In a recent Food Tank interview, Seventh Generation’s Martin Wolf argues that a systems change is needed to make the private sector more sustainable.
Founded in 1988, Seventh Generation is a manufacturer and distributor of ecological household and personal care products. As a certified B corporation, the company sets long-term sustainability goals such as creating 100 percent zero-waste packaging and running the company on 100 percent renewable energy.
But Wolf, Director of Sustainability and Authenticity at Seventh Generation, argues that these changes must occur on a much larger scale to see real change. And for this to happen, business leaders must change the way they prioritize and measure a company’s economic performance and environmental impact.
Currently, Wolf says, many individuals within a company want to do the right thing. But “they work in a framework that biases how they think about things and biases how the company reacts. That’s why I think there needs to be systems change, not just individual or corporate change,” he tells Food Tank.
Wolf argues that companies’ decisions are based on how much they sell, how much their materials cost, and how much they profit. “We have to change that paradigm,” Wolf tells Food Tank. “We have to look more at how to do good in the world, more at how to create systems of commerce that rely on nature rather than just extract from nature.”
Wolf also reminds everyone that these solutions will not come about automatically. “It takes time, it takes energy, it takes money, and it takes all segments of our society working together to make the change for the change to happen.”
Wolf also talks about the importance of brand trust, the need to combine advocacy with better business practices, and Seventh Generation’s other commitments to sustainability.
Photo courtesy of Inha Pauliuchenka, Unsplash