How can sustainability become a profitable source of innovation? And how can we go beyond economic and environmental sustainability to achieve social sustainability through individually flourishing lives? Those were some of the main themes of Drucker Day 2012, an all-day gathering I attended on November 10th at the Drucker-Ito School at the Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, Calif. The event (which I also wrote about last year) serves many purposes: as a tribute to Peter Drucker, a coming together of alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the school for fellowship, food and networking; and to examine challenging topics of importance in business and society. This year included a panel presentation on sustainability in Costa Rica, with Gabriela Llobet, general director of Cinde; Roberto Mata, CEO of the carbon-neutral coffee cooperative Coopedota; and Carmen Irene Alas, who is based in El Salvador, as the Chief Editor of the magazine Estrategia y Negocios.
Jeremy Hunter, an assistant professor at the Drucker School whom I wrote about in the recent post Mindfulness at Work (and Beyond), was featured in two sessions. The first, Re-envisioning Sustainable Business: From Cost Advantage to Flourishing; was in the morning for the entire group, presented with Chris Laszlo, a visiting professor at Drucker who is based at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland. (I also enjoyed Laszlo’s afternoon breakout session The Sustainability Frontier: Embedding Sustainability into Strategy for Competitive Advantage, with Drucker School professor Vijay Sathe, who also moderated the Costa Rica panel.)
Jeremy led a participatory afternoon breakout session, Cultivating Your Resources: Building Resilience from the Inside Out. The idea was that living in today’s hyper-connected, perpetually busy world has given many of us stress levels that are too high, producing unsustainable lifestyles that are potentially harmful to social sustainability. He led our group in a brief meditation, while we remained in our seats in the classroom. It was structured around ways to discover internal resources (such as positive experiences, favorite places or pieces of music) and external ones, such as “values, beliefs and experience that sustain and nourish you.” The act of briefly thinking deeply about, and paying attention to one of these resources produced positive changes in both body and mind for many of us. Of course, most of us won’t have Jeremy to personally guide our future meditations. As with sustainability, it is up to us to put it into practice.