Provisions for Compensatory Measures

It is astonishing that we certainly grasp these connections, but largely ignore them in our actions. Through our behavior, we are becoming irresponsibly indebted not only in financial terms, but above all to nature and our environment. If we add up these growth-related burdens and losses, including appropriate provisions for future compensatory measures, with the benefits we derive from the growth that can still be achieved, the profit and loss account looks frightening. Growth as an end in itself obviously does not pay off. Moreover, growth itself is finite and can only be continued to a very limited extent, but the traces left by growth up to that point remain.

Of course, a world population that will continue to grow and prosper until probably 2050 will demand more goods than it does today. While this increased demand will not be evident in the early industrialized countries, it will be all the more evident in the emerging economies. However, due to the limiting factors, it will simply no longer be possible to meet this demand in a reasonable manner and at affordable prices in the current form. With the not only economic but factual drying up of “proven” sources of energy and raw materials, and with increasing pollution of the atmosphere with CO2 from the burning of hydrocarbons from fossil fuels, and with increasing pressure on people to succeed, a rethink becomes inevitable. If we take time to reflect, we quickly realize that we are in fact placing quantitative economic growth above all other values: above satisfaction, above health, above the stability of nature and above freedom. Apparently, there is a lack of imagination for alternatives. The majority of business leaders and politicians stick to the growth course – often despite better insight. Embracing and publicly advocating a radically changed business model or social model entails high immediate and personal risks for those in positions of responsibility, which supersede – without eliminating – the much higher risks associated with avoiding a change of direction.

Here are critical questions you can use to stimulate thought in your organization.

  • What are the real costs of growth-related stress on nature?
  • What are the costs of overworked or even burned-out employees?
  • What are the costs of restoration and compensation efforts?
  • What is the impact of lateral damage on your image as an employer and as a supplier in the marketplace?
  • What would your income statement look like if you included proper provisions for damages due to non-sustainable actions?
  • How can you capitalize on sustainable operations?
  • How can you raise the awareness of your managers and colleagues for a responsible and sensible use of a limited nature?
  • What are the arguments for change in the specific context of your company (change process)?

Sustainable management is a necessity.


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