There have been many awakenings since, not least due to Al Gore’s Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, which came out in July. Add to that some stark warnings published by the World Meteorological Organisation in March of this year – highlighting rising sea levels, melting arctic ice and record high temperatures – and there’s no chance of global warming fatigue.
But why choose sustainability, asks Toby Robins? Legislation, finance or strong ethical beliefs? Does it even matter when a better planet is the net result?
There’s definitely plenty to take heart from. Increasing legislation across all sectors of the industry as well as technological advances mean that progress is being made, in terms of products as well as logistics and the wider supply chain. A look at the news pages and our features on green transportation, eco-friendly facilities supplies and the broad paper category aptly illustrate that.
Challenges remain and victories are often counterbalanced by inefficiencies, both from a product as well as a services point of view. A can-do attitude is vital, Commercial Group’s Simone Hindmarch-Bye highlights in our Big Interview, as is the realisation that there’s no definitive end game – both the goals and the goalposts in sustainability terms are constantly moving.
The meaning of sustainability itself has changed beyond recognition over the years. Never has this been made more clear to me than during my chat with Hindmarch-Bye. Her company is one that exudes sustainability or, as she puts it, "social responsibility". Behind it all is a deeply engrained moral compass and the desire to "do the right thing".