What’s the Difference Between Sustainable and Thrivable Organizations?

What’s the Difference Between Sustainable and Thrivable Organizations?

Impact investor Christian Novak experiences an aha moment

When Christian Novak asked two CEOs how much money it costs to operate as a thrivable organization the response led to him experiencing an aha moment.

The CEOs were surprised at the question, explaining that they may spend more money but that’s not what they care about — it is about managing the company in a way that makes the world better, Christian recalls.

This led Christian to realize thrivable organizations don’t even think about the cost involved with operating the way they do — it’s “just natural.”

Christian Novak

The conversation took place March 16 at a Montreal gathering entitled “Investing in Thrivable Organizations: How can we use money to serve life beautifully?” The event attracted people from social finance, the thrivability movement and a local thrivability community of practice.

During the gathering, cohosted by Cambium Consulting founder and thrivability thought leader Michelle Holliday, Christian says he wasn’t seeing a big difference between “thrivable” and “sustainable” organizations. But afterward, he realized there is a tweak.

Christian — an impact investor who works with other impact investors and organizations seeking investments — says the difference relates to a commitment by company leaders to operate in a way that improves the world, rather than being neutral.

This means investors who find it appealing to invest in a sustainable organization should find thrivable organizations even more attractive, Christian says. But investors are still going to ask how much more money is being spent through this way of operating, he adds.

Christian says it is important for people involved in impact investing to understand different levels of impact. For example, a high level would be investing in an organization that has a clear intent to sell products or services that make the world better.

“I have been in the world of impact investing for more than 15 years, even before they called it impact investing, but there’s always room to keep on learning. And to me (the gathering) was a very nice learning experience,” Christian tells Axiom News, adding he is now talking about thrivability with sustainable organizations he works with.

Publicizing thrivability more would make it more appealing for impact investors who are in that extreme mode of commitment to sustainability, he says.

“In the world of impact investing there’s so much that needs to keep on evolving. There’s indeed a huge growth in the last couple of years, starting from a non-existing asset class — but there’s a lot more that needs to keep on growing.”

Related Story:
Gathering Explores How to Use Money to Serve Life

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Writer Bio

Jennifer Neutel's picture
Jennifer Neutel

Jennifer Neutel is a Story Advocate and Generative Journalist at Axiom News. She completed her Bachelor of Journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa in 2006, and joined Axiom News in 2007. She has taken on a variety of roles at Axiom including new social media intiatives and has a passion for creating strengths-based questions that can lead to positive change.

Contact Jennifer: jennifer@axiomnews.ca, or 705-741-4421 ext. 26.

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