#56 | How to Lead Sustainably? With Trista Bridges

Join us today for an exclusive episode with Trista Bridges, co-author of  “Leading Sustainably” on the importance and challenges of driving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across sectors. 

Sustainability takes a team effort: governments need to guide policy systems; businesses must take responsibility for their operations, and society can encourage actors that lead the transition. 

Trista shares critical insights on how companies are changing their operations to assess their planetary impact and include sustainability considerations, as well as the many barriers that remain against achieving the global SDGs, such as the conflicting needs of companies with low levels of development. 

Tune in the full episode & share your impressions with us afterwards!

What you’ll learn: 

●      What the role of different economic and social actors is in driving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);

●      Why we may not achieve the SDGs but, also, what improvements can be seen across different sectors; 

●      Why and how companies can use sustainability certifications to their benefit;

●      And much more!

Timecodes:

00:52 Introducing Trista Bridges

04:45 Do businesses integrate sustainability into their operations?

07:20 Studies about the incorporation of SDGs

11:35 Is it possible to achieve SDGs now?

15:56 Who is responsible for implementing SDGs

21:20 About the book “Leading Sustainably”

27:45 About certification companies

34:00 About H&M and other companies that are trying to change their model

42:20 Millenials prefer companies with mission and values

45:55 Sustainability is science or art?

50:30 A piece of advice from Trista

Books & other resources mentioned:

Company website: Read the Air

Book: Leading sustainably: The path to sustainable business and how the SDGs’ changed everything, by Trista Bridges and Donald Eubank

Quotes of the guest

The government really needs to be there to help business become a better actor. (…) Countries often don’t hit these goals without cooperation and engagement of businesses. It’s nearly impossible because they have such an impact on all of our lives.

Even if developed countries do everything right, we’re a small part of the world, and we have to make sure people in other parts can have growth and decent lives without doing things that are detrimental to the planet and to society. And that’s a really hard sell because many of our countries, developed nations, didn’t get wealthy without doing detrimental things to society and the environment. And now we have to tell these countries “You have to do better“ and they say “How do we do better?“ when we haven’t even figured it out ourselves.

If one company changes, that’s great, but if an industry changes, that’s much better. To have real change, we need to make sure there are industry-wide initiatives (…) and that people are really looking at this as a competitive advantage. To think: “if I have a sustainable business, I’m going to win in some capacity in the long run”. 

One piece of advice: 

In a business context, it is not enough to discuss sustainability issues, or the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) specifically.

If the conversation is introduced too late, i.e. after the business strategy has been fully developed, or even implemented, it will become more difficult to incorporate sustainability in the operations. Instead, business leaders must embed sustainability considerations in the business planning process.

To influence the business model, sustainability needs to be present from the very beginning and become a priority for the overall company strategy.

This includes spreading this mindset beyond CSR departments and executive boards to every single employee.