"Sustaining Business Inside Out" - Interview with Willi Paul of PlanetShifter.com Magazine - by AmaliaLink.com
Amalia Link is excited to introduce Willi Paul, Director of Sustainable Business Development for CoolTribe.com and founder of PlanetShifter.com Magazine and online network. Along with being the author and Executive Producer of this online network and magazine, Willi is also a Green Business Certified Consultant and strategic vision planner, writer and program designer for environmental planning, and has been involved with civil engineering and non-profits for over 25 years.
In efforts to bring more awareness to our communities and clients about the topic of sustainability, Amalia Link interviewed Willi Paul to learn more about how sustainability applies to businesses and their internal operations. Enjoy our conversation and make sure to pass the knowledge along.
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Willi, how do you define Sustainability?
Many formal definitions are now placed, and most engineer the extension of stewardship to the production of goods and services and a holistic lifestyle; plan for the long term while caring for the human and natural ecosystem each day. But my vision is more than the triple bottom line and extends to alchemy and mythology. I understand that we live in the Sustainability Age and that the old songs and stories -- and myths -- are worn-out. Sustainability is now about creating other resources in support of conscious evolution on the planet.
For example, see these posts:
- "Green Symbols and Myth Making in the Sustainability Age" - GreenSource Knowledge Paper #7 - based on the Event Circle Interviews by Willi Paul
What is your definition of a triple bottom line approach?
Wikipedia.org’s definition is solid: “Triple bottom line accounting means expanding the traditional reporting framework to take into account ecological and social performance in addition to financial performance.” A forth bottom line should be added -a spiritual support system that reaches out to all humans and supports healthy growth. Indeed, one of my research questions since the launch of PlanetShifter.com on Earth Day last year is whether or not sustainability is like a new religion.
More on this potential forth “bottom line:”
What are some of the most common misconceptions about sustainability that you find among start-ups and small business owners?
That green drink night gets the job done. That by joining a sustainability list you are “active.” Trusting that green-washing is easy to hide. Sustainability starts with each of us and requires a daily commitment. We all need to carry the responsibility of nurturing the (global) neighborhood.
Concepts like supporting local business and localization are heard a lot in sustainability. How can one effectively support their local communities and take their sustainable business international?
I invite all newbies to the green thing to review:
- “The PlanetShifter.com Survival Guide to 2010: Curriculum Plans, Thought Leader Interviews and Big Green Ideas,” based on the Event Circle Interviews
Have you seen any growth in the number of small businesses who are committed to sustainable business practices internally?
Yes, the Bay Area, the program that certified me many years ago is back-logged to the Moon! Check out The Bay Area Green Business Program
How can you tell the difference between a company that is “marketing sustainability” and a company that is practicing sustainability within their internal operations?
Do an energy / waste / water audit, to start, if they will let you into the building!
What would you say most commonly inspires a business to have sustainable business practices?
A POV that places the health of the planet above profit.
What are some of the common values shared among businesses that want to practice sustainability?
Collaboration, peacefulness, a love of nature, a common spiritual path, and cultural integration.
What about a company’s employees? How important is it that they also share similar values about sustainability in business?
It’s critical that a base understanding or “community of practice” flower throughout the company. Training and evaluation are helpful in order to teach the founder’s perspective. And most certification programs will include employees and their roles in the evolving vision of the firm. A sustainable practice also includes the outside services that support the organization.
How important is innovation to a company that wants to be sustainable?
Critical. Innovation is a vision trek but also a defined process to collaborate and achieve a desired goal. Without risk, innovation is without teeth.
In your years of experience in the sustainability industry, what has been some of the most significant progress towards sustainability that you have seen made throughout the world?
Wow. There’s a book there! Certainly the rise of EarthDay as a global heart storm, recycling as a normal way of life, the Prius, the Smart Grid, and we will see what the BP oil spill brings to the energy debate ahead.
What are some practical examples of how small businesses can start implementing sustainability into their business operations?
I would recommend that the business apply for an established green certification program as a way to get up to speed and get certificated.
Amalia Link LLC extends their thanks and deepest appreciation to Willi Paul for his time and valuable knowledge that we can share with our communities through this interview with him. Make sure to visit Willi yourself at PlanetShifter.com and CoolTribe.com.
Please be in touch to let us know what you think of this same topic and how you would like to add to the conversation. Thank you for reading!
Amalia at AmaliaLink.com
2537 W. 27th Avenue
Denver, CO 80211