Sustainable Development Goals to achieve by 2030

Sustainable Development Goals

There is an accelerating trend for corporate sustainable reporting, including a powerful set of institutional investors who are pushing to REQUIRE such reporting as part of due diligence. Higher education has developed its own standards for sustainability reporting through the STARS program developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. The federal government has pushed agencies to begin developing sustainable reporting for performance.

The late Ray Anderson, founder and CEO of the world's largest carpet tile manufacturer, Interface, tells of his own conversion and the changes his company began in his "Mid-Course Correction." Different industries are developing their own benchmarks, while labeling and certification systems are proliferating: there are currently more than 200 eco-labels. In all this seeming chaotic activity there is opportunity for enhanced performance that will put industry leaders ahead of laggards. If you are looking to become more profitable--financially, socially, and environmentally--I can help.

Don't worry about where you are on this road. Starting Now can make this journey a more positive one for you, your stakeholders, and the community.

The rise of sustainability - which looks at the social, environmental and economic impacts at the same time - has been driven by a number of forces. Climate change (IPCC 5th Assessment) and the decline of most of our global ecological systems (UN Millenium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005), growing population (7 billion+), and growing inequality both globally and nationally are forcing investors, governments, and engaged citizens to rethink how we build a more stable, just, and environmentally sound future. There is no one school of thought on how to do this, but more and more research is showing the benefit of planning and preparing for triple-bottom-line performance to ensure enterprises can continue into the forseeable future and not bankrupt or destroy life-support systems for future generations.

In late 2015 the 193 nations of the United Nations agreed that together we needed to address 17 areas for improvement and we set measurable goals for all 17 to be achieved by 2030. These goals are now collective a working definition of sustainability.

Sustainable Development Goals to achieve by 2030

Sustainable Development Goals

The UN, all 193 nations, agreed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals to achieve by 2030. I’d like those goals to have a prominence on the page. There is a good image we can use of the goals here: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300. I think we should take the current lead focused on my talk a couple years back, down and shift to the SDG’s. In a sense all efforts should address them.

There is an accelerating trend for corporate sustainable reporting, including a powerful set of institutional investors who are pushing to REQUIRE such reporting as part of due diligence. Higher education has developed its own standards for sustainability reporting through the STARS program developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. The federal government has pushed agencies to begin developing sustainable reporting for performance.

The late Ray Anderson, founder and CEO of the world's largest carpet tile manufacturer, Interface, tells of his own conversion and the changes his company began in his "Mid-Course Correction." Different industries are developing their own benchmarks, while labeling and certification systems are proliferating: there are currently more than 200 eco-labels. In all this seeming chaotic activity there is opportunity for enhanced performance that will put industry leaders ahead of laggards. If you are looking to become more profitable--financially, socially, and environmentally--I can help.

Don't worry about where you are on this road. Starting Now can make this journey a more positive one for you, your stakeholders, and the community.

I work with my clients from the outset to help you identify your key values across a triple bottom line. I am interested in working with organizations, businesses, government agencies, schools and colleges that have strong values that cut across the social, environmental and economic spheres. Each organization will have its own hierarchy of values; there is no magic universal value set. So we begin from where you are. After performing a values clarification with you, we determine what measures we will use to track performance across those values. Collaborating with the client, I base these measures on what other state, national or international entities are using but can develop independent measures that the client believes can help grade the performance.

For example, we might use measures from the Green Restaurant Association or Thimmaka Institute or other sector tools for restaurants, or perhaps the Green Press Initiative for printers or publishers. Or we might seek other sources of performance measures that cut across industries, like the Global Reporting Initiative.

Below is a sample Values Clarification checklist we can use or adapt.

Values Survey

Please rate how important each value is to you.

 

Environment

    Very                               Less

Important    Important    Important     Neutral 

 How important is:              

Reducing greenhouse gases                                          O                  O                     O                  O 

Reducing solid waste                                                    O                  O                     O                  O 

Reducing production and use of hazardous materials          O                  O                     O                  O 

Preventing pollution                                                      O                  O                     O                  O  

Conserving water                                                          O                  O                     O                  O 

Animal welfare                                                              O                   O                    O                   O 

Preserving biodiversity                                                    O                   O                    O                   O

Organically grown produce                                              O                   O                    O                   O 

Locally grown food                                                         O                  O                     O                   O             

Maintaining sustainable fisheries                                        O                  O                     O                   O

                                                

Humanely raising livestock                                                O                  O                     O                   O 

Using renewable energy                                                  O                  O                     O                   O 

Preserving forests                                                           O                  O                     O                   O

 

Economic

    Very                               Less

Important    Important    Important     Neutral 

 Providing living wages                              O                 O                 O               O

 The size of the wage gap between highest and lowest paid employees  

                                                            O                 O                 O               O

 Making a healthy profit                             O                 O                 O               O 

Paying full tax obligation                             O                 O                 O               O 

Sharing profits with stakeholders                 O                  O                 O              O 

Providing equal opportunity for women        O                 O                  O              O

Providing equal opportunity for people of color  O                 O                  O              O 

Contributing to the community                 O                 O                  O              O 

Providing employee benefits                  O                   O                 O               O 

Clean legal record                                  O                   O                  O               O

Support fair trade                                    O                   O                  O               O 

 

Social

    Very                               Less

Important    Important    Important     Neutral 

 Employee health and safety                   O                O                 O               O   

Work place diversity                               O                O                 O               O 

Environmental training                           O                 O                 O                O 

Full disclosure/transparency                    O                 O                 O                O 

Employee privacy                                  O                 O                 O                O 

Employee involvement in decisions          O                  O                 O                O                     

Employee training and education            O                  O                  O               O

"Terry Link is one of the world's great thinkers when it comes to sustainability. He has been my mentor for decades and I learn from him every time we meet. I have watched him work with all kinds of people and organizational perspectives, helping to facilitate successful shifts to the triple bottom line of sustainability. Terry's work has great depth and quality and is delivered with a  sense of humanity that benefits all in contact with him."

Dr. Debra Rowe, President, U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development

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 "I have known Terry Link for nearly thirty years,  watching him  tirelessly pursue a wide-array of environmental and social issues, eventually moving on to lead “green initiatives” for Michigan State University and later as the head of the Greater Lansing Food Bank.  Terry has also worked as an elected county official, operating with great effectiveness in what could easily be termed as an occasionally hostile environment to some of his environmental concerns. In these, as well as many other related endeavors, several aspects of Terry’s efforts are worth mentioning.  First, he is a voracious reader and learner, always seeking additional options and perspectives regarding challenging issues.  Second, he is amazingly adept at crafting creative solutions that find common ground between competing viewpoints.  Lastly, while engaging in issues that are frequently polarizing and sensitive, Terry has always approached contentious situations with an eye toward finding a middle ground from which to move forward, and never stooping to personal attacks regarding the motivations or perspectives of others.

As Terry Link moves into the arena of offering his extensive knowledge in the area of sustainability, I would encourage businesses and organizations with an interest in these matters to seriously consider utilizing his expertise.  His experience and demeanor make him an ideal choice for assessment of this important operational element."

Clifford H. Haka, Library Director

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“There is no one better at this work than Terry Link. He approaches projects with an extraordinary level of dedication, passion, and commitment. Multi-talented by nature and experience, he is adept at assuming different, often incompatible roles--as statesperson and advocate; as scholar and practitioner; and as sage and worker in the trenches. For these and many other reasons, I hold him in very high esteem--a colleague who does exceptionally good work on behalf of, and for, people. A person of impeccable character, you can do no better than Terry Link.”  

Frank Fear, Senior Associate Dean, Michigan State University

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"I know Terry Link from his time as director of sustainability on the Michigan State University campus, and from his more recent work with a regional food bank.  I can witness to his firm grasp of sustainability issues, as they affect the visions and actions of individuals, households, organizations, and communities.  I can also witness to his effectiveness as speaker and writer, as facilitator of conversations among diverse constituents, and as a citizen.  Any group that seeks his counsel through Starting Now will perceive its values and its way forward more clearly."

Scott Russell Sanders, author of A Conservationist Manifesto and many other books

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"Terry Link has unparalleled knowledge and experience in making sustainable real. Businesses and organizations that turn to him can be confident he will help deliver results that will be good for the bottom line, in all sense of that term."

Dave Dempsey, 30 year environmental professional and author of On the Brink: The Great Lakes in the 21st Century.

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"I have worked on sustainability projects with Terry since the late 1990s including the creation of the Central Michigan Sustainable Business Forum, where he was a founding board member representing Michigan State University.  During these years of collaboration, I found Terry to  possess a deep philosophical understanding of sustainable development issues and yet have that rare talent to also be practical in his approach to implementing effective triple bottom line initiatives.  He possesses a quiet, steady and strong talent for improving human and ecosystem well-being and is one of the few leaders in the field I look to with respect."

Bill Stough, President/CEO, Sustainable Research Group, LLC

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"Terry Link is a highly intelligent, engaging, passionate individual with a wealth of skills which includes a deep knowledge regarding sustainability.  Terry is excellent at facilitating diverse groups towards sustainable solutions.  He is committed to effecting positive change and will work tirelessly to achieve identified goals."

Lynda Boomer, Chief Energy and Environmental Engineer, Michigan State University

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“Terry Link inspires people to work together collaboratively and effectively.  Drawing on solid experience, keen insight, and a well-honed sense of humor, he helps those he works with embrace a common vision to accomplish crucial work. Terry’s ability to see possibilities where others see problems resulted in significant improvements in our community’s food banking system. He is the consummate bridge builder, bringing creativity and passion to all he does. I recommend him unequivocally.”

Melany Mack, MSW,Director, Public Health Services (Retired) Ingham County Health Department

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 “Terry Link and I co-taught a sustainability class together for several years for the Honors College, with an emphasis on an objective assessment of alternatives for positive changes.  Terry has an incredible grasp of sustainability issues and has a practical approach to researching, evaluating, suggesting, and implementing alternatives.  He shows respect, listens to all views, assembles all opinions, and communicates effectively.   Of importance, is that Terry also practices what he advocates so he understands his recommendations.”

Steven I. Safferman, Ph.D., P.E., Associate Professor Michigan State University, Department of Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering

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“Terry Link is one of those rare individuals who truly embodies his commitment to his values of respecting environmental sustainability and social justice. As a doctoral student I worked with Terry on the campus sustainability project at Michigan State University. He has the ability to oversee the small details while keeping the big picture context in place, and under his leadership the university transformed to more sustainable practices.  One of Terry’s great skills is communication. His passion for making the world a better, cleaner, more equitable place comes through in his presentations and writing.  He authentically sees what is possible, and then works to make that a reality - and in doing so he is an inspiration for positive change.”

Annelise Carleton-Hug, PhD., CEO Trillium Associates 

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"I know of no one more committed to the transition to sustainability than Terry Link, and I respect and admire the tenacity and integrity that he brings to his work. Without hesitation, I endorse his holistic approach and resolute dedication to the kind of meaningful social and economic change that is necessary to achieve sustainability in a dynamic society. Mr. Link brings both a scholarly and pragmatic approach to his professional practice that complements his years of experience in the design and implementation of institutional change in organizations both large and small. His knowledge and expertise in the identification, measurement, and assessment of the elements of organizational change, real prosperity, and betterment are grounded in a strong personal character that values inclusion, honesty, and participatory processes in decision making."

Robby Richardson, MSU, Assistant Prof. of Community Agriculture, Resources, and Recreation Studies

 

“I have had the distinct pleasure and remarkable intellectual stimulation of engaging with Terry Link over the past decade or so within the context of learning for sustainability. I have also had the privilege of counting him within my circle of close friends. He is among the most personable authentic and genuinely committed individuals that I have ever encountered. Terry's contribution to the discourse of sustainability as an ethos to guide the way that we ought to live our lives has been as outstanding as it has been persistently longstanding.  Even more to the point perhaps, is the exemplary manner by which he has illustrated the expression of that ethos into practices across a number of different domains of human activity from personal development through to organizational transformation. I can think of few more important endeavors than that which he is proposing with 'Starting Now' nor few more appropriate persons to launch it.”

Richard Bawden, AM PhD, Emeritus Professor, University of Western Sydney, Visiting Professor, Open University UK, Fellow and Director, Systemic Development Institute

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“Terry’s leadership has helped transform people, classrooms, organizations, and communities.  In each initiative I’m familiar with, participants feel very much a part of the success, as in, “We did this together.” Terry provides a rare combination of vision, humor, and common sense to all collaborative endeavors – whether a policy change, a major construction project, or a casual lunch. For decades, Terry has been, and continues to be, a role model, an inspiration, and an agent of positive change for our entire Grand River Watershed."

LeRoy Harvey, Recycling and Solid Waste Coordinator,  Meridian Township

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“I have had the pleasure of working with Terry Link as a member of the Greater Lansing Food Bank Board of Directors.  As Executive Director of the GLFB, the gift that Terry provided the Board and the members of the community in need,  was a vision of how things could improve, how all the players in this human service safety net  are connected and what steps were needed to ensure that no one in our community went hungry.   His commitment was one hundred percent and that fueled the energy with which he connected all the dots. Terry is a pleasure to work with as he emphasizes the positive and lets everyone know that they are a necessary piece of the whole. Terry’s commitment to sustainability and making this world a better place to live, work and play is unquestionable.”

Leslie Brogan, Greater Lansing Food Bank Board Member

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“I have had the advantage of working with Terry on a variety of projects, from the creation of the Food Systems Workgroup working to provide everyone with access to safe, healthy and affordable food to planning the Growing Our Food System:  Nourishing Our People conference. The conference would not have been possible without Terry’s ability to recognize opportunities and best practices for program planning, logistics, networking and finance.  Terry has a knack for envisioning smart strategies along the ability to manage their execution.  Lastly, I must comment on Terry’s overall character; he is passionate, caring, knowledgeable, ethical, kind, committed and just plain fun to be around.  I have no doubt that every project in this world would benefit from just a moment of his time. “

Joy Baldwin, Food Systems Project Coordinator, Northwest Initiative

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“Terry’s commitment to sustainability begins with the understanding that sustainability is not a product, a method, or an end in and of itself. Rather, it is a journey, undertaken thoughtfully, which can characterize any person’s or organization’s approach to the issues that face them. Terry is not afraid to address these issues, no matter how large or small; as someone who studies organizations in a school of business, I am amazed at Terry’s ability to both recognize and advocate for sustainability in any size or structure of organization. “

Rich Grogan, PhD., Assistant Professor of Management, Antioch New England University 

"Terry conceived and fought to create MSU’s highly successful Office of Campus Sustainability. The campus has made sustainability a genuine consideration in all activities and building construction today because of Terry Link’s tireless, intelligent, foresighted and good natured campaigning and cajoling. He brought these fine skills and his deep caring for his fellow humans to bear in leading the Greater Lansing Food Bank, a large and critical operation for Lansing’s less fortunate citizens. The common thread should be evident: Terry Link is a highly intelligent, capable and deeply caring person who has chosen a life path of helping others find a more positive and sustainable future."

Tracy Dobson, J.D., Professor Emerita, MSU Fisheries and Wildlife

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"Terry Link is the most socially conscious person I know. His contributions to the people of greater Lansing are many and significant in the areas of creating sustainability, developing and promoting the local economy, and providing food for those in need of help. His accomplishments reflect an exemplary commitment to the community, a keen analytical mind, and a genuinely affable and gracious personality."

Stephen Lacy, Michigan State University Professor and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences

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"Terry's decades of experience managing sustainability programs, conducting research, leading programs, creating organizations, designing conferences, managing organizations and his  service and commitment to community are but some of the reasons he was selected as Executive Director of the Greater Lansing Food Bank. And it is those skills and experiences that will directly help those organizations, businesses, agencies that will be calling on him for assistance. As a board member serving during his tenure at the GLFB, and knowing of his successful and creative wortk at MSU, I know he is the best person to assess organizations' sustainability values and help guide them into putting into practice solutions to improve their performance and realize increased successes. His ability to listen, understand, evaluate, measure and guide will be invaluable to organizations of every type and size that seek to improve their bottom line by the social, environmental, and economic measures that are part of every successful venture."

Roy Saper, Saper Galleries

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"Terry Link is one of the most ethical, honest and knowledgeable people I know in the field of sustainability and green practices and applications.  It has always been a pleasure to work with him and I have always appreciated the synergy that comes out whenever we had meetings with him.  I count myself blessed to know him."

Sissi Bruch, PhD., Community Planner, County Commisoner, Port Angeles, WA   

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“Based on my extensive interactions during his tenure as the Director of Campus Sustainability at Michigan State University, three characteristics that  represent Terry Link to me are, highest sense of personal integrity, total commitment to sustainable values, and a remarkable capacity to engage and motivate a variety of people.”

Satish Joshi, MSU Associate Prof. of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics

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"In 'Starting Now, LLC', Terry Link combines his pioneering local experience in building sustainability with a values-driven approach to assessment and planning to assist organizations in moving toward triple-bottom line performance. We welcome and appreciate Terry's innovative approach to help organizations identify practices and opportunities for improvement that reflect sustainability ideals."

Joan Nelson, Director, Allen Neighborhood Center

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"Terry Link made the case for an Office of Campus Sustainability at Michigan State University, and he became its founding director.  Drawing on his past life as a librarian, Terry has a knack for connecting good ideas with good people.  Working with key actors around a university the size of a small city, he played a key role in nudging it toward major changes in recycling, transportation, energy conservation, and the kinds of behavioral change that enable progressive change."

Scott Swinton, Professor of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, MSU

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"When sustainability was a little known word and a lesser known concept, Terry Link provided the nexus for joining like-minded, progressive, and advocates into a more cohesive environmental-oriented unit from among the ranks of the American Library Association. He was one of a small handful of persons that brought the Task Force on the Environment into being, as one of several groups in ALA’s Social Responsibilities Round Table. More so, Terry, shepherded this fledgling group of librarians on a journey of more than 20 years of advocacy and sharing. Terry’s vision and planning laid a strong and solid foundation on which the Task Force on the Environment is grounded."

Fred Stoss, Associate Librarian for the Biological Sciences, Environmental Science and Study, Geology, and Mathematics, SUNY University at Buffala

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"Terry approaches his work from a very personal level.  Not only does he study and advocate for sustainable systems, he lives his life around its core beliefs.  There is no better testament to someone’s understanding of an issue and ability to translate ideas into action than someone who “walks the walk and talks the talk.”

Stephen Troost, Campus Planner, MSU

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