“Space: the last frontier”, with these words, Jeff Bezos opened his graduation speech in 1982 in Miami, USA. At that time, Jeff was simply a student far away from being the visionary entrepreneur, everybody knows today. Indeed, his “Last Frontier” described the dream of saving humanity by establishing human colonies on orbiting stations and transforming the planet into a big nature reserve.
Summer 2021: while a group of people traveled to space in private companies rockets, fires and floods took place all over the world. Hence, this summer we have seen two opposite phenomena related to the earth: the civil conquest of space while the gap between our planet and the huge natural reserve grew.
This summer 2021, as part of my Executive MBA at Frankfurt School, I had the opportunity to take part in an elective course at Kedge Business School of Paris, “People, Planet & Profit”. The course is a deep dive into the real economy and the harsh reality of P&L that a manager uses to measure effectiveness, investments, and corporate strategies outlining the true costs of sustainability. Along with my colleagues, we tried to look up and understand better the core principles of sustainability, the planet, humankind, and how they are all related to make the earth a better place.
During the course, we comprised the financial value, the environmental value (expressed as the amount of renewable and non-renewable resources), and the social value (expressed as the direct value of human behaviors). We understood that the balance of these values could give reason to a sustainable idea over time. Sustainability is a way of thinking, and one of my favorites phrases is “I didn’t want us to fund charitable programmes to make ourselves feel or look good… we needed (and need) to change the way we made (and make) money – not just give away some of the money we earned “by Indra Nooyi – former CEO of PepsiCo.
Unfortunately, still too many businesses have nothing in common with (social) sustainability and ethics.
This is a bit of what I brought home from Paris and Kedge Business School. I now look at the sustainability report of my company and I am more confident of the targets and indicators that generally corporations use to achieve their sustainability goals. Second, I realized how the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations are pervasive within the contemporary economy although many peers do not know what they are. In this beautiful European summer, I understood the risk of inaction is dangerous behavior and all of us should believe and pushing for a more sustainable world through a sustainable lifestyle. I had some good examples around me…I will learn from them.
I’m happy to have the opportunity to be part of this course. We worked hard, we laughed, but the most important thing, we were all on the same page about the actions that need to be taken. We still have time to save our planet, but we must act quickly, let’s do it!