The Resource Revolution Trainer

Coupling Sustainability with Excellence. An online self-training guide for business.

SESSION 5: Organizing yourself to become the Resource Revolution Enterprise


Session 5 looks at how to get yourself organized as a Resource Revolution Enterprise. This involves moving from the product and service focus to enterprise, its processes and overall performance. It also points to the Ecosystem stage of the Zeronauts (Elkington), including the use of the business ecosystems or clusters, for example geographical or sectoral clusters, horizontal (e.g. parks) or vertical (e.g. value chain). The session suggests operating principles and the ability to operate as network organization with productivity talent mobilized in innovative ways. Performance measurement and reporting requires alternative approaches that effectively integrate the new data of productivity metrics.


Support Materials:

[wds id="5"] Click here to download the PowerPoint presentation

Click on the image to download the pdf


Founded in 1975, Spanish clothing retailer Zara is part of the Spanish multinational clothing company Inditex. It provides a classical example of combining centralized and decentralized management through clever use information technologies and functioning as network organization. Zara founder Amancio Ortega was convinced that waste could be greatly reduced through what he called “instant fashion”.   One of the early important decisions he took was in favour of vertical integration, which is often necessary for resource breakthroughs. Zara was to involve the whole process from design, procurement and manufacturing to sale stores. The next important decision was to use ICT and have ongoing, bottom-up feedback from customers via store managers. This means that an industry traditionally programmed in terms of annual seasonal trends suddenly had a producer that adapted clothing throughout the season based on consumer preferences in different countries. This among others enabled more efficient operation of inventories and reducing the waste of surplus stocks.  By 2015 Zara was introducing more than 18,000 designs each year and producing them within an average of three weeks. Since 2007 its parent company Inditex has also been rolling out a programme of Eco-efficient Stores.
Reflect on the following questions and discuss with colleagues in your company:

  1. In how far does your business share Standard Operating Systems (SOSs) with business partners to improve performance and reduce waste? What points would you suggest to your Chief Operating Officer to make improvements with the goal of radical resource productivity improvements in mind?
  1. In your business, is vertical integration required for making radical resource productivity improvements? How effective is your company in operating as a network organization, combining centralized and decentralized approaches?
  1. Does your company have the necessary measurement and reporting systems in place to deal with relevant resource use metrics, including ecosystem services for which market values may not exist? How do or would you (and your peers) report externally on decoupling and your use of Natural Capital?
  1. Prepare for a meeting with both your human resources and marketing departments to discuss the in-house availability of talent and possibility for participatory innovation in defining Resource Revolution opportunities for your business.
  • Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, Trucost (2014) Impacts of the Cradle-to-Cradle Certified Products Programme – Technical Report. San Francisco, London: C2Ccertified and Trucost
  • Gleeson-White, Jane. 2014. Six Capitals, or Can Accountants Save the Planet?: Rethinking Capitalism for the Twenty-First Century. London: W.W. Norton & Company.
  • Lundvall, Bengt‐Åke. "National innovation systems—analytical concept and development tool." Industry and innovation 14.1 (2007): 95-119
  • Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute -