Aviarc Corp.

Aviarc Corp.

Chief executive


The biggest changes in our industry may be coming about because of widespread changes in the way people think about the balance between long-term interests and short-term gain. In recent years we have seen dramatic acts of terrorism, war and shocks to the U.S. economy from financial scandals that were fueled by pressure for short-term results. In response to these and other recent events, many of us are adopting a longer-term perspective, focusing on our children and future generations.

People are increasingly aware of the need for sustainability, which the U.N.'s 1987 Bruntland Report defined as "development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Or as "Fortune" magazine says, sustainability "is about building an economy that generates wealth while helping to save the planet."

As individuals we understand this and it is reflected in the way we spend our time and money. Companies that stay close to their customers are watching a trend toward sustainability emerge. Industry leaders such as Ikea, Nike, Home Depot and Starbucks have been focusing on sustainability for some time. These, and many other like-minded businesses, are our customers. They look to their logistics providers to further the sustainability agenda. Industry participants that recognize this trend, and help advance it, will emerge ahead.

None of the companies identified above tried to change overnight; the only drastic change was in their thinking. These particular companies adopted a framework called the Natural Step to evolve more sustainable practices at a manageable pace. Companies that have adopted such frameworks have discovered that their new business practices make them more efficient and profitable and, more importantly, reflect the long-term interests of their customers.

This is an ideal time to start paying attention to sustainability. As we make changes necessary for homeland security, we have a unique opportunity to also shift toward sustainable business practices. Companies that do this well will carve out an advantage in the marketplace and help pave the way for future generations to meet their own needs.