There is a movement afoot, which is a ray of hope in our very bleak-looking environmental future.
The degradation and destruction has gained momentum due to systems created by humans. In our lifetime the consequences are beginning to be felt. We find ourselves at number 99 in a downward spiral. Natural resources are being depleted faster that they can be replenished.
“The focus on profit being king has caused significant negative, unintended consequences. For over a century and a half cheap labour, damaged lives, a destroyed planet and polluted seas were all irrelevant when set against the need for profit. But this is changing.” So says one of the kings of business, Sir Richard Branson in his latest book, “Screw Business as Usual.”
Over the past ten years businesses worldwide have started waking up from the delusion that it’s OK to focus on money über alles.
Integrating social & environmental strategies
The future profitability of business depends on integrating social and environmental strategies into the core of our business strategies, says Branson.
With a world view second to none, one of the richest people in the world and owner of over 300 successful businesses, Sir Richard speaks with authority – and compassion. Even though he has always maintained a social consciousness inside his businesses, looking after his people, he realised seven years ago that that was not enough,
Saving this planet for human habitation – not to mention all the other species we are losing – will entail a full and total collaboration between business, government and charities so that we can together develop solutions to our pressing challenges.
Many have over the years felt that if they give a certain percentage to ‘corporate social responsibility’ it means they now operate from a clean sheet. Yet if their business continues to contribute towards destruction, there is simply no point.
Business must benefit the planet
What is now required is “a fundamental transformation in business strategies and operations, not just fiddling the edges – making changes that address how they make their money, not just how they spend it.” This planet simply cannot afford anything else. Our business must benefit this planet.
World-wide businesses are showing that doing good is good for business. Read about the inspiring examples in this very important book for everyone to read. Whatever you are doing to earn a living, your life has a footprint on this earth. You need to understand what it is and how you can swing it around to allow your children a future here.
For a long time scientists were encouraged to share critical truths gently and lean towards the conservative side, hoping that they might be wrong. Well, all predictions are being exceeded. Governments and civil societies cannot work at rescuing the planet whilst business works against it.
A fundamental principle of humanity
Sir Richard likes to quote his friend Bishop Tutu: “The reason the world is in such a mess is that we are going against a fundamental principle of humanity, that we are one common family and that what I do to you I do to myself.”
Because of technology we can now understand the impact of our actions on the planet, and draw together in one common humanity to craft a planet that works for seven generations to come.
We are now in the “next great frontier where the boundaries between work and higher purpose are merging into one.” This new attitude is “wired into the next generation.” Just making money in order to give it away is out of date. In the brain of the new generation doing good and doing business is fused into one. Plus the balance of power is shifting to the younger generation thanks to social media.
The myth of incompatibility
It is time to drop the ‘false dilemma’ from business talk – the myth of the incompatibility between business profitability and sound ethics.
Branson illustrates that “the social and risk analysis at Santander has shown that, in the long run, companies with adequate environmental policies, well defined labour relations and a balanced relationship with the community end up achieving more consistent financial results and establishing a more attractive brand name.”
This is illustrated by a business tracking company FTSE:
“Companies that consistently manage and measure their responsible business activities outperformed their FTSE 350 peers on total shareholder return in seven out of the last eight years.”
It is about turning your business into a force for good – and some multinationals and many, many small businesses are doing this with exciting consequences. This path also represents a return to values.
Values were proven by social psychologist Dan Pink to be the biggest driver for motivation. So a business in real transition towards core responsibility experiences a shift into deeper meaning, which is inspiring beyond measure. Staff begin to find more meaning in their job, working for the greater good. They can identify with the goodness revolution and take this home to their communities.
Becoming a force for good
Now business is becoming a force for good, creating the hurricane effect where every single person in the business takes responsibility in everything they do.
Branson talks about the shift from Capitalism 2.0 to philanthrocapitalism.
In the end they decided to call their new approach Capitalism 24902, based on the distance around the planet, which is 24,902 miles. It’s about creating a global village where we all take responsibility for each other in a movement that goes beyond a few businesses or countries.
We all have a responsibility
“Every single business person has the responsibility for taking care of the people and planet that make up the global village – all 24,902 circumferential miles of it.”
I would like to thank Sir Richard for his stalwart example and for sharing his understanding with the world. This gives me hope.
We are lucky to have another year on this beautiful planet: 2014. This year we can all make this shift – it could be the most rewarding endeavour of your life.
If you need support, and we all do, be in touch. Call Elma on 021-8550518.