Sustainability Symposium Recap: Sandra Waddock

Missed the Sustainability Symposium? You can watch recorded sessions, including Waddock’s “Reset: Changing Mindsets and Paradigms in a World of Wicked Problems.”

Sandra Waddock is a widely published Boston College professor who has devoted her professional career to understanding how to develop an economic system that values life—not just wealth.

At Green Builder Media’s 6th annual Sustainability Symposium, Waddock spoke on the necessity to fundamentally rethink economics and how businesses operate under the false paradigms existent in society. 


“We are all in this world together, and we need to start acting like that actually matters.”

She mentions how cultural mythology shapes our attitudes on what the world is and our role as humans on earth. Stories matter, and flawed stories really matter, especially when they have been indoctrinated, Waddock insists. They shape our attitudes, decisions, and behaviors. 

Many crises in today’s world that are not readily dealt with due to these false narratives. Moreover, flawed stories have resulted in our society not coping correctly with these wicked problems. Waddock describes them as wicked problems since they are “intertwined, there is no easy beginning or ending, they are dynamic, and are very difficult to solve.” 

Climate change is a wicked problem because many stakeholders are involved, and there are no clear boundaries. Waddock explains how our neglect is threatening human civilization and has aided in breaching five of the nine planetary boundaries.

Waddock presses that it is time for a reset. We need to orient our economic system towards life. Towards one that regenerates nature, recognizes indigenous wisdom, acknowledges vulnerability, and “allows for dynamic, economic and social innovation to provide an inclusive and equitable framework for building that new economics based on the diversity of local economies.”

“When organizations develop strategies that are both life-affirming and economically beneficial, the outcome is connectedness, circularity, and enhanced collective value,” Waddock asserts. 

Watch Waddock’s presentation to learn more about flawed stores that have shaped western culture and our economic system, and the shifts needed to redefine the narrative.

Watch her talk here

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