A Dramatically Expanding Scope of Awareness

1 May 2014

This is the 150th weekly post to the Jera Sustainability Blog. Now, as with the first post three years ago, the essays that comprise this blog are intended as a resource for smaller manufacturing business units that choose to pursue Sustainability.

For the purposes of these essays, “Sustainability” means thriving in perpetuity.[1] As used here, “thriving” means consistent success as a business entity in a rapidly changing global economy driven by diverse human needs. As a practical matter, “perpetuity” begins now and zooms out  [2] through the next several decades.

The essence, for those who manage smaller manufacturing firms, is that the scope of affairs that require constant management awareness is expanding dramatically. Once, management could truly focus on working in the business — on the many tasks associated with production; shipping today’s orders out and bringing tomorrow’s in. Today, the global business environment is increasing dynamic, such that much more management’s time and attention is required working on the business, coping with an accelerating rate of change.

Context for Going Forward

The following three essays provide some context for the situation smaller manufacturing businesses face today. You can expect future essays to elaborate on the global business environment as it evolves. You can also expect some suggestions for coping with a relentlessly expanding scope of business demands.

3P Graphic>>
Double Take on the Triple Bottom Line — This essay describes the relationship of industry (manufacturing, plus agriculture and mining: producers of “stuff”) to the natural world and to humanity. Humanity, speaking globally, views industry as the primary despoiler of the natural world. Humanity is also the source of demand for that which industry produces. And humanity expects industry to provide the principal means by which humanity can acquire industry’s products. Sound convoluted? It is. Read the essay at:


A Wager on Manufacturing — A major business consulting firm projected that American manufacturers will recover between two and a half and five million jobs by 2020, due to increased global competitiveness. Others, including me, think not. A Wager on Manufacturing looks at global competitiveness from the prospective of smaller manufacturers — which this essay holds are different in kind from larger manufacturers, not just different in scale. Read the essay and place your bet:


4 Change Drivers Graphic>>
Four Change Drivers — The global business environment is changing in several dimensions. Four Change Drivers rather arbitrarily assigns these dimensions of change into four groupings: Globalization, Sustainability, Technology and Demographics & Trends. [3] Each of the four groupings, taken individually, has significant ramifications for manufacturers. But they can’t be taken individually — they interact! The essay expands on these dimensions of change:


Looking Ahead

In May, this blog enters its fourth year of essays. The number of people who take time to read these essays has increased consistently over the first three years. If present trends hold, it appears that, during 2014, this blog may host a hundred thousand reads. I am humbled.

Chuck - Blue SweaterThoughtful comments and experience reports are always appreciated.

…  Chuck Harrington

: Contact me when your organization is serious about pursuing Sustainability … CH

This blog and associated website (
www.JeraSustainableDevelopment.com) are intended as a resource for smaller manufacturers in the pursuit of Sustainability. While editorial focus is on smaller manufacturers, all interested readers are welcome. New blog posts are published on Wednesday evenings.



[1] Adam Werbach, Strategy for Sustainability, Harvard Business Press (2009), page 9.


[2] These essays frequently use a camera’s zoom lens as a metaphor for shifting attention between a big picture zoomed out view of affairs (which provides the context necessary to prioritize) to a tightly focused, zoomed in view (where effective actions can actually be taken).


[3] For more on the population demographic, see “Age Invaders, a briefing on demography, growth and inequality”, The Economist, April 26th – May 2nd 2014 issue, page 23f.