Sustainability's Intent

Make a public statement of commitment and you feel bound to uphold your reputation by meeting the commitment. Studies of mindfulness show that intention and determination make a large positive difference in one’s capacity to achieve stretch goals and do complicated work. Commitment counts. Declare you want to lose weight and you start paying attention to things you missed before: what you eat and the exercise you do—Weight Watchers employs this basic behavioral characteristic. Alcoholics Anonymous works on a different problem using the same principle. Most first-time home buyers probably achieved their goal after making some kind of intent to save, such as committing to a regular direct deposit to a savings account. Nothing good comes without some kind of resolve to obtain it.

After Darden declared its goals for environmental sustainability, people began surfacing new ways of doing things that are consistent with our initiative. At a reception a student showed me his beer cup: it had a symbol indicating a plastic based on recycled cellulose—leaders in our food service area made the decision to start purchasing environmentally-friendly service materials. My nonpareil assistant, Lee Pierce, called for a taxi to take me to the airport. Waiting at the curb was Go Green Transportation (, an environmentally-friendly hybrid automobile transportation service. Dwight Ledford founded the company eight months ago and boasts a range of clients in little Charlottesville. Like the early bulbs in the first signs of spring, little choices like these promise to blossom into something bigger.

Talk isn’t always cheap. Expression of intent creates an important initial shove to a strategic initiative. Our task at Darden is to build on this momentum.

Posted by Robert Bruner at 05/08/2008 08:53:40 PM

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One Response to Sustainability's Intent

  1. mandy says:

    dean bruner, thanks so much for your thoughtful post and your support of darden’s sustainability initiative. with the passion and support emerging for our school’s objective, my bet is that we’ll be a net-zero school well before 2020!
    Posted by: mandy ( email | visit ) on 02/14/2009 10:02 AM

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