eco ramblings

a dialogue with an Eco Patriot

Taking Stretch Goals Too Far

Posted by Luke on April 8, 2010

I consider myself goal oriented, and I definitely like to have a stretch goal in place.  As a child, my stretch goal was to play in the NBA.  I didn’t quite achieve that one – white men can’t jump, as the movie goes. 

Recently, I’ve been seeing an abundance of press releases by companies publicly declaring sustainability goals, often times stretch goals.  On one hand, I think that’s great.  It will create accountability if the public is watching.  On the other hand, these announcements are often used as branding stints.

I’m perplexed by the latest sustainability goal a major company just announced.  See if you can guess which one I’m referring to.

  • Starbucks’ goal to make all of their cups either reusable or recyclable by 2012
  • Frito Lay shooting to be zero landfill by 2020
  • Sony Corp. striving for a zero environmental footprint by 2050

The first two are definitely big goals, but the timeframe to achieve them are in the relatively near future which makes them feel like real, attainable goals.  The last one – Sony striving for zero environmental footprint by 2050?!  Really?  2050?  Now, that’s out there.  I hope I’m alive in 40 years.  I like the ambition to have zero environmental impact; it just seems odd to me that a company would make such a big deal publicly about a goal for 2050.  We don’t know what the world will be like in 40 years.  The internet didn’t become a part of everyday life until 15 years ago, less for most people. 

I’m going to start taking wagers.  Can Sony do it?  Will Sony even be around in 40 years?  If they are around, will the management team still want to pursue it? 

Thinking optimistically, I think they can do it.  I wouldn’t have the same level of confidence in many other companies who set this goal, but Sony is pretty world-class.  I just hope the media, their shareholders, and consumers hold them accountable since they are making such a big deal out of it.   Maybe this will convince the entire electronics industry to follow suit.

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