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 Mission Sustainable Challenge

Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013

Engage in the spirituality of sustainability. Participate in a daily action and reflection challenge throughout the month of October. Read, act, and contemplate on your own, or attend events and reflect with friends and other campus community members.

The new Mission Sustainable Challenge is a great opportunity for SCU's students, faculty and staff to practice behavior change around issues related to sustainability.  The Challenge was developed through the leadership of Julia Claire Landry in SCU's Campus Ministry along with the Center for Sustainability and a cadre of committed faculty and staff who recognize that the way forward to a more wholesome, more sustainable future is based upon collective behavior change.  Extending the type of collective action called for in the Challenge beyond SCU's immediate community would require additional support.  A recent research study facilitated by Guardian Sustainable Business, Business in the Community, and ComRes provides quantitative evidence for the commonly held insight that individuals need business, and government, to inspire and ease this shift into sustainable behavior.  The 2013 Sustainable Behavior Change Marketplace Survey Report represents the responses from 328 organizations, two-thirds of which were private companies, from a wide range of industries.  (It's also noteworthy that over half of the individuals serving as their organization's respondent were at Director level or above.)  Ninety-seven percent of the respondents indicated that they believe organizations should try to influence the behaviors of their employees, customers, and suppliers, and 94% of those surveyed believe sustainable behavior change is important to help their organization improve its impact on society and achieve long-term success.  The private sector is seen (55%) as the most responsible for making it easier for people to act and change their behavior and, in fact, 75% of the organizations surveyed have developed or currently are developing a program to enact behavior change in their employees and other stakeholders.

So, why is the private sector interested in sustainable behavior change?  Well, private industry reports being concerned about economic uncertainty (91%), attracting and retaining a skilled workforce (90%), energy security (88%), and the speed of technological change (88%).  The top five factors driving the private sector to actively influence behavior changes are: 1. building stronger relationships with customers and other stakeholders (44%); 2. gaining a competitive advantage over their competitors (38%); 3. creating sustainable local communities and markets (38%); 4. showing leadership (29%); and 5. cutting resource costs (26%).  Communication was overwhelmingly identified (77%) as the most employed strategy for enacting behavior change and there was a dearth of creative approaches when other strategies were requested.  This indicates that this is an area ripe for innovation.  Serving as barriers to organizations for pursuing sustainable behavioral change strategies is a lack of senior staff buy-in (42%), a lack of funding (35%), and a lack of skills or knowledge in their employees (34%).  Only 26% cited that a lack of a business case for action was an actual barrier.  Again, this indicates an opportunity for young professionals to immediately add value to their organizations by offering the missing skills and knowledge and communicating an influential message to the senior staff who need convincing.
If you would like to participate, click here to get started, or visit the Mission Sustainable homepage for more information.  
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