Tolerance for other business sectors by CSR / Sustainability professionals

You might have heard or read on this blog that my life has changed dramatically over the past year. We have gone from A to Z in terms of changes in our lives as a family. I will not go into detail here but we totally changed our life’s to say the least.

A a consequence of these changes, we decided to move back to Germany at the end of 2010 to start a new chapter in our lives.

I took over the family business next to my own business and Anne, my wife, recently started her new job as a Senior Manager at Accenture in the Sustainability Services team here in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Over the past weeks I had several interesting and in a way eye-opening conversations with CSR / Sustainability friends about the new role running the family business. And with eye-opening I mean, that these conversations basically went this way.

  • Person 1: So what do you do now?
  • Me: Oh, next to my own CSR / Sustainability business I run a business called PMM Services together with the rest of the family. This business is very different to what I did over the past years but in the end it is business and a vehicle to earn money to feed the complete family. I am also passionate about this topic as I helped found the company around 12 years ago and feel strongly about the necessity of this service we provide.
  • Person 1: (after taking a minute to look at the site): Hmm. I am not so sure about this business to be perfectly honest Fabian. I really did not think you would do this kind of thing. Defense you know……..
  • Me: What do you mean?
  • Person 1: Well, being in the defense business and all. I really need to have to think about this Fabian. Hmm…….

The conversations usually then went on to focus on other topics but the tone really changed in most conversations from that point on. I felt that this association with the new business in a way shocked people to say the least .

But what is there to be shocked about? We as PMM Services assist the German Army to properly train their staff so that they can defend German soil and their own as well as allied troops the best way possible. Someone needs to provide this service and we as a business have provided this for 12 years now.

The lesson I learned from this so far is that it is important to stand up for the changes you do in your life. No matter what they are. In my case the changes might be quite drastic but I always thought that CSR / Sustainability people in particular had a high tolerance for different points of view and would not judge as quickly as they did in many conversations.

This is a new challenge for me and my family and just because it is not necessarily CSR / Sustainability related does not mean that I am a bad influence for some people all of the sudden. My point of view has not changed and will not change either. CSR / Sustainability is what I believe in. End of story. And it is your decision whether you would like to further have contact with me or not.

I am not sure whether this is how you will react when you read this but I would be much interested in your point of view on this topic.

 

Picture Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/codepinkalert/2426602356

Latest poll: What, in your view, is the biggest trend in CSR this year (2011) so far?

I thought it was time for another CSR and Sustainability related poll. In this week’s poll I would like to know what in your view can be identified as the biggest trend in CSR during 2011 so far.

This is the CSR poll question:


I will have a closer look at the results next week when the poll is closed. Thanks for your help in voting.

So what do you think. What is the biggest trend in CSR during 2011 so far?

Busy times

Here is a short update for everyone that wondered what the hell I have been doing over the past months. Despite all good intentions I am still not able to update my blog on a regular basis each week in turns out.

These are the things I am doing at the moment to give you an idea how I spent the available time during the week.

Professional

  • Integrating two businesses (the family business and my own) in order to get the best possible outcome for everyone involved.
  • Getting to know a whole new business including its products, markets and individuals.
  • Trying to find a solution what to do with SustainabilityForum.com.
  • Coordinating the next development steps for TheEnvironmentSite.org.
  • Preparing for my upcoming speaking and workshop arrangements.

Private

  • Getting used to living back in Germany with all its different cultural challenges (Something I really underestimated….).
  • Looking after and educating two adolescent dogs (a lot of fun but also very time consuming despite making huge progress)!
  • Supporting my wife with her new professional challenge in life (a great new opportunity).

And a zillion other smaller things not worth mentioning which life provides you with….. But be assured that I am trying my best here to get back to my regular updates. It just might take a little more time as I expected several months ago.

Have a good start to the new week everyone.