Thu | Jan 24, 2019

Earth Today | The marriage of people, purpose, planet

Published:Thursday | June 28, 2018 | 12:00 AMPetre Williams-Raynor/ Contributing editor
Eleanor Jones

RESPECTED INDUSTRY player Eleanor Jones recently pressed home her argument for a refocus on a re-imagined triple bottom line, championing 'purpose, people and planet' in organisation development.

"An accelerated rate of change requires heightened sensitivity to issues around development that is sustainable - from a change in conversation regarding environmental quality objectives to upstream consideration of environmental risk in decision-making (and) public health as a key consideration for people," she said.

She was addressing her audience at the organisation development transformation conference, hosted by the Caribbean Centre for Organisation Development Excellence in Kingston last week.

Jones, managing director and consulting principal of Environmental Solutions Limited, is an environment and development specialist.

"There is no 'planet B'. Wealth creation requires a healthy population and sustainable ecosystem services," she added.


No time to tarry


With what she described as "the overwhelming pace of change in several realms," Jones, also a member of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, said there is no time to tarry.

"Climate shifts are real; the age of unpredictability is happening now. Climate change is the single greatest threat to the global economy, according to the World Economic Forum. There are extreme events with unprecedented levels of damage, loss and destruction, while health is under siege and there is waste generation by a burgeoning population," she noted.

Ahead of the conference last week, Jones, who said the response from industry to current environmental realities required a coordinated and proactive approach, in the interest of sustainability, told The Gleaner that the conference theme, 'Organisation Development Impacting Our World, Triple Bottom Line: Purpose, People and Planet', was timely.

"We need to bring environmental considerations into the mainstream as a business and as a development issue and as a planning issue. I see so much happening around. We are at the beginning of the hurricane season, but it is not just hurricanes," she said.

"We see volcanoes erupting, we are seeing earthquakes happening. You could say that the planet is striking back. Here in our little island we don't have volcanoes, but we certainly have the threat of earthquakes. We also have fires, etc. So risk is really what we need to be concerned about, and I am looking at environmental risk," she added.

The three-day conference, which ran from June 20 to 22, attracted members of industry who came together to share on a variety of issues around 'purpose, people and planet'.

Day one looked at the theme 'Purpose & Benefits of Organisation Development - Organisation Change, Leadership, Sustainability Effectiveness and Growth'. Day two explored 'People and Planet: Sustainability, Engagement Talent, Management, Leadership and Corporate Effectiveness'. Day three focused on 'Latest Trends in Organisation Development'.

The triple bottom line is a concept developed by John Elkington and is characterised by three dimensions of performance, notably 'the social, the environmental and the financial', otherwise called 'people, planet and profit', and is regarded as perhaps one answer to the struggle, for example, of environmentalists to quantify sustainability.

With the diversity in the measurement of the three dimensions, it is seen as providing organisations with the flexibility to apply the concept in a manner suitable to their particular needs, even bearing in mind the challenges that may come with working through precise indicators for evaluating the sustainability of programmes, projects or organisations.