What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

Corporate Sustainability: All Talk and No Action?

June 18, 2012, 2:37 PM
Action

Is 'corporate sustainability' one of those tasks that exist just to be checked off a list and assigned to a few isolated people within your organization? Is your company in the position to do more than just talk about it?

Those were among the questions Big Think's Peter Hopkins addressed in a recent interview with CBS's Erickson Blakney, and Hopkins had a pretty blunt response. "If all you can do is send people to conferences," he told Erickson, a company needs to "either pack it up or totally rethink what you're doing." 

While corporate sustainability has been "received as a trend" and as "something companies have to do," according to Hopkins the companies that are doing the best job are the ones that either have the most to gain or the most to lose.

Hopkins has observed that corporate sustainability has become deeply intertwined with a company's bottom line, as opposed to it being "a separate feel-good charitable enterprise." Therefore best practices tend to be found in industries where doing good is in the longterm interests of a company.

By the same token, "the companies that contribute to circumstances and conditions that are not sustainable are going to find themselves threatened by those practices down the line," Hopkins said. Unsustainable practices will eventually run into government regulation or the kind of public backlash that was seen in the case of Apple's iPad manufacturer Foxconn. 

So who is actually walking the walk?

Hopkins said that one area where we're going to see a lot of opportunity is in the developing world. A whole host of challenges have prevented businesses from taking hold, Hopkins said, "because the economies are small. The distribution channels are underdeveloped." On the other hand, we are seeing in places like Africa the rise of microbanking through cellphone use. 

Hopkins pointed out that this technology "piggybacks off the extensive cellular networks that have developed across Africa, and are its primary communications infrastructure." This kind of innovation has yet to take hold in the developed world.

Hopkins said he sees this situation as a great test case for social innovation, in which businesses that can "leverage new technologies and new infrastructures may actually find crossover applications for the developed world." 

 

Corporate Sustainability: A...

Newsletter: Share: