Personal, Organizational, and Planetary Flourishing

close button

Sustainability is articulated both as great challenge and great opportunity. It can lead to resignation and cynicism or the experience of fulfillment and purpose in one's life. It can be bothersome or daunting, or highly motivating and life-giving. It is both a threat to humanity, and a profound opportunity to express our humanity.

Authentic Sustainability explores various pitfalls of sustainability, or recurring conversations in the sustainability discourse that correlate with the experience of being stuck. It explores why we get stuck in pitfalls and how we can escape them. It points out how advocates for the "flourishing of human and other life forever" undermine that flourishing in the way we engage with people every day. It reveals some persistent tensions and ambivalences we all experience that generate paradoxes of sustainability beneath the pitfalls. When we distinguish these pitfalls and underlying paradoxes, we can identify them in our lives and our conversations, and are then free to explore pathways out of and around what would otherwise remain latent traps.

Our intention is for these pathways to lead to greater freedom, volition, authenticity, integrity, and effectiveness and that they will contribute toward a transformation of the sustainability "movement" or dialogue - to support the flourishing of our lives in the pursuit of the flourishing of all life.

We are transforming the sustainability discourse, one conversation at a time.

Authentic Sustainability is a project to research and share how individuals and organizations transform complexity and tension, inherent in the pursuit of a flourishing planet, into drivers of creativity, innovation, and individual flourishing. We unlock limitations in sustainability communication and help craft new pathways forward to effectively generate the change you wish to see in the world.

Learn More

close button

Our Research Work

Sustainability is articulated both as great challenge and great opportunity. It can lead to resignation and cynicism or the experience of fulfillment and purpose in one's life. It can be bothersome or daunting, or highly motivating and life-giving. Through on the ground fieldwork in many organizations, we explore the relationships and possible pathways between micro level flourishing of individuals, flourishing of organizations and communities, and at the macro level, a flourishing planet. We research how people powerfully navigate the tensions between personal, business, and social goals. We investigate how individuals within organizations mobilize others, develop coalitions, and access key decision makers when they are implementing sustainability initiatives within and beyond an organization. And, we study how sustainability initiatives support or subvert the thriving and flourishing of everyone involved. Contact us if you would like to receive research publications or if you are interested in being an organizational participant in our research.

Our Organization Work

It is often said that the pursuit of planetary flourishing can generate tremendous benefits for the organization, yet our experience is often the contrary.

Do you find that the pursuit of sustainability appears relegated to a smaller number of sometimes frustrated individuals, clamoring for change and bumping up against others who seem indifferent or opposed?

Do you find your company oscillating between commitments to social responsibility and reaffirming the bottom line?

Are you noticing other companies developing more creative innovations for sustainability than your peers believe possible in your organization or your industry?

Do you find yourself making positive claims about your organization to which others, or even yourself, respond with skepticism or cynicism?

Authentic Sustainability combines years of consulting experience with the latest research to architect and implement sustainability initiatives that unlock employee flourishing, engagement, creativity, and innovation. We help people create authentic alignment between personal, organizational, and societal ambitions that give rise to powerful stakeholder communications, a high-involvement culture, and enduring mission-driven organizations.

Organizational engagements are custom tailored to your needs and range from a half day workshop to a several day transformational strategic planning, culture, and stakeholder communication design session. Contact us to explore how Authentic Sustainability can contribute to the flourishing of your organization and everyone it touches.

Our Education Work

At some point, every one of us has contemplated more environmentally sustainable ways of living and working, from simple acts like recycling a soda can to bigger changes in business strategy and public policy. However, when we try to have a conversation about our ideas, someone has branded us as a "holier than thou" jerk, or we have refrained from speaking or acting because we worry they might. We get stuck and only maybe later notice that we had a choice in the matter.

Our pedagogy guides emerging sustainability leaders through and around various pitfalls of sustainability, or recurring conversations in the sustainability discourse that correlate with the experience of being stuck. It explores why we get stuck in pitfalls and how we can escape them. It points out how advocates for the "flourishing of human and other life forever" undermine that flourishing in the way we engage with people every day. It reveals some persistent tensions and ambivalences we all experience that generate

paradoxes of sustainability beneath the pitfalls. When we distinguish these pitfalls and underlying paradoxes, we can identify them in our lives and our conversations, and are then free to explore pathways out of and around what would otherwise remain latent traps. Our intention is for these pathways to lead to greater freedom, volition, authenticity, integrity, and effectiveness and that they will contribute toward a transformation of the sustainability "movement" or dialogue - to support the flourishing of our lives in the pursuit of the flourishing of all life.

Through train the trainer workshops and supportive materials, we train and support faculty around the globe to empower their students. Faculty interested in using our work should contact us to learn what future offerings we may have available near you.

Our Work

Hands Together Icon

Consulting

We work inside organizations to transform the complexity and tension, inherent in the pursuit of planetary flourishing, into drivers of creativity, innovation, and employee flourishing.

read more
Search Icon

Research

Our experts conduct research that explores the communications, relationships, and pathways that align individual, organizational, and planetary flourishing.

read more
book icon

Education

We develop and support higher education curriculum that enables sustainability leaders to effectively engage and create the change they envision while supporting their own flourishing and the flourishing of those around them.

read more
Get in Touch

Partners & Clients

Sustainable Brands logo RILA logo Sustainable Green Printing Partners logo Green Biz logo whole foods logo pwc logo byron logo bose logo grantham logo sustainability initiative MIT logo

Who We Are

Jason Jay

Jason Jay is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Director of the Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan. His personal mission is to help people to connect the truth within to the truth outside — to realize a life of meaning and positive impact in an era of profound global challenges.

His perspective on sustainability comes from hiking in Boulder, Colorado and the Himalayas; from becoming part of his wife's family in West Bengal, India; from his teachers and students at MIT; and from being a father and reluctant consumer in the suburbs. Dr. Jay directs the strategy and implementation of the MIT Sloan School's goals toward including sustainability content in the curriculum for all students, and building a community of innovators for sustainability. He spearheads the Initiative's fundraising efforts and engagement with industry and policymakers. He co-teaches the flagship "S-Lab" sustainability projects course, and leads executive education programs on sustainability for MIT. His research examines how people navigate the tension between personal, business, and social goals in sustainability efforts. Prior to MIT, Jason was a management consultant for Dialogos International, where he consulted on leadership development and organizational change for major international corporations and NGO's including BP and the World Bank. Jason holds a Ph.D. in Organization Studies from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and an AB and M.Ed from Harvard University. He lives in Newton, Massachusetts.

Read More

Gabriel Grant

Gabriel Grant is a 15 year sustainability consultant, co-founder and director of the Byron Fellowship Educational Foundation, and a doctoral candidate at the Yale Center for Business and the Environment and Center for Industrial Ecology. His consulting, research, and non-profit endeavors are in service of fulfilling his dream of all life flourishing together, through people experiencing their life as a calling.

His perspective on sustainability comes from growing up in an electric car family on a mission to transform the world and our home community, which was at times referred to as the rust belt. His learning continues in partnership with his clients, and the world class change leaders he mentors through Byron Fellowship. He has worked with and coached thousands of sustainability leaders, including directors of sustainability from Fortune 500 companies and other major brands representing a diversity of sectors that include: social entrepreneurship, transportation, energy, consumer products, information and communication technology, financial services, residential development, and cultural institutions. Gabriel's research at Yale explores the relationships and possible pathways between micro level flourishing of individuals, flourishing organizations and communities, and at the macro level, a flourishing planet. Gabriel holds an MPhil in Leadership and Sustainability from Yale University, an MS in Ecological Systems Engineering from Purdue University and a BS in Physics. He lives in Seattle, WA, with his wife Sarah, daughter Ariana, and puppy dog Delft.

Read More
Read More
left arrow rigt arrow

"In our community of sustainability professionals from Fortune 500 companies, we have seen common challenges as we work to engage people in our organizations and beyond. Authentic Sustainability brought a sense of humor to the difficult task of discussing the business value of sustainability -- reflecting on where we've stumbled and setting our members on a pathway to high quality conversations for successful engagement. This could make a real difference in making sustainability efforts inviting and effective."

- Gib Hedstrom, Program Director, Sustainability Council - The Conference Board

"I had gotten stuck with a VP of my company, as I repeatedly proposed a change of course for a major project. In the workshop, I saw that I had been arrogant and overbearing in these conversations, and decided to try out something new. Literally the next day, a bargain was struck.

- Brent Segal, R&D executive, Lockheed Martin

"This exceeded my highest expectations. The work gave me profound insights around my professional goals and challenged my personal beliefs."

-Froylan Hernandez-Ruiz, Senior Attorney, The Nature Conservancy

"It turns out that the best way to improve conversations about sustainability (or anything else) is to go deeper. Not deeper into the subject matter, but deeper into yourself so that you better understand how to overcome your own personal barriers to better communication. These insights are already helping me at work and at home."

- Scot Case

"Authentic Sustainability provides key tools to address difficult conversations in work as well as life."

- Jason Metnick, Senior Vice President, Sustainable Forestry Initiative

"I learned the importance and power of planting a seed in each and every sustainability conversation.""

- Roman Smith, Director - Sustainability Operations, AT&T

"The reality is that sustainability is all about change, and making change creates difficult conversations. Authentic Sustainability provides a positive, open and honest way to have these difficult conversations that both maximizes effectiveness and strengthens relationships."

- Ali Ahmed, Senior Manager, Workplace Resources, Global Energy Management and Sustainability, Cisco Systems

"Authentic Sustainability was a stellar workshop for our constituents who are sustainability professionals in retail and consumer products companies. Participants powerfully reflected on how they think and talk about sustainability -- and found ways to be more effective in their roles."

- Adam Siegel, Vice President, Sustainability & Retail Operations, Retail Industry Leaders Association

Stay Connected

Sign up here to stay informed.
Let us know a little bit about yourself and how we can serve you best.

    Check all that apply