Chairman and CEO, Casella Waste Systems, Inc
For several American generations over the last two centuries or so, our national mythology has conditioned us to think–no limits. In particular, no limits to the resources we thought necessary to build a booming nation, bursting with opportunity, abundance, and technological triumph.
But, to bring ourselves to the next level in meeting our environmental and energy challenges, clearly we must wake up to the idea that there are limits, and the idea that our natural resources in particular are finite.
Our entire economy is undergoing a shift towards rewarding ideas and innovation that foster the sustainability of finite raw materials and resources. Where in the past we were content to simply consume, consume, consume these resources, I am seeing a new paradigm for growth and opportunity in our ability to transform, conserve, and sustain these resources. If, of course, we first accept the idea of limits. From a personal perspective, I know this to be true in the way I look at our business. I came to this conclusion: we’ll grow by helping to solve the problem of the world’s limited resources.
All of our problems are centered around resource limits–natural, environmental, capital, human, and so on. All of our opportunities–profit, growth, contributing to society–come from our willingness and ability to solve those problems.
How do we get to the next level? By being more innovative, and by being willing to leave old paradigms behind–whether they be outdated public policy approaches or traditional business mindsets. Either way, we have to be significantly more creative and assertive in engaging this problem of finite, limited resources.