~ Submitted by Sue Swanson
The Middlesex 3 Coalition is perhaps best known for its effort to improve transportation issues along the Route 3 Corridor, including the “TMA Shuttle.” A recent program, “Sustainability in Action,” shifted the focus to a broader frame—the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and how these relate to businesses right here along Route 3.
The audience was invited to consider how their organizations might tap into the resources of the UN itself, academics from the Univ. of New England, and even business colleagues along the Corridor. Adam Gordon of the UN Global Compact said “doing the right thing [for the world] is also good for business.” Using the SDGs as a framework, the Global Compact offers tools for business practices that support the environmental and social goals of a business, as well as its economic viability and profitability.
Holly Parker, Director of the Institute of North Atlantic Studies at the University of New England-North showed how effective leaders of the future will need to replace reactive management practices with innovation, and adaptation with transformation. She introduced a systems approach that places each situation in context, so managers can consider the whole, not just a few pieces.
Dr. Parker advised listeners to start with an inventory of a company’s current sustainable practices and move on from there. Lynne Garonne of E Ink also gave practical examples of how to “think globally and act locally.” As a member of the UN Global Compact, E Ink encourages local sustainable practices as well as participating in the Compact’s gender equity, young innovator, and ambition initiatives.
Our future, environmentally and economically, depends on all of us working together, each within our own sphere of knowledge and responsibility. What these speakers all stressed was that we need not take a financial hit to do this! As a Bedford resident and a member of Mothers Out Front, I am thrilled that there are businesses and business-oriented organizations like these that recognize the importance of taking bold action to protect our communities and the future of our children, in a way that can help us all!