The 5P’s for sustainable growth
There is much talk about sustainable growth. Sustainability is a broad concept that means different things for different people. For many people it’s about ecology. For others it is about having a sustainable income or social equality.
In most of the literature sustainability it is described as where the environment, the economy and the social aspects are touching. Other literature will turn the environmental factor over any other factor.
Definition of sustainability
I like the definition of sustainable development by the Brundtland Commission of the United Nation in 1987:
“Sustainable development is development That meets the needs of the present without Compromising the ability of future generations to meet their Own Needs.”
This definition is very strong and encompasses a very broad field. There are of course many other definitions and those are therefore not less strong.
Moreover, sustainability should be a verb. You can not say that something is sustainable. That would mean that it could not be better. You can not say that something is ecological – surely there are less ecological traits in it. Sustainability is an ongoing pursuit to better. Therefore, we should better use this word as a verb: “making sustainable”. That implies that sustainable growth is a process.
Ever since I was a teenager I observed people and companies in their pursuit to a better world. Some people and companies have a greater impact than others.
Thousands of books have been published on one or more aspects of sustainability.
To help you become more sustainable, we have developed the 5P’s. It is a structure just like the classic 4 P’s of marketing (Product, Price, Place, Promotion – sometimes supplemented by Politics and Power). But that kind of marketing is not only obsolete – it does not bear no responsibility.
The 5P’s for sustainable growth
The 5P’s for Sustainable growth is not a marketing mix. It is a broad view of sustainability for businesses and for ordinary people at home – like you and me.
It’s about People, Planet, Prosperity, Pleasure and Passion. These are listed in random order. Namely, they are all important. And when you apply them, the effect can be multiplied by big numbers.
“Planet” is the ecological side of the story. It takes the planet into account. Now and in the future. The negative impact that you have on the environment is minimal. You might even be taking a positive impact on the environment. Do not underestimate the number of aspects that are connected to your influence on the planet.
For some companies, we conduct a 5P audit. We measure the impact on the planet on as much as 30 points. The list of points for such an audit is never complete. Yet, it gives a clear picture of where you are now and what can be done to make it even better.
“People” is about the social impact of your actions. The social impact measured at different levels. Both locally and internationally. Think of products you buy through fair trade. Fair trade is also about more than trade with countries from “the poor south”. Also locally it is important that farmers get a fair price for their products.
And how about at work? Does everyone get the chance to develop themselves? Is your company open to different religions, culture, gender, ….
With the factor “prosperity” we enter the positive impact. We look at the contributions that you provide for yourself, your relationships and the environment. In most literature, this “P” stands for “Profit”. In a sense – that is truth. But it is not complete. In the current economic system – whether you like it or not – you don’t count if you spend more money than what you earn. That is not sustainable. Loosing money is no business. No money unfortunately means minimal impact.
However, there is much more than earning money. To what extent do you contribute to the profits for others? Think yourself in win-win terms? Or even better – in win-win terms (you, your partner and the world around you).
“Passion” is what motives you to continuousely become more sustainable. It gives you energy. By the power of passion your ideas can grow and become reality. It is about following your personal life mission – to create a mission statement at work, in the family. Passion is something internally and powerful.
“Passion” is what happens internal, whilst “Pleasure” is rather wat show outside. Which doesn’t mean you’re not feeling it inside. The “Pleasure” side of the story is that what people find attractive in you. That’s why they like to get in touch with you and they want to get inspired by you.
It is the key to multiply your impact towards sustainable growth.
In this sense “Pleasure” is possibly the most powerful of all the 5 P’s. Just because it is so contagious for other people to join that the results of your efforts to move to the other P’s can grow exponentially. And often it is the most forgotten P.
It’s not a quick fix
The 5 P’s are not just a quick fix. They contribute to awareness. By using the 5P’s we create clarity and discover how easy it is to make a giant leap towards sustainability in our own environment. At home, with the family, friends and at work.
Go for it. Make it fun – that’s the best way to continue! Inspire your friends and colleagues to join. Have fun together. Inspire others. Inspire us.
Jakob De Proft
The 5P’s for Sustainable Growth were developed for and together with dauranta.