Sustainability and profit can coexist

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Lauralee Martin
Chief Financial Officer

The Corporate & College Collaborative for Sustainability (3CS) Spring Conference started with the theme “The Secret of Sustainability Leadership”.  Participants are here from NYU, Emory, Georgetown, Babson, William & Mary and Columbia Boston College, to name a few.  Jones Lang LaSalle  and IBM sponsored this event, and I spoke and led the discussion on “Sustainability Leadership in the Face of Skeptics”.

I knew this would be a new experience for me when TweetChat streams had a dozen posts in the 3CS room in less than five minutes from participants who wanted to share their experience with friends and colleagues not participating.  It makes me wonder how our firm could use this technology to advance energy and sustainability conversations among businesspeople.

I’ve been impressed that this young, idealist “can do” group demonstrates practical realism in finding solutions to problems such as the challenge addressed at the conference—the difficulty of changing behavior even when the benefits of change are clear.

One comment that started the conference is worth paraphrasing: We’ve all heard the saying, ‘It’s not personal, it’s business’ but if these two things are separate, then we spend 2/3 of our day doing things that are not personal.  This comment led to discussions on how business activities can also be personal–in the sense of being  sustainable or helpful to others in some way–while still being profitable.  This was a complete reinforcement for me of Jones Lang LaSalle’s commitment to sustainability – because we are focused on the value we create for clients while we address their and our sustainability goals. 

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