“Sustainability,” “Going green,” – If buzzwords could capture carbon, global warming would have been solved already. Change requires understanding, the will to act, and accountability. Many companies are striving to be sustainable, but let’s look beyond the buzzwords and explore what sustainability means and how microlearning can help it be part of a company’s culture.
What images pop into your mind when you think of “sustainability?”
None of these are wrong but are elements of larger concepts that comprise a company’s sustainability strategy. Teaching sustainability requires a comprehensive approach that cannot be taught in one article or event. Let us define what we mean by business sustainability and explore how it can be trained and socialized throughout an organization.
Sustainability, at the most fundamental level, means the ability to sustain a process continuously over time. To achieve this, the process must not deplete the resources it requires. Traditionally, resources refer to natural or physical assets. A more holistic approach includes social sustainability (supporting and giving back to the community) and economic sustainability (the ability of an economy to support a defined level of economic production indefinitely), comprising what the U.N. defines as the three pillars of sustainability:
Moving Beyond the Green
Each of the three pillars of sustainability has underlying concepts, considerations, and different use cases, far more than can be taught in an article or singular training event. The elements of sustainability that quickly come to mind, like recycling, and energy conservation, can only be considered if taken into the larger tapestry of social and economic concepts. For example, supply chain management is a critical factor in economic sustainability but may not come immediately into mind.
Microlearning and spaced-adaptive repetition of key concepts are superbly suited to enable the concepts underlining sustainability to become part of your company’s culture. Microlearning takes the key concepts and chunks them into easily remembered learning bites (for example, research has shown that, for most companies, the supply chain is responsible for the bulk of their environmental impact). Spaced repetition moves information to long-term memory by metered exposure, and adaptive learning builds increased competency by building upon this growing knowledge paradigm.
For example, a learner may have demonstrated that they know what supply chain sustainability is and why it is essential (supply chain is responsible for most of a company’s environmental impact) and can now apply those concepts to implementing a strategy, such as reducing shipping distance by selecting more local suppliers.
Microlearning and spaced-adaptive repetition can help a company move its sustainability initiative from concepts to strategy to actions and accountability.