Context is a game-changer for sustainability professionals and for the businesses that they work with.

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If you’re wondering how sustainability is helping you to achieve your business goals, this article does a good job of identifying several “flavors” of sustainability efforts – from corporate social responsibility (CSR) to science and context based targets for sustainability to multiple capitals which have captured the attention of the financial world.

A more relevant focus for leaders should be on what are our goals in these efforts? Most analysis today is focused on risk mitigation – “risk to” achieving strategic goals. The author advocates a “risk from” perspective which looks at the strategy to determine whether it accelerates unsustainability and instability. Case studies of companies like Bosch and Unilever are instructive for those who are interested in advancing their sustainability programs. Focus for these companies is no longer reducing impacts (i.e. doing less harm) but on making positive contributions to sustain life on the planet.

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