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The Infamous Silver Bullet

February 23rd, 2023

The Infamous “Silver Bullet” for Sustainability

Genuine sustainable practices are complex to conceptualise and implement. Here lies the common problem amongst us who are working to impact a greener future. It isn’t easy. Much frustration seems to commonly lie in the undefined yet famously spoken about “Silver Bullet”.


Some of the Bradley team attended the first National Sustainability Summit, run by Premier Publishing & Events on Thursday February 22nd. There was an array of speakers from all kinds of businesses and industries sharing their solutions, their services, but also the pain points they have encountered and identified as we move forward into uncertainty. It seems we are all guilty of trying to find the “silver bullet”, as this phrase echoed the bounds of the exhibition space and speaking stages. Thankfully, in recognition that the pursuit is not a viable solution.


It is easy to get caught in the buzzwords and forget about identifying the actionable steps we need to take. We can get overwhelmed by the pressure we put on ourselves, the feeling that we need to change everything about our operations and start over. This, of course, is not the case. The National Sustainability Summit pooled together thoughts from many industries to see a way through it.


“We are in a Renaissance state” when it comes to sustainability.


Prem Kumar of IBM noted “We are in a Renaissance state” when it comes to sustainability. We are developing innovations which are overwhelmingly outside of our previous known realm of possibility. It is up to individuals to take the innovations that can be meaningfully implemented by us and to leverage them to create a lasting impact on our planet.


Our knowledge pool is growing and we are opening our eyes to the complexity of the issues at play. Biodiversity was on the lips of many on the day. It is quickly becoming a new core focus on people’s minds when it comes to establishing a greener future. Noted by James Butcher, CEO of Supply Pilot, biodiversity is not as easily explained or measured as carbon is, which is the simplest explanation as to why it has not held our focus heretofore.


It’s okay to admit that we can tire of the term “sustainability”.


It’s okay to admit that we can tire of the term “sustainability”. We throw it around so much and in so many contexts, it can be hard to have it feel real or actionable. Reframing sustainability as “resource efficiency,” as James did, gives us a new lens and a new opportunity for understanding and realising the steps forward.


Ultimately, the concept of the “silver bullet” is appealing but waiting for someone to identify it is just not realistic. It is becoming clearer that instead, companies need to take a considered and comprehensive approach that is tailored to their individual operations. We need to take into account the systemic changes needed to create a sustainable future, and how we can best influence them.


We can all hope for better days but as Stephen Prendiville of EY aptly described it, “hope without action is delusion”, and delusionary practices won’t keep the earth spinning.


So, we take hope forward and take action now for resource efficiency. 


Bradley has Three Simple Steps in being more Sustainable in Business – a great kick start if you’re not sure where to go from here.


Nicole Kirwan

Brand Consulting Executive


Image – Premier Publishing & Events