Andrea Learned

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The Atlantic Conversation

The Atlantic recently published an interview with me that included some good questions on trends and innovation in sustainability. Here’s an excerpt:

What’s something that most people just don’t understand about your area of expertise?

How thinking big about the connections of cultural trends, consumer behavior research, and other-things-that-don’t-seem-to-relate-at-all can give meaning and help build momentum for even the smallest individual sustainable business steps. For example, the sustainability efforts of, say, a brewery in Kansas can become a more compelling story when tied to local agriculture and responsible water use.

What’s an emerging trend that you think will shake up the sustainability world?

A new focus on developing relational traits — like communications skills and empathy — in business leaders. Pay as much attention to these as we do to the usual linear trait suspects and you’ll see the leadership paradigm shift before your very eyes. (I was just researching this for a thesis, so it’s fresh in my mind.)


If you haven’t come across them before, the entire series of The Atlantic Conversations is inspiring.  There are a lot of very cool people out there doing meaningful, sustainability-forwarding work.  It was an honor to be included.