We have to take responsibility for what we make, from birth to death and then beyond death, back to re-birth, what the architect, designer, and author Bill McDonough calls “cradle to cradle.”‘Let My People Go Surfing’, by Yvon Chouinard, page 115
7 Thoughts On Sustainable Business
There are alot of great take-aways from this book, but here are seven that resonated with me:
Take what your High School Guidance Counselor tells you with a grain of salt. Kristine McDivitt Tompkins’ parents were told by her guidance counselor that she should not even bother with college. Maybe her Guidance Counselor was right - maybe college is largely a waste of time and money - because Kristine went on to become a hugely successful General Manager and CEO of Patagonia, and ultimately ended-up in charge of over a 2 million acre preserve in South America.
Fast corporate growth can be a problem if growth is outside the realm of sustainable. On page 67: ‘We failed to provide the proper training for the new company leaders…’. On page 68: ‘Organization charts looked like the Sunday crossword puzzle and were issued almost as frequently.’ On page 77: ‘With a controlled growth rate of about 5 percent a year we have not only profited from our work but also received many awards for our business priorities.’
The Iroquois People have a person in their tribe that represents the 7th generation of their people. Any decisions the tribe makes must pass muster with this elder, whose focus is 7 generations down the line! Patagonia now operates with a 100 year business plan. I want to apply this concept to my own family decision making and financial planning.
In Falconry (not in English parlance), there is a term call ‘Yarak’, which refers to the state of a falcon when it is hungry and alert and ready to hunt. Indeed, the author says on page 113: ‘Maintaining a sense of urgency throughout a company is one of the most difficult challenges in business.’
Weigh quality first against on-time delivery and low-cost. If you can’t have all three simultaneousy, which of the three do YOU prioritize?
On page 195: ‘According to the National Geographic, it takes eight barrels of oil to produce one cow.’ Holy cow, what?
On page 246: ‘…as David Brower put it, “there’s no business to be done on a dead planet.”’ Of course, the Iroquois knew this long before we showed up in the Americas.
podcast career goals professional growth continuous learning farming farms cows land management sustainability eco-consciousness biodiversity monoculture surfing climbing backpacking hiking kayaking pitons carabiners patagonia chouinard equipment yvon chouinard dirtbag cradle-to-cradle