Welcome to the Integral Sustainability Center

By: Barrett C. Brown

You have capacities within you that are phenomenal. If you only knew how to release them. – David Bohm

David Bohm’s quotation both deeply inspires and slightly irritates me. I know the magnificence of human and societal potential; it’s teeming everywhere I look. And I wrestle with how we can more rapidly unlock, catalyze, or create the conditions for the significant transformation that is needed to create a thriving global society and flourishing natural world.

Surely there is no model or formula to accurately describe who we are, what is happening in the world, and to guide us collectively into a bright future. The change underway is more dynamic and nuanced than any computer simulation could represent, and more complex than any rational mind can handle. Regardless, I know that there is critical work we can do now to support the emergence of a future we all want.

That work is at the heart the Integral Sustainability Center. The Integral Sustainability Center engages at the intersection of human and societal development, working primarily with leaders in business, government, civil society, and academia. Our vision is to help leaders and change agents develop the awareness, capacities, and skills needed to cultivate an unprecedented flourishing of humanity and nature. Our focus is twofold: (1) Leader and change agent development, and (2) practical application of innovative lenses and tools to support systemic shifts toward greater sustainability.

For leaders and change agents, we aim to develop the cognitive, emotional, physical, and interpersonal skills required to respond effectively to the wildly complex economic, environmental, and social issues worldwide. This Center is a platform for building new ways of thinking, being, and engaging that are needed to navigate through the turbulent, uncertain – and potentially transformational – times to come. By drawing upon rigorous scientific research and field-tested practices, we help leaders shift to more sophisticated and effective ways of strategically scanning, designing change initiatives and interventions, and successfully leading them to completion.

There are thousands of leaders and change agents who already use some variation of an integral approach to advancing companies, organizations, cities, governments, and systems toward greater sustainability. These include: political leaders such as Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and Al Gore; corporate leaders like John Mackey from Whole Foods, Marcelo Cardoso of Natura, and Rene van den Berg from IBM; and current and past leaders from intergovernmental institutions like Robertson Work from UNDP (now with NYU Wagner) and Fernando Soares Bretas from the Inter-American Development Bank. Many others use it in organizations as diverse at the The Hub, Costco, Interface, the Sierra Club, the US EPA, Rabobank, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the Government of the Maldives.

This site focuses on the eight principal areas in which these leaders work: Leader & Change Agent Development, International Development, Climate Change, Governance & Economics for Sustainability, Corporate Responsibility, Sustainable Design & Building, Urban & Community Development, and Sustainability Education. If you work in any of these fields, this is a platform designed to accelerate and deepen your impact, and help you to release your own phenomenal capacities.

On this site, and through the programs we offer, you will find powerful tools and processes for individual and systemic change. Just as importantly, you will also encounter a community of advanced practitioners who will challenge, inspire, and support you, and who hunger to learn from your own leading edges. I welcome you.

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