Business and Sustainability, What Needs to Change Sept 2012
How do we make the change? Fromsustainability incrementalism totransformation…Toby Webb, Founder, Ethical Corporation and Stakeholder Intelligence, September 2012Toby.firstname.lastname@example.org / tobywebb.blogspot.com
What I’m going to talk about today What is needed for change from business-as-usual on sustainability? How do we shift from “incrementalism” to “transformation”? How can policy makers and corporate leaders make change happen?
What’s needed to change the current modelGovernment must combine “backbone” andincreased capacity Responsibility deals: Being a catalyst Keeping business, NGOs & others in the room Brokering deals that last, and deliver Confidence to stand up to selfish lobbying Develop national plans and goals: And stick to them! (build business and social confidence)
Financial regulation MUST play a roleInvestors must be made to describe, in quantitative terms, theenvironmental & social characteristics of investment portfolios. E.G. The carbon footprint of their funds The numbers of deaths and injuries in the companies in which they are invested The number of companies in which they invest that have a significant proportion (e.g. more than 40%) of women on their boards
Investors must disclose, or be made to: The number of companies that they invest in that have committed one or more serious violations of human rights in the past three years State whether they have engaged with the companies and other entities in which they have invested and, if yes, the outcomes that have been achieved from this engagement State whether they have engaged with policy makers on environmental and social issues and, if yes, the outcomes that have been achieved through this engagement Source: Dr Rory Sullivan
What’s needed to change the current modelCompanies must be much more vocal about the"HOW" and start to think about changeOUTSIDE their industry as well as inside. E.G. Energy generation and efficiency Transportation Sustainability incentives for business NGO partnerships for innovation and solutions How they can help build innovative SMEs
What’s needed to change the current modelCompanies must stop focusing on changingconsumer choices (impossible) and start choiceediting - taking away unsustainable products Companies must stop promoting good things and stop selling bad things: By choice Business must understand consumers don’t like eco-labels and just want to trust the brand Consumer NGOs and institutions must reward progress by the leading companies
How should Government, business, academic and NGOs change? Governments must INVEST in understanding sustainability internally NGOs must be very solutions focused, less ideological and think at a scale which they have not considered so far Academics need to reform their research incentives: Stop producing research that no-one can read: Go open source Universities must have targets for business collaboration and strategic plans to change the world beyond educating students, by using their students!
Conclusions We must think radically We must regulate where disclosure will not do harm We must scale up our resources and focus on solutions We must not accept incrementalism as acceptable: We must focus on systems transformation We must say: Bring the change…