Sustainability is articulated both as great challenge and great opportunity. It can lead to resignation and cynicism or the experience of fulfillment and purpose in one's life. It can be bothersome or daunting, or highly motivating and life-giving. It is both a threat to humanity, and a profound opportunity to express our humanity.
Authentic Sustainability explores various pitfalls of sustainability, or recurring conversations in the sustainability discourse that correlate with the experience of being stuck. It explores why we get stuck in pitfalls and how we can escape them. It points out how advocates for the "flourishing of human and other life forever" undermine that flourishing in the way we engage with people every day. It reveals some persistent tensions and ambivalences we all experience that generate paradoxes of sustainability beneath the pitfalls. When we distinguish these pitfalls and underlying paradoxes, we can identify them in our lives and our conversations, and are then free to explore pathways out of and around what would otherwise remain latent traps.
Our intention is for these pathways to lead to greater freedom, volition, authenticity, integrity, and effectiveness and that they will contribute toward a transformation of the sustainability "movement" or dialogue - to support the flourishing of our lives in the pursuit of the flourishing of all life.
We are transforming the sustainability discourse, one conversation at a time.
Authentic Sustainability is a project to research and share how individuals and organizations transform complexity and tension, inherent in the pursuit of a flourishing planet, into drivers of creativity, innovation, and individual flourishing. We unlock limitations in sustainability communication and help craft new pathways forward to effectively generate the change you wish to see in the world.Learn More
We work inside organizations to transform the complexity and tension, inherent in the pursuit of planetary flourishing, into drivers of creativity, innovation, and employee flourishing.read more
Our experts conduct research that explores the communications, relationships, and pathways that align individual, organizational, and planetary flourishing.read more
We develop and support higher education curriculum that enables sustainability leaders to effectively engage and create the change they envision while supporting their own flourishing and the flourishing of those around them.read more
Jason Jay is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Director of the Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan. His personal mission is to help people to connect the truth within to the truth outside — to realize a life of meaning and positive impact in an era of profound global challenges.
His perspective on sustainability comes from hiking in Boulder, Colorado and the Himalayas; from becoming part of his wife's family in West Bengal, India; from his teachers and students at MIT; and from being a father and reluctant consumer in the suburbs. Dr. Jay directs the strategy and implementation of the MIT Sloan School's goals toward including sustainability content in the curriculum for all students, and building a community of innovators for sustainability. He spearheads the Initiative's fundraising efforts and engagement with industry and policymakers. He co-teaches the flagship "S-Lab" sustainability projects course, and leads executive education programs on sustainability for MIT. His research examines how people navigate the tension between personal, business, and social goals in sustainability efforts. Prior to MIT, Jason was a management consultant for Dialogos International, where he consulted on leadership development and organizational change for major international corporations and NGO's including BP and the World Bank. Jason holds a Ph.D. in Organization Studies from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and an AB and M.Ed from Harvard University. He lives in Newton, Massachusetts.Read More
Gabriel Grant is a 15 year sustainability consultant, co-founder and director of the Byron Fellowship Educational Foundation, and a doctoral candidate at the Yale Center for Business and the Environment and Center for Industrial Ecology. His consulting, research, and non-profit endeavors are in service of fulfilling his dream of all life flourishing together, through people experiencing their life as a calling.
His perspective on sustainability comes from growing up in an electric car family on a mission to transform the world and our home community, which was at times referred to as the rust belt. His learning continues in partnership with his clients, and the world class change leaders he mentors through Byron Fellowship. He has worked with and coached thousands of sustainability leaders, including directors of sustainability from Fortune 500 companies and other major brands representing a diversity of sectors that include: social entrepreneurship, transportation, energy, consumer products, information and communication technology, financial services, residential development, and cultural institutions. Gabriel's research at Yale explores the relationships and possible pathways between micro level flourishing of individuals, flourishing organizations and communities, and at the macro level, a flourishing planet. Gabriel holds an MPhil in Leadership and Sustainability from Yale University, an MS in Ecological Systems Engineering from Purdue University and a BS in Physics. He lives in Seattle, WA, with his wife Sarah, daughter Ariana, and puppy dog Delft.Read More
"In our community of sustainability professionals from Fortune 500 companies, we have seen common challenges as we work to engage people in our organizations and beyond. Authentic Sustainability brought a sense of humor to the difficult task of discussing the business value of sustainability -- reflecting on where we've stumbled and setting our members on a pathway to high quality conversations for successful engagement. This could make a real difference in making sustainability efforts inviting and effective."
- Gib Hedstrom, Program Director, Sustainability Council - The Conference Board
"I had gotten stuck with a VP of my company, as I repeatedly proposed a change of course for a major project. In the workshop, I saw that I had been arrogant and overbearing in these conversations, and decided to try out something new. Literally the next day, a bargain was struck.
- Brent Segal, R&D executive, Lockheed Martin
"This exceeded my highest expectations. The work gave me profound insights around my professional goals and challenged my personal beliefs."
-Froylan Hernandez-Ruiz, Senior Attorney, The Nature Conservancy
"It turns out that the best way to improve conversations about sustainability (or anything else) is to go deeper. Not deeper into the subject matter, but deeper into yourself so that you better understand how to overcome your own personal barriers to better communication. These insights are already helping me at work and at home."
- Scot Case
"Authentic Sustainability provides key tools to address difficult conversations in work as well as life."
- Jason Metnick, Senior Vice President, Sustainable Forestry Initiative
"I learned the importance and power of planting a seed in each and every sustainability conversation.""
- Roman Smith, Director - Sustainability Operations, AT&T
"The reality is that sustainability is all about change, and making change creates difficult conversations. Authentic Sustainability provides a positive, open and honest way to have these difficult conversations that both maximizes effectiveness and strengthens relationships."
- Ali Ahmed, Senior Manager, Workplace Resources, Global Energy Management and Sustainability, Cisco Systems
"Authentic Sustainability was a stellar workshop for our constituents who are sustainability professionals in retail and consumer products companies. Participants powerfully reflected on how they think and talk about sustainability -- and found ways to be more effective in their roles."
- Adam Siegel, Vice President, Sustainability & Retail Operations, Retail Industry Leaders Association
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