Get In Touch
WuYi Plaza, Galana Road
3rd Floor, B5
Work Inquiries
Ph: +254 722 457 777

EI and Sustainability


Paving the Way for a Better Future: The Synergy of Emotional Intelligence and Sustainability:

“Fostering environmental awareness requires a deeper connection with nature, driven by emotional intelligence and empathy towards the natural world” – Dr. Dalai Lama

In the recent past, I have been having conversations around the Housing levy with fellow professionals in the architectural space and really thinking about how this well-intentioned initiative could be more sustainable. The debate has been on how we can have expansive conversations and develop frameworks that make this idea effective, beneficial and sustainable. And it made me think of sustainability and how EI plays a role.

In the face of pressing universal challenges, such as climate change and environmental issues, the need for sustainable practices has become more crucial than ever. Sustainability has revolved around Key issues that have been identified as crucial to a more successful future. This has been around Environmental issues with the topics here being Climate Change, Resource Management, Biodiversity, Ecosystems, Waste Management and Pollution. They have been around Social issues like Labour Practices, Human Rights and Community relations. And lastly dipping into the Governance issues that will enable the practice around sustainability be it at the Boardroom, Executive Management or Shareholders. How Transparent, Diverse, Independent and Ethical are they and what Governance structures are in place to support them.

These salient ESG issues reflect the growing recognition that sustainability and responsible business practices are essential for long-term value creation and risk management. Investors, consumers, employees, and other stakeholders are increasingly demanding companies to address these issues to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable and ethical business practices.

When we look at the breadth of what it encompasses, Sustainability is not then solely dependent on technical solutions or policy changes. It really requires a fundamental shift in human behavior and mindset. Unlocking the potential for creating a harmonious and a resilient future for our planet requires a bit of restraint, a lot of reflection and expansive thinking.

Mother Nature isn’t waiting for us. It will merely proceed with what it deems best. After all, we are but a small speck in the grand scheme of things. Realizing this is as scary as it is freeing.

Research suggests that individuals with higher levels of emotional intelligence, enhanced problem-solving abilities, decision-making skills, and relationship building competencies are definitely a much-required benefit to the process. Consider the following.

1. Reflecting on the growing recognition that sustainability and responsible business practices are essential for long-term value creation and risk management, it will be essential to facilitate skills transfer on Expansive thinking. This skill has the following benefit

  1. a. Individuals with high EI are more likely to exhibit open mindedness and a growth mindset. They are receptive to diverse perspectives, willing to challenge their own beliefs, and open to learning from others. EI fosters self-awareness, which allows individuals to recognize and overcome biases and limitations that can hinder expansive thinking.
    b. Expansive Thinking and Sustainable Solutions: Expansive thinking is essential for developing sustainable solutions to complex challenges. Sustainability requires innovative and transformative thinking, moving beyond traditional approaches and considering multiple perspectives. Expansive thinkers are more likely to identify creative solutions that balance environmental, social, and economic considerations. They are willing to explore new technologies, business models, and collaborative approaches to address sustainability issues effectively.
    c. Overcoming Resistance to Change: Expansive thinking helps individuals overcome resistance to change, which is often encountered in the pursuit of sustainability. Sustainable practices require a shift in mindset, challenging established norms and behaviors. Expansive thinkers are more adaptable and resilient, embracing change and viewing it as an opportunity for growth and improvement. They can navigate uncertainty and setbacks, finding new pathways toward sustainable outcomes.
    d. Collaboration and Stakeholder Engagement: Expansive thinking plays a vital role in fostering collaboration and stakeholder engagement, which are crucial for sustainability. It enables individuals to value diverse perspectives, actively listen to others, and seek common ground. Expansive thinkers are more likely to engage in constructive dialogue, bridge differences, and build consensus around sustainable initiatives. They are receptive to feedback, open to partnerships, and capable of building trust among stakeholders.
    e. Continuous Learning and Improvement: Expansive thinking is closely tied to continuous learning and improvement, core principles of sustainability. It involves an ongoing process of self- reflection, seeking knowledge, and adapting behaviors. Expansive thinkers embrace feedback and use it to grow and refine their understanding and actions related to sustainability. They recognize that sustainable practices are dynamic and require ongoing learning and adaptation.

2. Fostering Environmental Awareness: EI helps individuals develop a deeper connection with nature, leading to increased environmental awareness and empathy towards the natural world. This heightened sense of interconnectedness encourages small sustainable actions, such as reducing waste, conserving resources, and supporting environmentally friendly initiatives. This could mean that, each day, we are continuously contributing to better Management of the environment by raising an individuals EI level.

3. Encouraging Pro-environmental Behaviors: “Emotional intelligence allows us to understand the underlying emotions and values associated with sustainable actions, empowering us to make informed choices for long-term ecological well-being.”; – This Observation from Dr. Marc Brackett gives a bit of insight into how emotions, beliefs and values shape our interaction with nature. Raising our awareness enables individuals to recognize the emotional and psychological factors that drive their behaviors and perhaps examine this deeper.

We can Empower ourselves and others as we forge a path toward a more environmentally conscious and resilient future by recognizing the interplay between emotions, behavior, and sustainability, says Dr. Rajendra Pachauri (1940-2020). He was an Indian economist and environmental scientist who gained international recognition for his work on climate change and sustainability. He served as the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from 2002 to 2015.

Building conversations around awareness of this EI and its competencies, training ourselves and others in EI and having conversations on its fundamental effects on these issues is crucial if we are to achieve the ESG objectives and keep the Wins that have been made. We can support the ESG initiative from a Micro Level to support the ‘Big Picture’. For it is the little ‘big’ actions that result in the big changes.

Vicky Karuga is the Managing Director of Profiles International EA, A leading firm in the provision of psychometric assessments and Emotional Intelligence assessments and Training programmes in the Pan African Region.

Profiles International EA
Profiles International EA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *