Helen Green

Plastic: changing hearts and minds

Picture a pebble rolling down a hillside. It may have little or no effect, rolling onwards until it slowly loses momentum and winds to a halt. But if that pebble hits another and another then the effects can be dramatic, shifting the slope and creating a permanent change on the landscape.

Now turn your attention to plastic. Led by a charge on single-use plastic bags and a ban on micro-beads the pebble had started rolling. Then it intersected with a single television programme, Blue Planet 11, and the consequences are now impacting businesses in myriad ways. This posts a challenge for business leaders. On the one hand they need to listen and respond not only to customer voice but also to the prevailing social landscape. On the other they have to consider the long term viability of the business and to ensure that whatever change they introduce will not of itself have unintended consequences.

This then is a time for leadership and for vision, for creating the conditions in which change can flourish whilst simultaneously keeping a guiding hand on the reins to ensure that change for change’s sake doesn’t create its own adverse impact. It’s also a time for dialogue, for sharing and working with customers, suppliers and others in order to reach a common goal. Hearts and minds may already be looking for change; how that change is managed and delivered can have a lasting impact.