Tracking North Star Leads To Sustainability Goals

Wanted — sustainable air to breathe, water to drink and soil for growing crops. They are as American as apple pie, as desirable as helping elderly ladies cross the street. In his book “Strategy for Sustainability,” however, Adam Werbach preaches the values of sustainability as more than catchy-sounding words about our environment, but as being able to continue in perpetuity, staying in business forever, as it were.

Werbach stressed the importance of StaR mapping: social changes, technological changes and resource changes. They are a means by which an organization can perform a rapid analysis of changes in society. To do that mapping, it is necessary to articulate what Werbach calls North Star goals, the strategic direction toward which an organization drives to reach greater sustainability.

    North Star goals have these nine attributes:

  • They move steadily but incrementally toward solving a global human challenge;
  • They address a purpose larger than any company;
  • They align with and benefit from an organization’ s strengths;
  • They are achievable in five to 15 years;
  • They are personally actionable — everyone on board contributes to the progress;
  • They are both optimistic and aspirational, but not impossible;
  • They connect to the core business;
  • They are not tangential or bolted on; and,
  • They ignite individuals’ passion in your organization.