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Sustainable Innovation

Podcast: Transforming business sustainably

Michael Price
Published: September 19, 2023
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An In Good Company podcast with Michael Price, global commercial director, consultant and mentor

How to balance profit, innovation and sustainability

Is it possible for businesses to drive innovation and growth while maintaining sustainable and environmentally responsible approaches?

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Michael Price is a global commercial director with over 20 years’ experience in the sports, outdoor and lifestyle industry with organisations including inov-8, ASICS and Reebok. He has a track record of innovation leading to increased market share and profits. He’s also passionate about doing more with less, reducing our impact, and promoting sustainability. Can profits, innovation and sustainability go hand in hand? Michael believes so, and in this podcast he explains just how to Dan:

"Take care of innovation and sustainability and your business will look after itself"

Innovation and sustainability can really go together. And if you're doing those two things, you can take care of the business and be profitable. From a consumer viewpoint, people are willing to pay for that innovation. You've got to find that balance between innovation and commercial success and doing the right thing for both the planet and your local community.

For instance, about ten years ago the sports industry introduced knitted uppers on shoes. And most people won't know what a knitted upper is. But the great thing about the knitted upper is you've got no waste. It's an innovation that has been applied across all products in the sports industry. So you've got a meaningful innovation, a useful innovation that has had a huge impact on sustainability.

Three things organisations should prioritise about sustainability

  1.  Build a simple plan

Our plan at inov-8 was to ‘improve your ability’, ‘reduce our impact’ and ‘have a positive impact on society’.

  1. Involve your teams

Then make sure your teams are fully involved and invested in it. It's very easy to try and force things top-down. It's always good to try and do bottom-up and top-down together. This takes a lot of hard work but if you get people invested in it, they take action.

  1. Take simple action

And then action is the critical thing. I'm a great believer that lots of small things have a big impact. And for example, at inov-8, we were able to halve the number of clothing symbols we used, got rid of swing tickets and reduced the amounts of paper and card we used. We did a lot of simple things very quickly.

Taking inspiration: The Forest Man of India

There’s a little story I'll tell about Jadav Payeng, the Forest Man of India. He's from north-east India, the Majuli Island, which is the largest river island in the world – 150,000 people live there. And it's been devastated by deforestation, climate change and erosion. Well, over 40 years ago, he started by planting a tree, and he’s planted one tree every day for forty years. And he's growing a forest that is bigger than the size of Central Park in New York. And it wasn't some grand thing. He started out wanting to make a change. He wanted to do something and he started small, but over a period of 40 years that's created a forest where they've got tigers back, they've got rhinos, elephants, birds, etc. and it's changed that community.

"For all of us business leaders, if we can get to tangible actions and engage our workforce, we can make a huge difference"

Continue with Dan and Michael’s conversation here:

Listen to the podcast on Spotify

Watch our interview here:

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