The Four P’s of Sustainability


The Four P’s of Sustainability

Recently, in the work I have been doing, I have needed to consider how to assist with making the projects I am involved with sustainable.

As this work has been in the community development space, where there can be a lack of financial resources or competition for them, I have had to think about sustainability from more of a structural and process point of view rather than only from the money side of things.

I have realised that some of what I have learned through this kind of thinking is applicable not only to community development but also to business as well. When running a business, there can be abundant times as well as lean times as we all know. When I look at both businesses and community organisations, I see that there is a lot of common ground in terms of sustainability. I have noticed that the successful ones look not just at the money but beyond it as well and create structures that can adapt and weather the storms of change.

Show me the structure baby; sustainability is not just about the money.

So, let me share with you the four Ps of sustainability that I have observed that can assist with creating the potential for building lasting structures:


  • Find the right people to move your project or business forward as many hands and minds can make for lighter work and new ideas.
  • Don’t be afraid to invite people on board.
  • Also allow some space for those who arrive without being invited, as sometimes these people are the unexpected gems that can help make things come together.


  • Look outwards to find people to collaborate with.
  • They can fill gaps where we lack the skills and resources.
  • They can also look at things from an outside perspective and identify that which we cannot immediately observe.


  • Believe in what you are doing, sharing this energy will attract others to join in or collaborate.
  • Build passion in others though valuing their work, their ideas and sharing in on the responsibility and outcomes.
  • Be a role model to others as this will be in service to building your vision and sharing your passion. 


  • Get clear on your purpose and outcomes as this is both helpful for yourself and those that you have drawn to your project or business.
  • Build a structure that is in service to your strategic plan, and include others in this process, let them participate in building this as that can increase their buy-in and commitment.
  • Don’t forget to be organic and allow some space for change through doing things such as allowing space for other opinions, debriefing success or failure and then having the courage to implement new ideas so as not to lose your momentum.

All of these things seem self-explanatory and straightforward; however, they can easily be forgotten when we get busy or caught up in our own ideas. When we find ourselves onto a good idea, we can find ourselves getting one-minded and miss important pieces for building our sustainability. We need to remind ourselves that our success is not usually just built on solely ourselves.

Tap into your passion and get clear on your purpose and then it will be easier to attract partners to help you build and people who can assist with taking you to the next level with their work, ideas and shared commitment.

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  • Chris Morris

    Thanks Sebastian – useful food for thought

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