An elevator speech for Regenerative Business

At a networking event the other day, we were talking about business sustainability.   Somebody asked me what I’d say if I found my ideal CEO client next to me in an elevator.  


One great tip I work with (from Bill Jensen’s Simplicity Survival Handbook) is about being clear in your communication.  Do you have the answers to these questions:

  1. What do you want the person to KNOW?
  2. How do you want them to FEEL?
  3. What do you want them to DO?

This is what I’d like business executives to know, feel and do about sustainability.

I want business executives to know that…

  1. Behind the fog of mass media messages about crisis, cost and carbon trading, smart sustainability is fun and exciting. Done strategically, it’s full of great business growth opportunities.   “environment=cost” belongs way back in the past along side “the world is flat” and “we can’t afford quality”.
  2. At the level of business strategy, profitable sustainability is straightforward.  There are 7 simple principles that have the potential to deliver major business and environmental improvements.  You don’t need an MBA or a degree in environmental science – just the ability to set directions and get results.
  3. Set clear honest goals, build your organisation’s resource literacy and the work will do itself.   Give your people the opportunity for more meaningful work and get out of the way.

I want business executives to feel..

  • Excited about the career and business opportunities of learning to do regenerative business.
  • Relieved that “this sustainability thing” will be much more than  another onerous compliance obligation.
  • Curious about the new strategies and practices that will emerge in their organisations.

I want business executives to…

  • Start to learn about regenerative business – the straightforward principles behind the opportunity side of sustainability.  Who’s making money from achieving 50%-80% resource usage reductions?  How are they doing it?
  • Start to build resource literacy levels  in their organisation.  The more people who understand their environmental footprint, the more people they’ll have enthusiastically looking for solutions. 
  • Start to set goals for win/win/win results.  Tell them where you want to be in 8 – 10 years and turn your people loose to work out how. 


Leigh Baker is an organisational coach specialising in business sustainability and the author of The Deep Green Profit Handbook.  She teaches the influencing and communication skills that increase the effectiveness of sustainability practitioners and advocates.

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