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The 12 Principles of the Sustainability Mindset: Explained

carbon literacy dei strategy sustainability Jan 31, 2024

We live in a wild and unpredictable world where we're constantly reminded of the uncertainty in our lives. Yet, these challenges can also ignite our passion for more meaningful personal and professional experiences.

Called a 'Sustainability Mindset,' this framework offers a comprehensive perspective for understanding and addressing complex environmental and social issues in these uncertain times.

In the final session of our "Sustainability Re-Imagined" series, we welcomed Dr Karen Cripps from Oxford Brookes Business School to shed light on the 'Sustainability Mindset.'

Keep reading to explore how the 'Sustainability Mindset' can help you navigate an uncertain world and transform how you think, work, and lead.

Missed the session? No worries, scroll to the bottom for the replay.


Thriving in a VUCA World

Living in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world marked by climate change, economic uncertainty, and ongoing global health crises can be daunting.

When it comes to sustainability, your emotions play a starring role. Feelings of apathy, exhaustion, and overwhelm damper innovation and inspiration, two essential ingredients for business growth.

So, how do you navigate this rollercoaster? Integrating sustainability into our core purpose and actions and showing genuine commitment through tangible steps.

This approach not only benefits the environment and society but also unlocks new opportunities for businesses.

By prioritising people and the planet alongside profit, you can make smarter decisions that benefit all aspects without sacrificing one for the other.

Dr Cripps emphasises that "systems are interconnected, so we must tap into our emotional intelligence and intuitive wisdom to unlock creativity and find innovative solutions."

This is where the 12 Sustainable Mindset principles come into play.


The 12 Sustainability Mindset Principles

The world constantly throws curveballs. So how do you ensure business success, innovation, and creativity while tackling sustainability challenges? Say hello to the 12 Sustainability Mindset Principles.

developed by Isabel Rimanoczy, which stems from the United Nations PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education) initiative launched in 2007.

These principles serve as a roadmap, guiding you through complex environmental and social issues while reshaping how you think, work, and lead.

The 12 Sustainability Mindset Principles help you to make purpose-driven decisions and embrace effective leadership by providing a framework for addressing these challenges.

Organised into four key areas – Ecological Worldview, Systemic Perspective, Emotional and Spiritual Intelligence – these principles help us grasp planetary challenges, acknowledge your personal contributions, and appreciate interconnected thinking and long-term perspectives.


Here's a breakdown of the full list of Sustainability Mindset Principles:

  1. Eco-literacy: Learn about the environment and its interconnectedness. Understand how your actions impact the world.
  2. My Contribution: Identify your unwitting contributions to global problems. Take responsibility and make positive changes.
  3. Long-Term Thinking: Consider the future, not just the present or near future.
  4. Flow in Cycles: Respect natural cycles when making decisions and understand that life moves in cycles.
  5. Both/And Thinking: Seek creative solutions that include both options, leading to fair decisions for all involved.
  6. Interconnectedness: Value diversity and connections between all things for more inclusive and sustainable choices.
  7. Creativity and Innovation: Trust your intuition and creativity to find innovative solutions to problems.
  8. Reflection: Pause and think before making decisions, allowing for better choices and learning experiences.
  9. Self-Awareness: Know your values and motivations, ensuring your actions align with what's important to you.
  10. Purpose: Discover what matters to you and the difference you want to make, motivating purposeful actions.
  11. Oneness with Nature: Recognise your connection to nature and all living beings, fostering a harmonious relationship with the environment and others.
  12. Mindfulness: Practice being present and focused, increasing awareness of your feelings and leading to better decisions.

With these principles, you can collectively create a lasting impact on our planet and future generations, ensuring businesses thrive in a VUCA world while contributing positively to sustainability.


Missed the session? Watch the replay...


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