And I Barely Heard the "S" Word

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And I Barely Heard the "S" Word

By Carol Baroudi, Arrow Electronics
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#Sustainatopia emphasized impact, value, entrepreneurship and collaboration, says @Carol_Baroudi of @ArrowGlobal
Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 8:45am

I had a wonderful time at the recent Sustainatopia event here in Boston. But apart from the obvious root “sustain” in Sustainatopia, I heard little mention of the word. It’s not that sustainability is going out of fashion – it’s that the fundamental assumption that sustainability represents the core of shared values of the people attending the event is a given. They are less interested in what sustainability is (been there, doing that) than in how to make it happen on a larger scale. The words I did hear were impactvalueentrepreneurship andcollaboration.

Sustainatopia founder John Rosser always brings together “how to make sustainability happen and how to effect social change” with the folks investing in making it happen – financially, that is. The world of investment (and divestment) is a key lever, as evidenced by Ceres’ focus on the clean’s divestment strategy and the world of socially responsible investing (SRI).

Gone are the days of (and retro are the companies that view) the idea of sustainability as overhead. Sustainability is all about value creation, and at a bare minimum, the efficiencies and choices that translate into higher profitsimproved resilience, better employee engagement and stronger customer loyalty.

And who will provide the much-needed innovation? Why, entrepreneurs of course! I’m hoping to pull together a panel on sustainability-related Internet-of-Things (IoT) solutions for Sustainatopia next May in San Francisco. Arrow’s been called “the biggest IoT innovator you’ve never heard of,” and I’d like to change the “never heard of” part.

“The world’s problems are too big to be solved by one nation, one company or one individual,” was the note I sounded to kick off my panel, “Building Collaborative Networks.” The room was packed, and the energy was high. Everyone understood the need to connect and was anxious to learn how to do it better.

As we come to the close of 2015, consider all the ways you can make a difference. Perhaps it’s as simple as saying yes when someone asks for your help. Big collaborations often start small. Write to tell me what you’re doing to make a difference – I’d love to hear (

Carol Baroudi works for Arrow’s Value Recovery business, promoting sustainability awareness and action. She is the lead author of Green IT For Dummies. Her particular focus is on electronics at the IT asset disposition stage, e-waste and everything connected. Follow her on Twitter @carol_baroudi and connect with her on LinkedIn at