This “Three Finger Sustainability Symbol” embodies our collective care to once again grasp the Earth protectively with principles that restore our social, environmental and economical obligations. The challenges of Social Inequity, Climate Change and the Financial Crisis must be addressed and matched with Peace, Harmony and Balance. Efforts toward balanced sustainability need to be consistent, automatic and feel natural: moving from simple public awareness to individual responsibility and action requires positive
The World Sustainability Organization and the sustainability salute have already received much acclaim at the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change as well as at pavilions at the 2010 Shanghai Expo. My mentor, Phil McMaster 大龙 (Da Long) is a Canadian professor, adventurer and environmental researcher at the Chinese University of Hong Kong who founded the Organization in 2007 after wanting to make a difference in the world to fight the inequities of greed, degradation and apathy.
The ISO is an international non-profit grassroots campaign that aims to mobilize a global sustainability movement united by a common need for preservation of human culture and society on Earth. While the bottom line of business is back, the economic crisis is only proving that the bottom line has three components, economic, yes of course, but without society, customers and the Environment, our irreplaceable resource, business can’t make a profit. Any less than the Triple Bottom Line is simply unsustainable. Corporate Social Responsibility is probably the most important strategic element for staying in business today and in the future.
However, when Phil was teaching business, it occurred to him that there is no such thing as corporate social responsibility (CSR). The only reality is Individual Social Responsibility (ISR). All business students know that corporations are “fictitious persons” and are limited in terms of their liability, so by definition a corporation cannot be responsible. Therefore, the World Sustainability Organization focuses on how each individual can be more responsible for their own actions, and responsible for the communal performance of their place of employment. The World Sustainability Project’s objective is not to re-invent the wheel. It supports and participates with all NGOs and organizations that are making an effort to train their members to be CSR and ISR proficient!
Most of the the ISO’s individual projects involve communicating financially incentivized ideas, building individual self-esteem, and helping other NGOs, social enterprises and LOHHAS (Lifestyles of Health Happiness and Sustainability) companies to promote environmental, economic and social harmony. One project is the Three Finger Wednesday initiative, a weekly reminder to think sustainably and modify habits in support of the planet. Participants are requested to not eat meat, and thereby stop contributing to the 20% of greenhouse gases produced by it, and unplug unused appliances for the day. Similarly, our LOHHAS shopping expeditions introduce participants to environmentally sustainable stores. Chines people in particular are very receptive to sustainable ideas as their values are already in their DNA. The core concepts actually come from Chinese culture itself. For thousands of years, peace, harmony and balance have been at the center of Chinese thought, so now it’s time to innovate and refresh these old but valuable ideas. This is what the ISO wants to share person-to-person: sustainable values that are above language and culture, which everyone on the planet has the opportunity and responsibility to share.