To connect sustainability to the various roles and responsibilities of organizations, we need to use verbs and actionsthat describe “how-to” work more sustainably. To understand how to work more sustainably, we have to first understand which practices are not sustainable, their problematic aspects, and the root causes of these problems.
While "headwinds" are usually perceived to be factors that are beyond our control, this is not the case when it comes to constraint headwinds. Businesses, in particular, contribute to the magnitude and intensity of constraint headwinds through management choices regarding their processes, products, and systems. Bad choices lead to actions and outcomes that can magnify the constraint headwinds they face. Addressing the root causes of constraint headwinds can improve sustainability performance.
The quest for more sustainable practices and outcomes is now creating some of the most effective drivers for improving enterprise performance across multiple dimensions. Most leaders now agree that managing sustainability performance is no longer an option for organizations interested in thriving for the long term.
And, it frequently isn't true. Case in point: the Climate Disclosure Project Global Climate Change Report 2015 reported that while a growing percentage of companies responding to the questionnaire have set greenhouse gas reduction targets — 44 percent, compared to 27 percent in 2010 — those companies’ emissions actually increased over the same period of time.
Headwinds of Opportunity goes beyond philosophical and academic discussion of business sustainability to offer strategic guidance regarding how to make all types of organizations function more sustainably while simultaneously improving their competitiveness. It differs from other books in that it approaches sustainability as an innovation – an innovative way of conducting business. The book is informed by time-tested principles of innovation diffusion that can be effectively applied to drive change. It places considerable emphasis on the "how-to" aspects of sustainability improvement and how they can be used to increase effectiveness.