I’m getting ready to go to Pittsburgh this next week to attend the American Public Works Association’s Sustainability Conference, and to tell the honest truth, I wonder if I will return home with any significant dent in my IQ (read that as Ignorance Quotient). Yet, somewhere in its mysterious innards resides an area of activity that deserves our attention.
Similar in nature to green, sustainability is one of those iconic terms that has wormed its way into both the lexicon and conscience of government officials of all stripe, from Federal Czars to environmental planners, meaning that if you’re bidding on a government contract and your Qual Pack is not loaded up to the gills with sustainable-conscious rhetoric, you could find yourself clobbered by someone skilled in the use of such terms as Environmentally Responsible Citizenship, Institutional Ecology, Stakeholder Involvement, Progressive Degradation of Nature, Systematic Undermining of the Ability to Meet Personal Needs…and several thousand such morsels that fall into the catch-all category of Corporate Social Responsibility that suggest we have it within our power to bring our environmental footprint to zero.
Is this situation wrong? I honestly don’t know, though my seven deadly senses tell me it is, for the present at least, more hoax than reality…a sort of institutionalization of the Music Man’s think system. Yet, maybe that’s just the sort of justification, the belief that from the morass of good intentions will come some genuinely stellar ideas and practices, for the rhetoric needed to bring some sort of control over our management of natural (and unnatural) resources.
So, what I‘m suggesting is that by making it perfectly clear in your bidding responses that your practices are immanently sustainable, you might find yourself winning more jobs and increasing your profitability, and if that isn’t the essence of sustainability, pray tell me what is?