The Big Sustainability Illusion — Finding a Maturation Pathway for Regeneration & Thriving
By Ralph Thurm, Managing Director r3.0
In February and March 2021 r3.0 Managing Director Ralph Thurm has struck a nerve with his LinkedIn article series on the “Big Sustainability Illusion” and “Escaping ESG LaLaLand.” This four-article series has resulted in more than 58.000 views, more than 200 re-shares, several hundred likes, about 100 direct comments, and 220+ direct messages expressing support. The ‘halo effect’ of this huge readership group, their comments and reshares, and the overwhelmingly positive response, indicated one thing: there’s a huge group of tired and frustrated proponents of sustainability, wanting to see progress from ‘just ESG’ to ‘real sustainability’. There was broad acknowledgement of a cognitive dissonance due to the existing mental strait jackets, but little idea how to get out of the ‘illusion of progress’ that this dissonance constantly creates. Steps in the right direction, isn’t that good enough? We will eventually get there, but change needs time. Well, if only we had time!
This series perfectly encapsulated the essence of r3.0’s Positive Maverick stance — that it is an ethical responsibility to assertively voice our concerns about systemic and structural blockages of the fields we work in — even (or especially) when these fields purport to advance positive causes. The ‘ESG LaLaLand’ picture, painting an illusion of progress, is broken. Drastic change and steps are needed. r3.0 now offers the whole series in its first r3.0 Opinion Paper.
Part 1 is describing the general problem with ESG and its lacking link to sustainability. Part 2 is deepening this picture by giving an overview of the fatal flaws of the whole ESG information food chain. Part 3 looks at ‘prolongations’ that ESG experts could allow and that can already cure many of these flaws, and part 4 invites a fresh view from the ‘other side of the bridge’, building what’s necessary from the perspective of a regenerative & distributive economy, and would lead to more drastic changes.
Feel free to download your free copy here and respond to Ralph (r.thurm@r3–0.org) with comments if the paper triggered your thinking. Or use the response function in Medium.