I was having coffee with my wife on Sunday morning last week when we discussed which new car we would get. Sunday mornings, by the way, are the perfect time for fanciful discussions like this. 

It is on Sunday mornings when you read the Food Supplement in the newspaper and come across a delicious looking recipe for “sticky rice-stuffed aubergine with spring onion and cucumber salad”. And believe, honestly believe, that you will one day make this dish for your family and friends. 

It is on Sunday morning when you tune into the radio and listen to a lifestyle expert explaining the do’s and don’t of wearing double denim and go into the loft and fetch out that jacket you had as a teenager, thinking it might still look good. 

It is when you sit with your partner over a cup of steaming coffee and discuss, with abandon, what car you should get. This is because Sunday mornings are for dreaming. 

You can forget about the Earth’s increasing temperature. You can, guilt-free, stay in your pyjamas for breakfast and lunch. It is on Sunday morning, where you can be as laidback as you like, where you can convince yourself, just for a few hours, that everything is going to be absolutely fine. 

My name is Andrew Sillitoe, and in this week’s blog, we will be talking about how to save the world and other achievable goals. 

Thank you for reading!

So, my wife and I were having a coffee on Sunday morning, discussing our next car. Now, I have a little confession to make, and I feel safe with you all, so I will tell you. My last car was a Range Rover. Yep. I have decided to call this blog “How to save the world,” written by the former owner of a 4 litre Land Rover/Range Rover. Here is a shortlist of how I tell myself that is ok. 

1) I really loved it. And love is essential for human happiness. Love is a fundamental human right, and I loved that car. 

2) Before any of you start getting angry at me, I want you to know I didn’t drive it that much. I drove it maybe three or four thousand miles a year in it. Hardly anything, I think you’ll agree. And so that is ok, right? Yes.

3) I really loved it… Ahhh I’ve said that already, have I? Ok…

4) I live a very environmentally focused life. I recycle, I reuse, I eat locally where I can. I don’t fly often, and I just really loved that car. 

But now, I am no longer the owner of a Range Rover. I miss it. And I am looking for a new motor. 

Naturally, over coffee, my wife and I took part in some classic blue-sky thinking in the kitchen. As a business leader, I know the importance of “the skies the limit” thinking, but it is also my job to be the firm but a fair voice in the room. The one says, “that’s a great idea, but I am not sure it will work for us this time.” In business, we call that leadership. My children and, on occasion, my wife says it is me “ruining their fun”. 

When it comes to the car discussion, perhaps my wife and I were both ruining the fun. We realised that maybe we didn’t need the newest, shiny-est car on the planet. We live in Prague, a city that has great public transport links. A city that allows us to walk and walk safely to local amenities without needing state of the art, 0-60 in the blink of an eye-type-vehicle. So why do I still really, really want one?.. Perhaps, despite my awareness and best efforts, I still fall victim to that Sunday morning, thinking…that I can be the person I want to be with a few simple changes to my life. Perhaps I, Andrew Sillitoe, can have it all. 

We have a family friend who has it all. He has a lovely family, a dog, a fast car, designer jackets and a job that financially and intellectually satisfies him. Maybe my yearning for the Range Rover is a yearning to be more like my friend, someone who has, on the surface, everything he could want, but to misquote The Streets, “my gosh, doesn’t he know it”. 

When my wife and I discussed our next car, we fell into those old habits that die hard. We were thinking about those heavily advertised cars with slogans that are a few words away from promising everlasting happiness if you switch from one car company to another. 

But suddenly, we were shocked out of our dreamy state. I don’t know what happened exactly, but I suddenly had this realisation, like a lightbulb moment in a cartoon or an “Aha” moment in an Oprah Winfrey episode. 

We suddenly remembered the old adage that “a Range Rover does not happiness make” I can’t remember who said that. Maybe it was Shakespeare. We also remembered, perhaps because it was creeping towards Sunday afternoon, which famously is the bringer of dread rather than dreams, that the world is indeed getting warmer. 

Although we are only one family, we are responsible for ensuring that if we want our family and others to inhabit this planet we call home for years to come, it is probably time to start considering alternatives.

Yes, we had to sell our U.K. car and get a new one for our travel in Prague, but we also had to Czech ourselves. I should tell you, reader, that this joke is entirely for my benefit because it is a spelling joke where I have written C.Z.E.C.H. instead of c.h.e.c.k. The only thing worse than a joke that needs to be explained is a joke that needs to be explained. After all, it is a spelling joke. You’re welcome. 

But now I have a serious point to make. If we want to save humanity and achieve the targets set for 2050, we need to strip things back, keep them simple, and sacrifice some of our luxuries. The same goes for my work. Before 2020, clients flew me to New York to speak at one-day events.

I love New York and loved being flown there for work, but I realise that our leadership courses can be delivered virtually and achieve the same results, saving money and time and reducing my (and my clients) carbon footprint. 

And as much as I miss singing “Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today…” to my family as I pack for my trip, I can still do the work I need to do remotely. As leaders, we are responsible for making decisions that benefit the future and save the planet.

We need to think about how to make our businesses more sustainable. We need to start listening to those who include “human survival” as their business strategy. I need to start being one. In many ways, I think I am doing my bit, but I also realise that my bit needs to include “always doing more” as a business leader.

Of course, my new car won’t make a huge difference, but it has allowed me to notice that opportunities to improve are everywhere. The idea of having it all is nothing without the acknowledgement that we have everything to lose. And as business leaders, yes, we still need to encourage blue-sky thinking, but we also need to try and protect those blue skies. 

This blog is called “How to save the world”, and I don’t have all the answers, but I have the first step: it is simply to want to save the world. Know that your actions have an impact and know that you have the power to make a difference.

My name is Andrew Sillitoe, this has been The Andrew Sillitoe Show, and I am proudly going to get the bus home. 

Thanks for reading my blog, and thanks to our sponsors at “Land Rover” for making this episode. I’ll see you in court. 

Please let me know what changes you are making as a leader to create a better future for our children.