2020 is a year transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences. The past year influenced the way people live and perceive life and has brought profound changes to our society, to how people interact with one another, how they work, how they live their daily routines, and how they consume. It has created new economic and social scenarios and has shown, at a global level, that people and organizations need to adapt and adopt more conscious practices aligned with environmental claims.

It is in this scenario that December approaches and Santa Klaus start to prepare a Christmas a bit different than the traditional one. Concerned about the needs of the world and what Christmas represents, he has decided to transform his operations and to adopt more sustainable practices to create a Christmas that is not only magical but also responsible, that can bring a spark of joy and hope to the whole world.

For Santa Klaus, implement such changes with limited time is only feasible because he knows his whole business is built around a solid purpose (“Put a smile in every childrens` face”) that is shared not only among the elves and reindeers that are part of his team but also the kids that wait, year after year, for this magical time.

As soon as he decided to implement new practices, Santa Klaus’s started to share these ideas in meetings with all the magical creatures. He asked everyone to join the discussion and share their own thoughts. Some were a bit sceptical about it, but their concerns were hea`rd. They shared solutions, organize working groups, and through their collaboration, agreed on a new strategy for the 2020 Christmas.

The biggest challenge was in the production chain. It was time to adopt more sustainable practices that would affect not only Santa and his team but also everyone involved in it.

The first decision was to create a new center for the reuse of toys. At this new facility, the elves, through their magic, would transform and give new life to old toys, contributing to the circular economy. The elves also decided that this would not be something to be done once per year. They wanted to build a reference center and be responsible for recycling toys from all over the world, during the whole year.

The second decision involved big changes in Santa’s supply chain and production. First of all, he decided to support all of its suppliers to adopt more sustainable practices, so he could keep purchasing from them. That includes the use of ethically resourced and recycled materials, the implementation of new technologies to make processes more efficient, and less use of natural resources. The elves would help the suppliers to implement these changes, which would bring huge value for these organizations through the whole year to come. The managers were thrilled to have the opportunity to adapt their business to the new economy, with more conscious practices that not only increase the value of the final product - environmentally friendly - but also minimize and reduce the costs in the long term. A win-win for all involved.

Then, instead of centralizing the whole manufacturing process in the North Pole, Santa decided to search for local producers to manufacture the toys. He assigned a team to identify and map local producers everywhere in the world to be responsible for the product confection. The suppliers would ship their materials directly to these producers, using a new distribution channel magically created by the reindeers, and, on Christmas eve, Santa would collect and redistribute the presents all over the world.

Besides that, Santa has decided to use only renewable energy in his facilities, took special care of installing new mechanisms and technologies to assess the use of natural resources - such as water - and kept studying and finding new ways to improve his business for the better on the next years to come.

And with the presents, he also decided to leave a handwritten note for his customer kids: “I need a favour from you: keep reminding mum and dad that they do need to take care of the Planet for you to live!”

2020 has been a year of changes. Of re significance and adaptations. Of trying to make sense of things happening around us and of developing new paths. This short story aims to showcase how purpose can enable change, how organizations can act to adopt more sustainable practices, and to remind us of the beauty and joy that there still exists in the world.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Natalia Cantarino
Researcher & Communications Manager
Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics

This article refers to edition #67 of the "Have a Great and Impactful Week" Newsletter.
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