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Sustainability begins with a P

Sustainability begins with a P

Monday 06 July 2020

Sustainability begins with a P


Sustainability is key to seeing ourselves through the crisis - but that will never be achievable if first you don't take care of the 'three Ps'.

As we plan our economic recovery, Express is calling for your thoughts and views on how the island should rebuild itself.

What don't we want to go back to? And what opportunities really lie ahead?

Today, 4GroupCI MD Nigel Blandin shares his views...

"As all industries try to make sense of the coronavirus crisis and look to the future, one word that crops up again and again is 'sustainability'.

The Government is talking about it, industry bodies talk about it, environmentalists won’t stop going on about it… But how do we engage with the concept and navigate our way through and out of our current situation?

Using the old adage “Never waste a good crisis”, that’s how.

We all, as a society, must look back on this time with inquisitive eyes. How did we react, how did business screech to a halt? How, and more importantly, why, did we survive it or not? By considering these things we can plan a route out and forward. But we must not just return to where we were; our environment won’t sustain more of this.

Back to the interesting spelling. Sustainability isn’t a list or a set of rules to follow. Think of it more a as set of guidelines, a state of mind and it becomes more understandable.

P is for People

Is your business an employer of people? If so, they are your most significant asset. Don’t just use them; develop and nurture them. Encourage and listen to them. Sustainability is about the continued development of a business’s conscience. Build a collective ideology around your team – what do they want? How do they work towards common goals? I have spoken to many employers recently and the ones who have successfully navigated coronavirus so far have all allowed their staff to grow and flourish in an incredibly stressful atmosphere. Your staff want their jobs to be safe and secure, use this desire and consider how you operate.

The best manager is the one with the safely parked ego, the one who understands how it all works but accepts their team are better at their specific tasks. Together, establish a plan for the future of the business, their future. Establish how you will all change to meet the requirements of Planet Earth, not vice-versa.

P is for Perseverance…

Changing how you look at your business is not a 12-month project. It takes a long time, but without starting the journey you will not reach your goal. You will struggle, you will be told it won’t work. Stick to it and then when you are fed up with the whole idea, consider the alternatives.

If you, me and all business do not change how we operate as subsidiaries of Planet Earth Ltd, our parent will become broken and bankrupt. Unfortunately, there is no larger fish that will buy P.E.Ltd out of administration.

So, when you have considered that point, persevere and go back to the sustainability problem. Ask for help, talk to others in your situation – share information and ideas. It is one of my dreams that business will become less insular in thinking and start to share help and advice amongst each other. Especially somewhere like Jersey – why don’t we actually share more between ourselves? No matter what sector we are in, we have more in common than not.

P is for Profit…

It’s not a dirty word is it? Surely it is why we are in business? Well, yes, it is but I get the feeling that we have been measuring the wrong things everyone.

Profit isn’t just the bottom line on the page. Surely profit is not just money. It comes from the Latin profectus also meaning progress or achievement, so why don’t we look at how we progress to a better island? Why not strive to achieve a sustainable balance?

If your business is run purely to extract the most money each year, then fine. That’s your choice and I am surprised you have read this far. If, however, your business is “what you do”, if it is how you want to live, then cash profit isn’t the last word.

We all need to make a profit to continue. But we all need to enjoy and experience business in more subtle ways as well. I have been in business for 30 years this year and it has been an adventure, that’s for sure. Highs and lows, success and failure are all there. The last 3 months have been, without a doubt, some of the most interesting, challenging and profitable in all that time.

We made a financial loss, but it was minimised by the stellar efforts of our People. The changes within the business have been wide ranging and solid due to their Perseverance and the real Profit has been in the agreement between all of us to keep working with this ideology.

For Jersey to secure its future, we all need to look back and learn from the events of 2020. We need to understand the challenges of the next decades to ensure a planet that will sustain us – the alternative in not attractive."

READ MORE views on the next steps for Jersey's economy...

John Henwood: "Another year, another economic plan - this time make it work"

James Linder: "The 100 days that changed Jersey"

Dr Michael Oliver: "New ideas and some luck are urgently required" and "Jersey needs an 'enterprise tsar'"

Pierre Horsfall:  "The situation that Jersey is facing is without precedent in scale"

James Filleul: "Courage vs caution"

If you would like to share your thoughts on rebuilding the island's economy in the wake of the pandemic, e-mail 500 to 1,000 words to editor@bailiwickexpress.com.

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