2020 is closing and it surely has been a year of many ups and downs for everybody and certainly it has been a year like none before. Never before have the issues of well being and health been so present like in 2020.
However, we have also experienced how our own health is affecting the health of our economies. So, one might now ask the questions: How do we set the stage to get through 2021 in a healthier way? Since I believe companies are sustainable changemakers, one way to set the stage right for 2021 is to create a healthier company.
So where do we begin? A good way to create a healthier company is to take your employees at heart. Employee relationship building is the first step. Considering our staff as equals and treating them as peers is essential to create trust. A trust based relationship is the foundation of a healthy relationship. Taking your employees needs into consideration will make a great difference. Being empathetic will change the game. Ask your colleagues what their most pressing needs and worries are. See if you can sit together at a table and look for solutions together. This will create a great bond between yourselves.
Thinking of your employees health is another. Here we start certainly with all necessary COVID 19 measures and all that comes along with it, like home office etc. But let’s go a step further and talk about digital health. We need to be aware of the effects that working with digital instruments has on us and how digital communication affects our daily life. Taking a digital detox once in a while and creating spaces for your employees where they can come in contact with nature and connect with another source of energy.
Besides, healthy nutrition and physical exercise as well as emotional coaching should be on your priority list for 2021.
When we talk about a healthy company we will also talk about healthy products. When we talk about that, we mean eco friendly designs, circular materials that are non toxic. The circular economy is coming, and it is just a question whether you are ready for it or not. Regulations will change and slowly start a transition to the sole use of circular materials and processes. So you might want to have a circularity check up done for your business model or your strategies. When you are already having an established business then you can retrofit your company, and when you are just starting up, you can design a fully circular company from scratch.
2020 has also taught us how sensitive supply chains can be for companies as well as organisations and even households. Another great way to set the stage right for a healthier company in 2021 is to localize supply chains and also focus on human rights and ecological sustainability criteria when choosing your suppliers. As soon as you come to realize that your suppliers are maybe one of your most important partners you should start treating them like that and again be empathetic and treat them as peers. Collaborative value creation can bring many benefits with it and boost your productivity and create resilience.
But what is a healthy company if it wasn’t for its finances? In order to create healthier finances you can look for an ethical bank as your partner or choose to simply boost the health of your finances by increasing your equity share. Reinvesting back into your company, whether it means upgrading your assets by more sustainable ones, like solar panels or sustainable furniture or electrical car fleets or by simply holding more capital to be more crisis resilient, will all make a difference.
Last but not least, any element of a system can only be as healthy as the ecosystem it lives in. So in order to improve our company’s health, we need to improve our community’s health. This should ideally start at our doorstep. One great way to do so is to implement permaculture design and create useful relationships on a local level and boost your local economy. Investing in the people that surround us and being genuinely interested in their needs will create a healthier environment that is based on the principles of cooperation and solidarity and mutual trust.
So let’s set the stage right for 2021 and make way for health. So now you might wonder: How am I supposed to do that? Where do I start?
At Seeds For Sustainability we strongly believe that we need to manage our impact and measure it in order to succeed. One great tool to do so is the Common Good Balance Sheet. This tool allows you to manage your impact along the values of human dignity, solidarity, ecological sustainability and transparency and co-determination. So if you go thoroughly through our recommendations, you will notice that they are well inspired by the Common Good Balance Sheet. You just need to go through different stakeholder groups and aks yourself the question: How can I create healthier relationships with that specific stakeholder group?
Secondly, we are strong advocates of permaculture design. Permaculture Design was founded in the 1980s by Bill Mollision and David Holmgren. This design school aims at copying ecosystems and creating productive systems according to natural principles. With permaculture design you can create fully circular businesses, farms, households, cities or all kinds of organisations.
Have a healthy 2021!
Dr Philipp B. Schuster
Founder and Director of Seeds For Sustainability
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If you are keen on learning more about the Common Good Balance Sheet or Permaculture Design, you have come to the right place. Our permaculture course is open for enrollment all year round and you can study at your own pace. We have recorded materials, live tutorials, group work and a certification of your final design. Moreover, in January 2021 we will have two courses for the Common Good Balance Sheet, one English version that is taught at our school and one cooperation with our partners in Austria, the german version of the course. Enroll now and become the #EngineofChange.