Because incrementalism didn’t get us to the moon.

Here’s the problem: The “best efforts” from business, government and NGO “sustainability” initiatives merely mitigate the problem, make things less bad, and slow the rate of decline of the regenerative capacity of the living systems that sustain human culture and economy.

That’s not good enough to win the race to sustainability — and beyond.

Declaration of Leadership This Declaration of Leadership challenges already good companies, developers, designers and public authorities to even higher levels of thinking, aspiration and performance — to move beyond slowing our decline, to invent and implement the ways to win the race to sustainability.Every phrase in it could be further explained, justified, specified, and exampled. But those details aren’t what we’ve lacked. We’ve lacked the will to face reality, tell the truth about what we see, and do what we know needs to be done.

Face reality

We hope you’ll use this Declaration to stimulate fruitful discussions about whether your company is taking the challenge and the opportunity seriously-and creatively-enough.

Take action!

Gain the advantage natural logic can give you.


It was a sold out crowd at the Commonwealth Club last night for my talk
on ‘Business and Sustainability: Risk, Fiduciary Responsibility and the
Laws of Nature.’ (See the summary below.)

I used the occasion to present the Sustainable Business – Declaration
of Leadership that I wrote recently (thanks to the sponsorship of StopWaste.Org).
You can download the 50k PDF here. Check back next week for
downloadable audio (it needs a little editing first – any suggestions
of Macish audio editing software?), a for large format poster

Declaration of Leadership
Here’s the Declaration (thanks, Joel,
for prodding me to post this):

Sustainable Business – A Declaration of Leadership


  • the well being of our economy fundamentally depends on the services from nature that support it,

  • business activity has a profound impact on the ability of nature to sustainably provide those services,

  • we are committed, as business and community leaders, to the well being
    of both economic and ecological systems, of both humans and other
    living things,

  • we believe that these goals are
    compatible (and where they seem to be incompatible, we are committed to
    finding better ways to do business that make them compatible).

    We envision our company, suppliers and customers, and our community doing business in ways that:

  • preserve, protect and ultimately enhance the living systems — of this
    region, and the planet — that sustain our business and the larger
    human economy

  • provide ever greater value in meeting the real needs of our customers, suppliers and communities

  • meet human needs in the most efficient and economical means possible, in order to include the greatest percentage of humanity.

    To do this we will:

  • consider the requirements of the earth’s living systems in all design and operating decisions

  • not take more from the earth that it can sustainably provide

  • not provide to the earth more than it can sustainably absorb

  • analyze the life cycle operating costs and impacts of our facilities,
    operations and products/services, as well as their initial costs

  • work to eliminate “waste” of all kinds from our operations, and to find
    safe, productive uses for any “non-product” that we are not yet able to

  • treat employees, customers, suppliers and stakeholders fairly, honestly and respectfully

  • take responsibility for the safety of our products/services in their intended use

  • take responsibility for the safety of our activities for employees and communities

  • take responsibility for the safe “end of life” recovery and reuse or recycling or our products

  • design our facilities, operations and products/services to be ever more
    efficient, ever less dependent on materials and activities that poison,
    degrade or encroach on living systems, and ever more supportive of
    these approaches

  • do all these in a way that supports our economic well-being, and the economic well-being of those who depend on us

    We will measure our progress by the trends of our

  • resource productivity [unit of benefit provided per unit of resource used]

  • “non-product” output [amounts & toxicity of “unsalable” materials and chemicals]

  • net carbon emissions [production of climate changing greenhouse gasses]

  • ecological footprint [demand on earth’s regenerative capacity]

  • profit, both near and long term

    We will pursue these steps with a commitment to

  • future generations

  • continuous improvement

  • open dialogue with our customers, stockholders, suppliers, and communities

  • Spread the love