There is a growing sense of urgency around sustainability, with the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goal deadline looming and much still left to do over the next 8 or so years. As consumers, employees and investors look for businesses with ethical products, operations and supply chains, it is no longer simply a question of values; businesses must be sustainable to survive.
Innovation is a key factor, too. Sustainability lends itself to innovation because the best way to change the course of an ongoing trend is usually to innovate – to do something differently or create something new.
What is sustainable innovation?
What makes sustainable innovation stand apart from other kinds of innovation?
You probably have an idea of what innovation means, but what makes it sustainable? Innovation in itself can be driven by a number of different needs, concerns or simply curiosity to produce something new. Innovation is sustainable when it is driven by a need to better serve a greater purpose – such as a cleaner planet, healthier communities, less waste, or more equal opportunities to work and study.
If innovation is the process of creating something new, then sustainability is the purpose behind it. In short, where innovation is the “what”, sustainability forms the “why”.
For example, a number of the UK’s water utilities are striving to lead the sector into a more sustainable future. Following Northumbrian Water’s annual Innovation Festival in 2020, their workshop led to a new way of letting members of the public easily report leaks or burst pipes using Vyn. This allows them to cut water waste, which, as Affinity Water CEO Pauline Walsh reminds us, is a scarce resource that we often forget to talk about.
Meanwhile, in sectors such as Energy and Construction, safety is a cornerstone of sustainability. ENGIE, a multinational energy company supplying to some 75 countries globally, is transforming their Health, Safety and Environmental Protection (HSE) culture by giving their engineers a way to quickly and easily assess and recognise risk. They are using the Vyn platform to instil a proactive mindset around HSE, with the collective objective of “No Life at Risk”. With the ability to record a short SmartVideo into their mobile device, each employee is equipped to contribute to this greater objective.
Safety is a cornerstone of sustainability
You can find further examples of how businesses are delivering on sustainable innovation goals.
Purpose brings us together
Another great thing about sustainable innovation is that it brings people together. The importance of acknowledging the difference that we make individually and collectively has never been more important, as we strive to keep the momentum going.
At Vyntelligence, we are connected by a clear purpose – we call it “simplifying work-life”: In other words, we strive to make work and life simpler and safer, creating sustainable environmental and wellbeing benefits for all. We are inspired by our customers, who consistently adapt and innovate to meet ambitious sustainability targets. These customers are part of the Vynners’ Community, a bi-monthly gathering where we celebrate the impact and contribution of our members. We will soon be announcing how we hope to match this contribution with a new sustainability initiative.
Let me leave you with a thought from The SustainAbility Institute: “We have ten years to transform the world – we need every company accelerating and amplifying their positive impact.”