: for any dish you might imagine, there are dozens of recipes, many of them claiming to be the “only right way.” On the other hand, great chefs, like great jazz musicians, often treat a recipe as a starting point for improvisation, with sometimes transcendent results.

If there’s interest, I’ll attempt to flesh out this outline over coming months. And I’d welcome your input and suggestions: what should be included in a “sustainability cookbook? what not? have you seen one (or pieces of one) that fits the bill?

(c) 1998 Gil Friend. All rights reserved.

New Bottom Line is published periodically by Natural Logic, offering decision support software and strategic consulting that help companies and communities prosper by embedding the laws of nature at the heart of enterprise.

Gil Friend, systems ecologist and business strategist, is President and CEO of Natural Logic, Inc.

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