Leadership Tip of the Week: Sustainability

More than 50 years ago, an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 barrels of crude oil spilled along the Santa Barbara Channel. The spill, which lasted eight days, was due to a blowout at Union Oil (now Unocal). To date, it was the largest oil spill in the United States, and the mass environmental destruction it caused was staggering.

It was so staggering, in fact, that it led to myriad regulations and awareness campaigns. Perhaps most notably, the 1969 disaster prompted United States Senator Gaylord Nelson to found Earth Day. The impact of Nelson’s farsightedness and commitment to the environment set a new standard for environmentally conscious leadership.

In order to change our dependence on harmful chemicals and materials, all leaders must take sustainability seriously. From business leaders to community leaders to individuals who lead, a commitment to sustainable practices and innovation shows not only social responsibility but also foresight, strong decision making and the clarity of vision necessary to be an effective and respected leader.

On Earth Day 2019, leaders across the globe are committing to sustainable practices. As evidenced by recent initiatives, such as the Step Up Declaration, along with forward-thinking plans to reduce carbon emissions, companies are widely adopting sustainability practices, and they are doing so to their own benefit.

Not only do leaders across industry verticals find that sustainability is the right thing to do, it is becoming clearer that sustainability practices are also smart business decisions that take into account the long-term impacts of today’s decisions. It is in any company’s interest to use fewer resources to operate. Moreover, consumers want to work with environmentally responsible businesses. In a 2017 study, 63 percent of Americans surveyed said they want businesses they frequent to drive social and environmental change.

Find out more about how you can practice sustainable leadership today at the Earth Day Network.

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Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.