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New Year resolution for business has to be sustainability

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While the dawn of a new year is good time for warm fuzzy feelings, given the global challenges we face today, it is also a time to ask some hard questions. After all ‘resolutions’ have always been the tradition to uphold as a new year comes along and so we need to take a good hard look at ourselves and our activities and decide if there is a need for us to change for the better (hint: the answer is almost always yes!). Firstly, ask yourself, how can my lifestyle be more responsible and responsive to the ‘alarming’ depletion of nature’s resources (even if I can economically afford it)? It has been projected that gas, copper and zinc are expected to enter production decline within the next 20 years, while coal, iron and aluminium would do so during the present century. Surely if you are able to afford BMWs and Porsches, you should be able to spend a little more on hybrid sportsters and non-gas guzzlers. The same goes for your electricity consumption at home – turning off the tap, using screen savers, shutting off the lights and opening the window can go a long way when resource depletion is collectively seen as needing action at the individual micro level. This goes for your business as well and so the next question you ask should be – how can my business do the same? Yet instead of wondering how your value chain can only ‘reduce’ consumption at each level, use a ground zero approach and consider innovating production processes and other solutions to completely eliminate the need for non-renewable resources, and which will also be even more cost efficient than their wasteful counterpart. If businesses see resource depletion as an opportunity for radical solutions, the market should eventually rid itself of this worsening problem. Change is crucially required and making these changes collectively is only possible if we can scale down our hunger for more and more wealth – for the greater good. There must be significant sacrifices made in order to ensure that we leave the world in a better condition than when we received it. If those of us who have an abundance of GEMs (Greed, Ego and Materialism) can ‘prune’ it, the world will be a better place.

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