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“There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth…

…. We are all crew.” says the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan. Bigger than the threat of COVID, climate change is challenging us all, and we need to act.

It’s an issue for every one of us as individuals; not something that a greater power – government or corporate – will resolve on our behalf. Everyone needs to act, but how?  What makes a difference, and what does that mean for a management consultant (MC)?  

We’re not all climate change specialists and sustainability advisors though. Of course not.  Whilst we have our climate change specialists (those who know all about the strategies and models that will help increase sustainability, advising big organisations) the rest of us consult in other specialties.  So, what is the role when it comes to climate change for those who consult on other matters?

Why limit ourselves? The reality is that as consultants, bringing change through wisdom, and role modelling excellence, there’s no need to limit ourselves to just our ‘specialist topic’.  We can easily add some climate change influencing when we work with each of our clients.

Everyone can do something.  When I was given the consulting task “…get every employee in BT to do something sustainable as part of their everyday activities without even thinking about it…”, I learnt that with 87,000 people, it couldn’t be a ‘one size fits all’ approach. It became clear that the answer was to help everyone do something of their own choosing, and connect their different actions through the common aim of slowing climate change. The trick was to share tips and ideas about what each person could do and then to give them the freedom to act.

What happened? The open hand of opportunity and sharing knowledge started to create a shift in culture.  Sustainable behaviours became ‘the way we do things around here’.  Where people had previously felt like a small cog in a big wheel, they developed a sense of greater individual worth and a renewed sense of purpose.  With permission granted for cognitive diversity, the things people did were wildly different and successful. Their practices spread outside of the organisation to family and friends as well across different generations.  People reported a greater sense of health and wellbeing as a result of feeling part of something bigger.

So, what’s your flavour?  What’s your personal environment saving/nurturing/re-use and recycle passion? How are you spreading the word with your clients, friends and family? John Watson and I are keen to hear from you as we look to establish a focal point for everyone’s efforts around climate change in WCoMC, and yes, we really do mean everyone.  Interested?  Do get in touch.


Sue Ells

 Sue Ells, a member of the WCoMC Court of Assistants and a member of the WCoMC Membership Committee.

Tuesday 29th June 2021
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