Are you ready for Sustainable Selling?

With the green agenda comes Sustainable Selling.  More and more questions are being asked by many about how we can best manage this relationship now and for future generations?

I recently attended and spoke at the 6th CIPS Australasia Annual Conference (peak industry body for the Procurement Profession) where Sustainability was well and truly on the agenda.  The conference theme, ‘Managing Volatility’, had a range of national and international speakers presenting on how we manage and guarantee supply in an ever changing, often unpredictable world.  The key topic, which everything seemed to revolve around, was about managing value rather than only managing cost.  The messages I received was that the Procurement Profession wants to encourage real, measurable value, trust, transparency, substance, and ethical selling and procurement practices which discourages excessive consumption and greed.  The focus was on forging legitimate business relationships which serve the environment, people, businesses and communities.  ‘We are all in this together’ was the point that I resonated with.

Taking the lead from the CIPSA conference, other forward thinking professional bodies and emerging business practices such as Fair Trade, if we are to meet the needs of the present (economic, environmental and social) without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, we need to engage in Sustainable Selling practices which support the concept of Sustainable Development as part of our strategy moving forward.

The Brundtland Report that formalised ideas around Sustainable Development provides the basis for practical application of the principles of sustainability in the real world.  Sustainable Development is not a fixed state of harmony, but rather a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change are made consistent with future as well as present needs.

Cradle to Cradle Design is one example of some clever thinking and action around sustainable development.  Cradle to Cradle Design is a biomimetic approach to the design of systems.  It models human industry on nature’s processes in which materials are viewed as nutrients circulating in healthy, safe metabolisms.  It suggests that industry must protect and enrich ecosystems and nature’s biological metabolism while also maintaining safe, productive technical metabolism for the high-quality use and circulation of organic and synthetic materials. Put simply, it is a holistic economic, industrial and social framework that seeks to create systems that are not just efficient but essentially waste free.  The model in its broadest sense is not limited to industrial design and manufacturing; it can be applied to many different aspects of human civilisation such as urban environments, buildings, economics and social systems.

Sustainable Selling, I propose therefore, is made up of ethical selling principles, ideas, values and practices which values trust, transparency, substance, community, the environment and healthy profits while discouraging the exploitation of people and resources, excessive consumption and greed.  Sustainable Selling recognises that everybody lives by selling something and that selling is about the principle of exchange – the sustainable exchange of ideas, innovations, products, tools, concepts, feelings, money and value.

The focus is on creating Sustainable Selling business cultures by encouraging and training all people in sustainable selling and business principles and skills so they can forge legitimate business relationships which serve the environment, people, business and communities.

Take the Victorian Government and VECCI initiative Carbon Compass which was launched in April 2010.  Carbon Compass is a place where small and medium businesses can find knowledge, share information and get practical advice on how to reduce their carbon footprint.  The website has been developed to help us understand what carbon is and where it exists in our businesses.  It is designed to help us make our businesses more sustainable.  The carbon, climate change and sustainability solutions they host have been recommended by businesses for businesses.

At Barrett, we recognise the importance of minimising the impact of the way we do business.  We have a continuous improvement approach and have developed a purchasing and recycling strategy and sustainability checklist amongst other things – our goal is to live and work with a cradle to cradle mindset.  As one of our initial steps, we have signed up to Carbon Compass as well and find it a great resource.

However, our vision for Sustainable Selling extends beyond the day to day operations of our business.  On a broader business perspective, at Barrett we are in the process of developing the Sustainable Selling Manifesto & Charter where we are inviting individuals and companies to contribute to its formation.

Following on from our vision extends to the creation of a tribe or community of businesses and business people who subscribe to the Sustainable Selling Charter which would lead to the subsequent opportunity for businesses to do business with other Sustainable Selling Partners.

The Sustainable Selling Charter & Practices would support the concept of Sustainable Development and Cradle to Cradle initiatives which provides practical applications of the principles of sustainability in the real world.

Sustainable Selling is not a fixed state of harmony but rather an evolving process in which the application of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change are balanced with future as well as present needs.  2010 and beyond will be about putting eco into sales.

Remember everybody lives by selling something.

Sue Barrett has 1 articles online

Sue Barrett endorses the propositions that ‘everybody lives by selling something’ and people buy from people they trust. Sue is founder and managing director of BARRETT, and specialises in 21st century sales training, sales coaching, sales leadership, sales capability, and sales culture transformation. Sue is one of the few prominent female voices commenting on sales today. You don’t have to be a sales person to benefit from her knowledge and insight. If you have an idea, capability, product, service or opportunity that you want to take to market then Sue says you need to be able to sell – ethically, honourably, and effectively. Sue practices as a coach, advisor, speaker, facilitator, consultant and writer and works across all market segments with her skilful team at BARRETT.  Sue and her team take the guess work out of selling and help people from many different careers become aware of their sales capabilities and enable them to take the steps to becoming effective, and productive when it comes to selling, sales coaching or sales leadership.To hone your sales skills or learn how to sell go to

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