Virtually every company on the planet, if they haven’t already, will soon have to tackle the challenge of sustainability. Most companies approach the subject with fear and trepidation. They wonder how much they’ll have to compromise to achieve the minimum standard of compliance, and they fire up the PR machine to cast their current efforts in the best possible light. Others think that the best they can hope for are cost savings from reductions in materials and energy consumption.

But they’re missing the big picture: sustainability is an opportunity, not an obligation. The new mandate emerging in business today is not simply a demand that companies make more environmental versions of their existing offerings or to save money by using less energy. It’s an invitation to reinvent their business in a way that’s minimally disruptive, authentic, and even inspiring. Far from being a new cost center, such a process of Natural Reinvention can help companies push into new opportunity spaces, eliminate businesses that are waning, and increase customer devotion.

The key is to refocus on growth in value, not volume. How do you do that? Find out what people really need, and then create amazing ways to meet them. Technology has a role, but it’s the human factor that drives the growth of sustainable business. Companies that view sustainability as an opportunity for reinvention, focus on the needs of real people, and start transforming themselves today will win in the years to come.

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