In a strategic move to enhance their sustainable influence, The Natural Step US, an early advocate for harmonizing profitability with environmental responsibility, is set to merge with the Cascadia Green Building Council. The union aims to empower both non-profits to thrive in the increasingly competitive landscape of corporate sustainability.
This collaboration will see The Natural Step’s central team integrate into the Portland office of Cascadia, renowned for its initiatives in green building advocacy, including LEED training workshops, lectures, networking events, and publications. The merger aligns The Natural Step’s emphasis on corporate culture with Cascadia’s focus on sustainable building practices.
Jason McLennan, Chief Executive of Cascadia, expressed enthusiasm about the expanded mission, asserting, “You can’t get to the place we’re hoping to get to without affecting both the corporate world and the built environment, so it really seems like a great fit to take a more integrated, holistic approach.”
While Cascadia gained prominence with initiatives like the Living Building Challenge, surpassing LEED standards for net-zero energy and water, The Natural Step faced a dip in its U.S. presence. Regina Hauser, Executive Director of The Natural Step, clarified that the organization was not at risk of closure but recognized the potential for cost-saving synergies by aligning with a larger entity.
Founded in 1989 by Swedish doctor Karl-Henrik Robèrt, The Natural Step developed a philosophy focused on averting ecological degradation. The organization spread its principles through educational retreats, books, and international chapters, becoming a pioneer in promoting sustainable business practices.
The move into Cascadia signifies a strategic shift for both organizations and mirrors the evolving corporate mindset regarding environmental practices. The emphasis has transitioned from viewing efficiency as philanthropy to recognizing it as a viable business opportunity.
Hauser highlighted the transformative role of The Natural Step, emphasizing their focus on providing a framework for a mindset shift rather than offering incremental how-to solutions. She acknowledged the competitive landscape posed by private firms but emphasized the collective goal of driving changes toward sustainability.
This merger is not just a consolidation of administrative functions; it reflects a broader evolution in corporate thinking about sustainability. Both organizations share a vision of sustainable places and companies, employing a strategic approach called backcasting, envisioning the desired end result and mapping out the path to achieve it.
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