What is Better, Strongly Sustainable, Business?


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A 15 minute video of this talk is available on the Strongly Sustainable Business Model Group's youTube Channel: http://youTube.com/ssBusinessModelTV at http://youtu.be/vfG_RclyaWA.

In these slides Antony Upward, Sustainability Business Architect, introduces sustainability, weak sustainability and strong sustainability and then discussed how this relates to creating better businesses.

As usual, recommended downloading the presentation and viewing in slideshow mode with the speakers notes handy

If you'd like to stay in touch with our work on Strongly Sustainable Business Models then please
- Watch our ~3 minute introduction - http://about.SSBMG.com
- Watch our other videos - http://youTube.com/ssBusinessModelTV
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- Join the linkedin group: http://forum.SSBMG.com
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  • My name is Antony Upward, and I’m a sustainability business architect with Edward James Consulting and a co-founder of the Strongly Sustainable Business Model Group at the Ontario College of Art and Design University’s Strategic Innovation Lab.
    Recently I completed a 3 year research project to create a better tool to design better businesses. This tool is known as the strongly sustainable business model canvas, and is described in our other videos.
    In this video I wanted to share what I learned during a critical piece of that research: what is strong sustainability and why it is an important idea if we want to create better business.
    Like all our videos, the link to view and download the slides I’m using, including all the speakers notes and references, is shown below the video.
    Antony Upward (http://antonyupward.name) is a Sustainability Business Architect with Edward James Consulting (www.EdwardJames.biz).  Antony is the creator of the Strongly Sustainable Business Model Canvas, the result of a 3 year research project at York University's Schulich School of Business and Faculty of Environmental Studies.  Antony is a co-founder of the Strongly Sustainable Business Model Group (http://www.SSBMG.com) at the Ontario College of Art and Design University's Strategic Innovation Lab.  Together, they will shortly be launching a crowd-funded collaboration project to bring a Strongly Sustainable Sustainable Business Model Innovation Toolkit to market (to receive notifications about the project - join their mailing list - http://signup.SSBMG.com)  
    Twitter: @aupward #SSBMG
    YouTube: http://youTube.com/ssBusinessModelTV
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StronglySustainableBusinessModels 
    Linkedin:  http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Strongly-Sustainable-Business-Models-5005769/about
    Web: www.SSBMG.com / www.EdwardJames.biz
    Email: [email_address]  
  • 1. So I hate to start such a practically oriented topic with such an existential question: but why are we here?
    As a practical bunch of business people, we often say we think such questions are of little importance day to day;
    2. But we *DO* recognize there is something good and special about what we as a species have managed to create for ourselves in the world today… and we freely acknowledge that we would rather like all the good stuff to continue, and the bad stuff to be improved over time
    3. So actually we’re all interested in this thing called sustainability…
    4. But let’s not forget that “sustainable” is an adjective or adverb; so we really ought to be specific.. (read slide); this is particularly as we talk about business. (We’re going to make an investment in money, time, and this has some level risk… so I think its wise to ensure we know what we’re doing!)
    5. But hang on the verb “to sustain” also has some strong connotations of keeping things ‘the same as they are now’
    But the natural world isn’t like that; Nature isn’t static its is always and forever changing, maximizing entropy creation in response to the flow of high quality energy coming from the sun (and the earths core)
    For Example: a river is never the same, even moment to moment, let along over long time periods where its path can change quite dramatically
    6. And there is another wrinkle.
    What we want to sustain is a choice we make.
    So it must be based on what we value – on our (perhaps ideal) goals.
    And two things are certain about our values .
    a) Everyone’s values are different – sometimes not by much, but sometimes a lot.
    b) Everyone’s values change over time; individually, as groups and as societies – often very quickly!
    So back to the example of the river: not only is the river always changing, so is the person watching from the bank; This means ideas of restoration are fundamentally false – restoring assumes that some prior state was permanent; it wasn’t, it isn’t, it can’t be.
    7. So what I came to realize, and as I hope you can appreciate, when we start to talk about sustainability, the inconvenient truth is its not going to be simple: To sustain means “keep things the same”, but the world and we are always changing.
    I’m not going to apologize for this reality. The world *IS* a complex place and pretending it isn’t doesn’t seem like a smart approach. In fact denying important elements of reality is highly risky behaviour! Particularly in business.
    Inspired by Allen, T. F. H. (2003). In Hoekstra T. W., Tainter J. A. (Eds.), Supply-side sustainability. New York: Columbia University Press; Summary available http://www.slideshare.net/AntonyUpward/supply-side-sustainability-summaryupward-av102
    Image: Used under creative-commons license: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Starlings_roosting3_3n06.jpg by Snowmanradio
  • 1. So the big problem with sustainability is that answering these basic questions is hard… because both the what and the why – the things that allow us to make sense of the world – are always changing, are always personal and always will be!
    If you want to sustain something, your lifestyle, your business, your society you have to come up with answers that consider
    Your understanding of how nature works
    Your own personal values and of course
    Your practical situation.
    How would you answer these questions for your business?
    2. As you reflect on your own response to these questions, its worth bearing in mind the commonly accepted response, at least in the democracies of the Global North; this consensus response developed across the political spectrum in the period which started with the Great Depression of the 1930’s and ended in the years after the 2nd world war:
    What we want to sustain is the maximization of wealth creation (the growth of the economy measured using gross domestic product, GDP), so we can afford the things that benefit the public - individuals and society as a whole – such as education, infrastructure (such as roads, public transit, water, etc.), health care, and various types of insurance (such as unemployment, social security, pensions etc.)
    From my own research I concluded that we frequently behave as if wealth creation is the end goal… we (correctly) recognize that in our chosen economic system wealth is required in order to create the public good, but by putting wealth creation first we often forget why we wanted that wealth in first place!
    Inspired by p.26 of Allen, T. F. H. (2003). In Hoekstra T. W., Tainter J. A. (Eds.), Supply-side sustainability. New York: Columbia University Press; Summary available http://www.slideshare.net/AntonyUpward/supply-side-sustainability-summaryupward-av102
  • 1. So as I was reviewing all the social and natural science literature about sustainability, I needed to figure out my answers to these questions to guide my own research into business model design and sustainability. How should I define a sustainable society and sustainable business?
    2. Note that I’m sharing this not to convince you I’m right… but just to be straight forward – I wanted to share where I’m coming from.
    As you will see in my other videos/slideshows when you use the tool I developed to design your better business it’s your answers to these question that counts… NOT mine!
    So what was my personal answer to the questions of what we want to sustain?
    3. I concluded we need a new collective goal. John Ehrenfeld, a recently retired MIT scholar and one of the founders of the industrial ecology movement, has brilliantly and inspiringly suggested that what we should aspire to sustain is “the possibility that human and other life will flourish on this planet forever”.
    What do I like about this definition of sustainability? What I like is that it does actually answer the questions that define sustainability that we discussed a moment ago.
    1st What: Its about possibility – how good can we be? (Its not about mere survival of the rate race or just languishing)
    2nd Who: Its inclusive – flourishing for all humans and all other life (its also humble about our place in the universe)
    3rd For How Long: Its forever (It’s a goal which has no end – do we imagine there are fundamental limits to flourishing? Biophysical constraints on how for sure, but not on the possibilities that we can imagine)
    4th How much: While this definition doesn’t direct talk about costs it does indicate that there may be important costs that are going to hard to measure economically. Typically people think about the word cost in financial terms first… but in this case I look at the environmental, social and economic costs - and I think the jury is very much out on whether this is more or less costly than our current approach
    So what’s the natural and social science evidence I found to support this definition?
    Actually what we need is “resilient sustainability” – i.e. we want the possibility for human and other life to flourish to continue to exist even in the face of significant challenges – whether these be natural, such as an earthquake or storm, or human made.
    I also like that its NOT a utopian or “perfect” vision for our work: as Ehrenfeld has said, it is simply a vision “where everyone is intentionally acting out of care for themselves, other humans, and all the rest of the world.” (John Ehrenfeld)
    Ehrenfeld, J. (2008). Sustainability by design: a subversive strategy for transforming our consumer culture. New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A.: Yale University Press.
    Ehrenfeld, J., & Hoffman, A. J. (2013). Flourishing: a frank conversation about sustainability
  • The first big piece of evidence is the Ecological Economists understanding of Sustainability – which they categorize as weak or strong.
    1. To be clear the difference between weak and strong isn’t a question of choosing good vs. bad; the question I asked for myself is: which approach is more or less likely to create the possibility for human and other life to flourish?
    OK so what are weak and strong sustainability….
    2. Most neo-classical economists (and the politicians they advise) assume that human ingenuity alone will enable us to have a sustainable society. For example weak sustainability is the definition implicit in the now famous 1987 United Nations Brundtland Commission Report. That’s the report that defines Sustainable Development as development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability for future generations to meet their needs.
    3. Ecological Economists disagree. They suggest that there are some parts of nature that we will never be able to replace: For example it doesn’t appear that we have any possibility of replacing large stocks of natural capital, such as clean water, fertile soil and certain climactic conditions, that are required for photosynthesis that produces the food that we need to survive.
    Another way of thinking about this is that there are two possibilities for having a sustainable society:
    - weak sustainability recommends we should live off the interest from and draw down on the principal of our natural capital, as long as we replace the natural capital with a stock of manufactured capital of the same value
    Where as
    - strong sustainability recommends we should *JUST* live off the interest generated from natural capital and not the draw down on the principal.
    So from my review of the work of the ecological economists, and the natural and social science that they build on, my conclusion was that strong sustainability was the less risky option if we want the possibility for flourishing
    I seems to me that if our goal is the possibility for human and other life to flourish it would be very risky for us as a species to assume that we will be able to replace all natural capital, and do so in timeframes that minimize the harm to humans and other life.
    (See next hidden slide for more detail)
  • Natural capital is the economic conceptualization of all the elements of the biosphere required to enable life to flourish - clear air & fresh water, productive soil and oceans, etc. The other types of capital are created by humans: manufactured, social, financial (and of course human) (http://sustainablemeasures.com/Training/Indicators/Capital.html; Great ~3 minute natural capital video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyL272Q1N0s
    Strong sustainability is defined in relationship to natural capital. (http://sustainablemeasures.com/Training/Indicators/WeakStrg.html)
    Ecological economists define strong sustainability is the impossibility of replacing critical or “backstop” natural capital with any other kind: human, manufactured, social or financial.
    Critical or Back-stop natural capital refers to a type of natural capital for which their appears to be no possible substitution of any other sort of capital – i.e. no technological fix. For example it does not appear that we have any possibility of enabling the photosynthesis needed to produce our food without large stocks of natural capital. Usually the impossibility of substitution is due to the realities on the other capitals imposed by the law conservation of mass and energy (i.e. laws of thermodynamics).
    Ecological Economists feel this is particularly true in time frames which might help mitigate the worst effects of climate change and other impacts of human behaviour - it is less risky to assume the worst than the best. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_economics
    In contrast weak sustainability assumes that all natural capital can be replaced by human, manufactured, social or financial capital. This assumes that a natural capital which is depleted can be replaced using human technology, and that pricing signals will cause the appropriate / necessary technology to arise “just in time” for significant suffering to be avoided. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_economics#Strong_versus_weak_sustainability
    Weak sustainability is often labelled “sustainable development”, as defined by the 1987 United Nations Brundland Commission Report, Brundtland suggested that a sustainable society will result from sustainable development: i.e. development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability for future generations to meet their needs.
    John Ehrenfeld arguing from the strong sustainability standpoint states: "Sustainable development is not a vision for the future. It is merely the modification of the current process of economic development. […] Sustainable development is fundamentally a tool which suggests new means but old ends. […] Unsustainability is an unintended consequence of the [current] addictive patterns of modern life. Almost every thing being done in the name of sustainable development addresses and attempts to reduce unsustainability. But reducing the unsustainability, although critical, does not and will not create sustainability" (Ehrenfeld, 2008, pp.5-7).
    Neumayer, E. (2010). Weak versus strong sustainability: exploring the limits of two opposing paradigms (3rd ed.). Cheltenham, UK ; Northampton, Massachusetts, U.S.A.: Edward Elgar.
    Ehrenfeld, J. (2008). Sustainability by design: a subversive strategy for transforming our consumer culture. New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A.: Yale University Press.
  • The second big piece of evidence that support’s Ehrenfeld definition of sustainability is the work of natural and social scientists who are part of The Natural Step.
    1. The Natural Step is a science based NGO with offices globally, supported by a global program of academic research.
    The Natural Step defines a sustainable society, one in which the possibility for flourishing exists, in terms of a set of boundary conditions, three of which relate to natural capital and one to all the human related capitals (intellectual, manufactured, social and financial)
    If we stay within these boundary conditions, in our families, businesses and societies, we will have the possibility for human and other life to flourish.
    About the Natural Step
    The NGO: http://www.naturalstep.org/en/about-us
    The Alliance for Strategic Sustainable Development, the Academic Research program: http://www.alliance-ssd.org/about/
    Eriksson, K. E., & Robèrt, K. (1991). From the Big Bang to sustainable societies. Acta Oncologica, 30(6), 5-14.
    Missimer, Merlina. 2013. The Social Dimension of Strategic Sustainable Development. Department of Strategic Sustainable Development. Blekinge Institute of Technology. Karlskrona, Sweden.
    (Personal well-being was referred to as “personal integrity” in the original work by Missimer; similarly learning and growth was referred to as “competence” and equity was referred to as “impartiality”)
  • <number>
    So having looked at sustainability from the macro-economic, social and planetary perspective, the next question I asked myself in my research was what does all this mean for business?
    How should a business define success if it wants to contribute to a sustainable society where the possibility for flourishing exists?
    In other words what does a business need to be if it is truly to be better? In short, what is a strongly sustainable business?
    Recently, working with Dr. Bob Willard*, and others from the Natural Step around the world, we’ve come up with this definition of a better, strongly sustainable business:
    * author of the popular book “The New Sustainability Advantage” (which documents the financial business case for sustainability),
    The Natural Step Canada, Willard, B., Upward, A., Leung, P., Park, C. (2013). Towards a Gold-standard Benchmark for a Truly Sustainable Business: Working Draft of Science-based KPIs and Goals, The Natural Step Canada, 1-56. Retrieved from: http://www.naturalstep.ca/sites/default/files/gold-standard-benchmark-latest-version.pdf
    Also see: http://www.naturalstep.ca/gold-standard
    For more on resilience see http://resilience.osu.edu/CFR-site/enterpriseresilience.htm
  • So what does acting according to such a definition mean? Primarily it means is that to be a better businesses one must recognize the true contexts for business.
    1. First, unlike businesses who only seek to maximize monetary profit, people in better businesses recognize that the context for business isn’t just the economy….
    2. They understand that the economy, the financial system, is something created by society; and that society has far broader concerns than simply money.
    Societies care about the well-being of people, and seek to help everyone achieve their potential. In other words, one way to think about the purpose of human society is that it exists to give all its members the possibility of flourishing!
    3. But the economy and society aren’t the only two contexts for better business. People in better businesses also understand that society is entirely dependent upon the environment. Without clean air, water, and healthy soil society would go bankrupt and we would ALL about out of business.
    4. So a better business has a business model that recognizes its success is dependent on creating positive value in all these contexts: the economy, society AND the environment for all the firms in its value network.
  • 1. So a better business focuses on doing good – environmentally, socially and economically – for all its stakeholders, and in doing so is more likely to be able to more consistently do well economically for itself.
    2. But hang on. Why does doing good mean better businesses are more able to do well?
    3. First they do a better job at managing risk. Businesses that a solely focuses on making money and who don’t recognize their true contexts are very surprised when they are impacted by events that arise first in those broader contexts. Things like climate change, water shortages, income inequality, and other mega-forces now starting to impact firms world-wide. Ultimately only focusing on doing well will have unintended consequences that will impact profits.
    4. Second better businesses do a better job of understanding and exploiting the opportunities that are arising because of these same mega forces.
    Finally, because they do a better job of managing risk and exploiting new opportunities, better businesses are also more resilient. They are more likely to survive and flourish for the long term.
    In other words better business are simply! They are fitter for the increasingly uncertain future than businesses that believe profit maximization is their only concern.
    Better businesses not only create less unintended social and environmental consequences, they can actually proactively create outcomes that enable the possibility of flourishing for us, our children, our grand-children and the world around us.
    As a former oil company executive and now archbishop of the Church of England said recently “Businesses are vehicles for wealth creation, without which there can be no wealth distribution. However, businesses cannot contribute to their full potential to a good society [, a healthy environment] and human flourishing if they have no regard for the society and environment in which they operate, and if individuals in business have regard only for themselves”. Globe and Mail “Bonuses incur wrath of Church of England” (page B9, 2013/4/13)
  • But how do you efficiently and effectively design a better business that reliably creates flourishing?
    After surveying the existing business design tools I realized these only focused on designing profitable business – ignoring all the factors that lead to the unintended consequences (consequences we’re all becoming increasingly familiar with: climate change, soil erosion, inequality, water shortages, etc.) None of the existing tools help business people systematically identify these risks and opportunities.
    1: So recognizing this problem with the existing business design tools, in 2010 I went back to university full time to do an interdisciplinary masters degree to create a better tool to help people design better, strongly sustainable businesses.
    I chose the highly customizable program in Environmental Studies and Business jointly offered by York University’s Schulich School of Business and Faculty of Environmental Studies.
    2. One day in January 2012 I met the folks from the Ontario College of Art and Design University’s Strategic Innovation Lab (the sLab).
    Some of them had helped Alex Osterwalder develop what is currently the most popular profit-first business model design tool, the Business Model Canvas, and had helped to fund his very popular book: Business Model Generation.
    The people in the sLab were inspired by the progress I was already starting to make towards a better tool to create better businesses.
    3. So in early 2012 we created the Strongly Sustainable Business Model Group.
    We decided we should focus on creating a toolkit to help new and existing small and medium businesses move to better more sustainable business models. And we decided my new tool would be at the centre of this toolkit.
    4. Finally, few months back, after nearly 3 years of work, and with a lot of help from a lot of people, we reached a major milestone: I successfully defended my thesis and graduated.
    (If you’re *REALLY* keen you can download my thesis at the URL shown. Its licensed under a creative commons license – but until we publish the book – we’ve put a commercial restriction on it. However, as you’ll see shortly, we have an easy path so you can use the Strongly Sustainable Business Model Canvas now)
    Upward, A. (2013). Towards an Ontology and Canvas for Strongly Sustainable Business Models: A Systemic Design Science Exploration. (Masters of Environmental Studies / Graduate Diploma in Business + Environment, York University, Faculty of Environmental Studies and Schulich School of Business). , 1-1116 (i-xxii). (http://hdl.handle.net/10315/20777)
  • So what is this better tool to design better businesses?
    1. In my 3 years of research I went all the way back to Alex Osterwalder’s ground-breaking 2004 PhD where he defined an Ontology for profitable business.
    2: Then I used all the natural and social science about strong sustainability and about how to design businesses that do good and do well, to extend Osterwalder’s original ground-breaking, but rather technical PhD to create an ontology for Strongly Sustainable Business.
    But, like Osterwalder, I knew I needed to simplify and make a tool that was easy to use, but without loosing any of the rich possibilities for designing better business that I had learned about.
    3: So, again following Osterwalder’s lead, I used my ontology to power a new easy to use visual design tool to help design better businesses: The Strongly Sustainable Business Model Canvas.
    The Strongly Sustainable Canvas asks 14 questions that if answered well significantly increase the likelihood of creating a strongly sustainable business model.
    To learn more about Strongly Sustainable Business design and the better, Strongly Sustainable, Business Model Canvas please watch our other videos.
  • So that brings you bang up to date with our understanding of better, strongly sustainable business, and a new tool that can help efficiently and effectively design better business.
    So what next?
    There are three things I’d like to share:
    1. My thesis, which contains the canvas, is licensed under a creative commons license. But this has a commercial restriction. So if you want to start using the Canvas today you need join our “First Explorers” program. There is just a simple mutual NDA and sharing agreement to sign because we want to encourage as many people as possible to start to use the new canvas. (There is no cost involved).
    2. Next you can join us! We’re launching a crowd-funded collaborative project to create the toolkit to design better businesses. The project will then publish a book that explains the toolkit, including the new canvas, the known good answers to the 14 questions and steps to use the canvas effectively.
    The core team for the book now consists of an international group of 13 co-authors.
    And of course, we’re using the Strongly Sustainable Canvas to design the business model for the project and for the business we plan to launch to further enhance the toolkit after the book is published (i.e. the app, toolkits for specific industries and class-room use and so forth)!
    3: The details of the crowd-funding is now being planned. But we can already say that we’ll be seeking both individuals and organizations to back the project. As one of several incentives, our backers will also get immediate commercial rights to use the new canvas, and have input into the content of the book.
    4: We hoping to publish in 2015, and when we do, the final version of the Canvas will be released under a Creative Commons License free for commercial use (BY-SA) (again just like the profit-first canvas)
    5: Finally, perhaps you’d like to connect, share and learn from other people involved in our project creating better tools to design better businesses…
    We have both a Linkedin group and a Facebook page to help with this, so we hope to see you there soon!
  • So that’s a quick introduction to better, strongly sustainable businesses.
    I hope you found this useful, and I hope you want to stay in touch with our work as we bring better tools to create better businesses to the world, and perhaps even get involved yourself.
    All the links to connect with our project are shown on this slide, and below the video there is a link to download the slides (which have all the speakers notes and references in them)
  • Finally, I also wanted to highlight another highly related project which talks about how do we measure whether a business is strongly sustainable.
    The Strongly Sustainable Canvas asks the questions that when answered well, can enable flourishing….how do we know the businesses people are designing are actually enabling flourishing?
    For this we need a benchmark against which to measure actual business results; but this is not a typical measurement of business performance. We don’t want to continue to measure business results as we do today by comparing a businesses performance against past results, against self-defined future goals, or against businesses who are thought to be “leaders”. No, we need a benchmark of actual business performance against the boundary conditions that increasingly science tells us create the possibility for flourishing.
    Creating this science based benchmark is the goal of a new international, collaborative project of The Natural Step Canada; The Gold-standard Benchmark for Sustainable Business.
    As you can see there are a growing list of partners in this project, including the Strongly Sustainable Business Model Group, several of whose members are deeply involved in this project.
    I know the Natural Step would love you to get involved in this project too!
    For more details of the Gold Standard Work see:
    http://ecoopportunity.net/2013/02/the-sustainability-gold-standard-the-pathway-to-capitalism-2-0-event-summary-feb-7-2013/ (Video)
    The Natural Step Canada, Willard, B., Upward, A., Leung, P., Park, C. (2013). Towards a Gold-standard Benchmark for a Truly Sustainable Business: Working Draft of Science-based KPIs and Goals, The Natural Step Canada, 1-56. Retrieved from: http://www.naturalstep.ca/sites/default/files/gold-standard-benchmark-latest-version.pdf
  • As a working title we’re calling the crowd-funded collaborative book we’re planning to write and publish in 2015: “Strongly Sustainable Business Model Innovation”
    This slide gives an outline of the table of contents with
    section 2 describing the strongly sustainable business model canvas,
    section 3 describing how to answer the 14 questions the canvas asks well, so you will score highly, for example, on the B Lab Benefit Impact Assessment Survey, align with the BALLE localist principles or the Framework For Strategic Sustainable Development Sustainability Principles (3 environmental and *NEW* 5 social), plus Transition Towns, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, etc. and the emerging “Gold Standard”
    section 4 describes how to use the canvas to create a strongly sustainable business model
    section 5 provides more case studies…
  • What is Better, Strongly Sustainable, Business?

    1. 1. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http:// www.EdwardJames.biz/Permissions Strongly Sustainable Business – An Introduction Version 1.02 2013-11-20 © Edward James Consulting Ltd. Some Rights Reserved. 1 Strong Sustainability An Introduction for Better Business November 20, 2013 Antony Upward, MES, CMC* antony@EdwardJames.biz ssBusinessModelTV www.SSBMG.com * Masters of Environmental Studies in Business Model Design and Sustainability; Certified Management Consultant Lot speak s of e inc. r r notes, efere nces slides n many Builds o d view load an ode down ow m slide sh ved in ro for imp sion hen compre @aupward #SSBMG
    2. 2. The Big Problem with Sustainability  Oh heck. I thought this sustainability stuff was going to be simple. I think I’ll take a nap… zzzzz  Why are we  No idea… but I want us to keep going for a long time… just like we are now… what’s a word for that? here? What’s the meaning of all this? … and who will benefit, for how what is it exactly long and at what you want to cost? sustain? … and how will you measure your “sustainability”?  So tell me…  …and what we value is always changing… that isn’t static either! 2  Don’t forget nature is always changing… it isn’t static  “Sustainability”
    3. 3. Our Current Collective Response What do you want to sustain? • For whom? • For how long? • How much will it cost? 3 Sustain maximum wealth creation (means)… so we can afford the public good (ends)
    4. 4. So we’re on the same page... Not trying to convince you! My Personal Response Sustainability is “the possibility that human and other life will flourish on this planet forever.” – John Ehrenfeld 4
    5. 5. Ecological Economics Sustainability Weak: Human ingenuity will always ensure manufactured capital can take the place of any natural capital we deplete Human technology is beneficial and will always save us, just-in-time Strong: The possibility for flourishing requires minimum amounts of critical natural capital While often beneficial, there are limits to human technology (and its timing) The difference is not a matter of good or bad The question is which is more or less likely to enable flourishing? wikipedia.org/Strong_versus_weak_sustainability 5
    6. 6. Sustainable Society In a sustainable society, nature is not subject to systematically increasing... From the Big Bang to Sustainable Societies The Social Dimension of Strategic Sustainable Development www.alliance-ssd.org/about/ www.NaturalStep.ca/four-system-conditions 7 ...concentrations of substances extracted from the Earth’s crust ...concentrations of substances produced by society ...degradation by physical means and, in that society... ...people are not subject to conditions that systematically undermine their capacity to meet their need for: • Personal well-being • Influence • Learning and growth • Equity • Meaning
    7. 7. A Definition of Better, Strongly Sustainable Business* T HA W A strongly sustainable business creates positive environmental, social, and economic value Environment Society Financial Economy RE HE W … throughout its value chain/network Y WH … creating the possibility that human and other life can flourish on the planet forever. If a better business were to operate forever, it would not only do no harm, it would do well by doing good 8 * From a Gold-standard Benchmark for Sustainable Business - http://www.naturalstep.ca/gold-standard
    8. 8. Better Businesses Recognize All Their Contexts Better Business Context: Financial Economy (Monetary) (Social/Technology) Context: Society Context: Environment (Physical / Chemical / Biological) 9 © Antony Upward / Edward James Consulting Ltd., 2013 Some rights reserved. Permissions available at www.EdwardJames.biz/Permissions
    9. 9. What’s Better About Better Businesses? = Do Good & Do Well Less Risk More Innovation 10
    10. 10. …And So a Quest For a Better Tool Begins …and reaches a major milestone 2012 2013 We need a better tool to design better businesses 11 http://hdl.handle.net/ 10315/20777 2010
    11. 11. V1.031 Introducing…The Strongly Sustainable Business Model Canvas 12 © Antony Upward / Edward James Consulting Ltd., 2013 Some rights reserved. Permissions available at www.EdwardJames.biz/Permissions
    12. 12. Help bring Sustainable Business Innovation to the World!  Become a “First Explorer” – Enables commercial use of the new Canvas now 12 organizations around the globe have joined so far  Join the quest – Crowd-funded collaborative book project Working Title: Strongly Sustainable Business Model Innovation – 13 International co-authors identified – Crowd-funding starting in 2014 Individuals and Organizations Backers also get immediate commercial rights to use new Canvas Everyone else will have to wait for the book – Self Publish 2015 Canvas released under a Creative Commons License free for commercial use  Connect to like-minded colleagues – Linkedin and Facebook 13 100+ Members from around the globe
    13. 13. Be Informed: http://signup.SSBMG.com Share your ideas for the book: http://survey.SSBMG.com Learn More – ~3 minute Audio/Visual Overview about.SSBMG.com • Videos – youTube.com/ssBusinessModelTV • Learning Map – wiki.SSBMG.com/home/learning-map • Blogs – blog.SSBMG.com – slab.ocad.ca/blogs/antony-upward www.SSBMG.com www.facebook.com/StronglySustainableBusinessModels info@SSBMG.com Strongly Sustainable Business Model Group forum.SSBMG.com 14 @aupward #SSBMG
    14. 14. Join a Key Related Project Learn more: http://www.naturalstep.ca/gold-standard 15
    15. 15. Possible Table of Contents 16
    16. 16. Copyright • All images used under applicable creative commons licences – see notes on each page © Antony Upward / Edward James Consulting Ltd., 2013. Some rights reserved. – Permissions available at www.EdwardJames.biz /Permissions – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. 17
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