Author: James Downham, Vice Chair, National Zero Waste Council and CEO, PAC Global
The demands on leaders are different in today’s constantly evolving business environment.
Canadian business leaders must navigate an environment that is undergoing evolutionary and disruptive changes. The world is becoming increasingly digitized — new technologies resulting from evolving business models and practices have faded out sunset industries while feeding sunrise ones.
The global pandemic has compounded these challenges, awakening us to revelations of the fragility of global supply chains and disparities in access to the resources needed to adapt to disruption. Concurrent with this health crisis has been the emergence of a new reckoning of inclusion and diversity — in Canada, particularly, the need for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Meanwhile, the urgency for meaningful action to address climate change and biodiversity loss has become increasingly evident.
To face these challenges effectively, leaders must collaborate with important stakeholders to shape agile organizations that can embrace uncertainty while using design, innovation, and evidence to inform actions.
We can learn an important lesson in running effective businesses by turning to the natural environment: in nature, there is no such thing as waste. The new business paradigm is to create organizations that mimic living organisms as opposed to organizations that operate like machines. Organisms are part of interlocking and mutually dependent systems; byproducts from one organism can be used by another. In other words, nature demonstrates circularity. By striving towards collaborative, responsive action that thrives within a dynamic environment, organizational resources become flexible and adaptable in structures that empower staff to act consistent with a shared vision.
We also know that ecosystems and our communities are under substantial stress from climate change, biodiversity loss, and excessive pollution. Therefore, new solutions to the myriad of challenges facing business leaders must be regenerative — leaders need to identify and implement actions that renew or restore ecosystems and human communities, such as moving to circular solutions that reduce greenhouse gases, the extraction of virgin resources, and the creation of waste.
Which brings us full circle to this years’ Zero Waste Conference, hosted by Metro Vancouver in collaboration with the National Zero Waste Council. For the past eleven years, the conference has been at the forefront of innovation and creativity bringing together thought leaders that you won’t hear anywhere else – speakers who make connections between bold ideas yet to be considered and how to bring those big ideas down into the practical. Building from its’ overarching theme of zero waste, this years’ conference is no exception embracing the urgent call for regenerative leadership to achieve “A Future without Waste: regenerative and waste-free by design”.
Global and local thought leaders and change makers who demonstrate how these concepts can and are being applied across sectors will be there – will you? Register today to be a part of this important dialogue.