Sustainability thebook

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Sustainability thebook

  1. 1. To Gabriel Griffa and MateoGoretti, for their confidence.To Carlos Lamarca and Fernandovan Peborgh, for their friendship.
  2. 2. SUSTAINABILITY 2.0 Networking Enterprises andCitizens to Face World Challenges
  3. 3. Visit our blog at: www.elviajedeodiseo.com/blogThis book is not the work of a single author, but the result of theexhaustive and enthusiastic research, writing and editing carried outby the entire Odiseo Team.The Odiseo Team:María Noel ÁlvarezMaría Eugenia BaliñoSantiago CraigAndresa GuareschiLívia MagalhãesAlejandra ProcupetGabriela RamosContributors:Teresa BuscagliaLuciana MalamudPhotographs:Mária AntoliniPage 26: The Children At Risk Foundation/ CARF: www.carfweb.netPage 30 and 133: Mark Achbar/ Big Picture Media CorporationPage 111: Álvaro Ibáñez/ MicrosiervosPage 193: Mariana Vázquez Drafting and editing of the original Spanish-language text of Sustainability 2.0 was completed in August 2007. This book is theCover Design: result of exhaustive research, but as in the case of all research, it canClara Lagos always be improved on and expanded. It is our aim, then, for this work to circulate among citizens, businessInterior Design: people, academics, organizations, universities and activists, so that it canMateos-Davenport design expand and grow through the collaboration of its readers.English-Language Translator/Editor: Because Sustainability 2.0 can only exist where there is interaction withDan Newland: dan.newland@gmail.com others. You can participate, adding your knowledge to the Wiki version of this book, by visiting www.sostenibilidaddospuntocero.com/wiki/©2008, Ernesto van Peborgh, Buenos Aires, Argentina ISBN XXXXXXXXXX
  4. 4. A Personal Journeyinto the Future I feel like a privileged observer of the times. I think I’ve reached this privileged vantage point thanks in large measure to some decisions I made in recent years, which ended up letting me see the world from a different perspective. The year 2004 was a very special year for me. In fact, it was probably the most important one of my life. By then, I had invested 20 years in the finance business. My success rate was clear: I was so regularly churning out a 35% return on institutional investors’ money that this ratio was pretty much the mantra of my professional identity. I started my career in finance at Citibank. I left that job to step up to the post of Financial Director on the founding team of the Exxel Group. When I Ieft Exxel, it was to form a partnership and create my own investment firm called Argentine Venture Partners (AVP). Up to then, the full thrust of my work and commitment was only focused on one thing: creating economic value, with no real thought of the far-reaching social and environmental impact of what I did. But as I say, in 2004, guided only by what might be called my intuition, I decided to leave the world of high finance behind and change course. So much so that it was as if I were driving 7
  5. 5. down the highway, turned on my blinker, pulled over into the Glacier National Park to hoist the country’s flag, in honorright lane, and got off at the next exit. I was a 44-year-old father of Francisco P. Moreno, the famed Argentine explorer andof three, with vast experience in private equity, a talent that scientific expert, who had done the same thing 124 years before.had flung open the doors of Harvard’s classrooms and of Wall Like Rocca, Sopeña and Fonrouge on their Patagonian journeysStreet’s posh offices to me. My career steeped me in financial before me, the whole adventure of making the same climb andsuccess. But I couldn’t help feeling a need to take a different filming the documentary broadened my horizons. I felt thatpath, to get involved in something that could bring another the torch that those extraordinary men of such sound valueskind of value to my personal life and to society. had held so high was now in my hands, and it was my job to keep its flame from waning.First Wave: The Value Revolution When the film premiered at the Museum of Latin American ArtThe first adventure on that heady new road —which, looking in Buenos Aires (MALBA), several business people expressedback, bears little comparison to my past life— was the decision a desire to promote a dialog among parents and children onto make a film. I wanted to tell the story of Agostino Rocca, issues emerging from Spirals. That made me stop and think:José Luis Fonrouge and Germán Sopeña, a businessman, a If telling the story of these three men can spark a debate onmountaineer and a journalist, whose common denominator human values, what would happen if we started telling thewas their fascination with Patagonia, that legendary and stories of other people who are changing the world?largely unexplored territory that was soon to become my own By then, I had already heard about some social entrepreneurspassion as well. and the initiatives they were heading up. I knew aboutSpirals of Stone was the result, a film documentary about the work of people like Swiss philanthropist and formeran expedition undertaken by a group of family members industrialist Stephan Schmidheiny, founder of the WBCSDand friends in homage to those three men. The trio died in (World Business Council for Sustainable Development) anda plane crash in 2001, when they were flying to Argentina’s the AVINA Foundation, who, through such enterprises, was 8
  6. 6. providing support to social leaders and their organizations, children are learning Baroque music and are making theirwho were working to improve life in their communities. own instruments, thanks to the work of Rubén Darío SuárezIt was then that I made the firm commitment to get to know Arana. And I was also able to discover admirable people likeand understand those who were spearheading humanity’s Rodrigo Baggio, a young man from Rio de Janeiro who, invalue revolution. But most of all, I wanted to know what 1995, founded CDI (Committee for the Democratization ofmade them tick, what it was that inspired them to attempt Information Sciences), a group that has been responsible forto stimulate this change. setting up 376 computing schools in Brazil, Colombia, Chile,Motivated by the achievements of these people and by the Mexico, Uruguay and Japan, and that in Brazil alone has helpedwork in this same field carried out by Bill Drayton, creator 600,000 young people breach the “digital gap”.of the Ashoka organization and the figure that I took as I also met Bartolomé Silva, a Chilean social entrepreneurmy second reference point among social entrepreneurs, I who uses his World Circus (Circo del Mundo) as a platform fordirected my second documentary: Faros, señales de cambio en giving youngsters at risk a new chance. And Inés Sanguinetti,América Latina (Beacons, Signs of Change in Latin America). who invites youngsters with no material resources to learnMy aim was to spread the word regarding the work of many to dance and express themselves, motivating them with theindividuals who are making a tireless effort in the struggle echoes of applause.against poverty and inequality. Directing Beacons, which premiered at the close of the IDEAFaros gave me a chance to tour Argentina’s most marginal business colloquium in 2005, also allowed me to understand thatneighborhoods and to get to know Fabián Ferraro, founder while what prevailed in business was competition, selfishnessof a civil association called Defensores del Chaco, which uses and lack of motivation, on the “other side of the tracks”, insandlot soccer as a method of social inclusion for some 1500 the world of the so-called “excluded” members of society,children and adolescents at risk. The making of this film also there was beauty, motivation, cooperation and recognition oftook me to a jungle town in the Bolivian Amazon, where achievements, especially those reached collectively. 9
  7. 7. This led me to ask myself, then, which world I wanted to hoped for, I didn’t give up, because several major personalitiesleave to my children, and to what extent it made sense to from the corporate world did indeed decide to accompany mekeep generating economic value without taking care of other, and acted as consultants, providing me with invaluable guidanceindispensable aspects of preserving life. Was it possible to in my search. I refer, among others, to Manuel Arango Arias,change the world by transforming the values that motivated businessman and environmentalist, who is chairman andMankind’s actions? My recent experiences have taught me that founder of the Mexican Foundation for Environmental Educationit is, that there are many people out there who are working for and of the Xochitla Foundation; Reese Schonfeld, co-founder anda new and better future. And little by little I began to want to first president of the CNN news chain; Julio Saguier, chairman ofjoin in this collective effort that is taking shape. the media holding company, La Nación S.A. and of the Diario La Nación Foundation; businessman Ricardo Esteves, co-chairmanSecond Wave: Sustainable Development of the Iberoamérica Forum; and researcher, former HarvardAnxious to tell the stories of social entrepreneurs to an ever- professor and author of the bestseller, Underdevelopment Is a Stateincreasing number of people, I called on media owners to of Mind, Larry Harrison.publish and broadcast the work of this silent movement that At the same time, another unstoppable wave began to carrywas growing at two or three times the rate that the private me on its crest like a surfer: awareness about sustainablesector was — in what today we are calling the “the worldwide development. Taking this second exit from my old highway, Iassociative revolution”. got to know companies like Natura Cosméticos and Patagonia,This obliged me to quickly change my perspective. I suddenly went which were born with sustainability already in their DNA andfrom the favela shantytowns of Brazil to the luxurious personal were measuring their bottom line in economic, social andmuseum of Carlos Slim, owner of Telmex and Televisa in Mexico environmental terms. I had the opportunity to talk to LuizCity and to the comfortable offices of Ricardo Salinas Pliego, owner Seabra and Guilherme Leal, Natura’s founders, and thus find,of TV Azteca. Although I wasn’t met with the enthusiasm I had finally, the kind of people I had been looking for in the private 10
  8. 8. sector. And as my knowledge of sustainable business practices This conclusion arose, once again, from my own field of action:began to grow, I stopped feeling like Don Quixote jousting My collaborators and I had spent considerable time trying towith windmills and started coming to grips with the idea that figure out where and how to place Spirals of Stone and Beacons,humanity was at the threshold of a change of cultural paradigm as well as other content that we had created on the Internet. Thisthat would make history. research led us to discover YouTube when it was just getting started. And so it was that after a two-year search for a channelThird Wave: Web 2.0 through which to inform and commit individuals, organizationsThe tipping point came for me in 2006. That was the year when and businesses with regard to sustainable development,something unusual that I had already begun to observe began I concluded that the natural platform for this was the Web.to have an increasing impact on companies, people, citizens My initial enthusiasm with the Web 2.0 application was followedand governments. It was only then that I came to the certainty by a period of exhaustive research on and experimentationthat this future for which I was willing to work was a lot closer with the tools it offered. Despite my admiration for thethan I had supposed. Perhaps it had even already arrived. fabulous disruptions it was causing, I had to admit that WebAt the beginning of that year, Grupo Gerdau and Jorge Paulo 2.0 wasn’t a revolution in itself, but a mere platform for a seriesLemann invited me to speak at a forum of 200 business people of revolutions in thinking. Web 2.0 is still in an early stageon education via correspondence. “Participation” was the key and many of its applications remain confusing for the “digitalword that I pronounced that day during my presentation in immigrants” of my generation. Nevertheless, in anotherSalvador, Bahia, Brazil, in referring to the relentless advance of decade, the Net Gen —the generation of young people bornthe new communications media and particularly of the Internet, into the digital age— will have taken the reins in the world’swhich, in its role as a participative, collaborative and creative enterprises and this wave will have enveloped us all.application for communities, has revealed itself as the most Once again, I opted not to just sit by and watch these changeseffective catalyst in the transformation of the cultural paradigm. happen. I wouldn’t want to wake up tomorrow and see that 11
  9. 9. everything has changed and that I’ve missed out on being part line. If one member of a team drops out, the entire team isof the transition. disqualified. The key is to put the interests of the group as a whole over and above those of the individual contestants, andProlog Epilog that sometimes means having to sacrifice food or water to revive“The only way to cross the desert is to keep walking.” This someone who has suffered dehydration, or having to cut back theadage may sound a little trite, but I learned its meaning in the pace in order to let a team member recover. And it is as movingmost extreme of practices. In another of my “past lives”, I took to receive the solidarity of the rest of the team as it is to give it.part in dozens of grueling races and marathons. The possibility of experiencing extreme perspectives —desertI participated in my first Eco-Challenge in 2001. In eight days, and mountain, individual and group interests, corporatewe raced across 350 km of pristine and desolate lands in New empires and massive shantytowns— has permitted me toZealand. We climbed mountains and navigated raging rivers. incorporate what I have learned in these years and identifyWhen you walk 22 hours a day non-stop except to grab a few some values of my own from the new paradigm: confidence,hours of sleep, you get in touch with the most intimate essence of responsibility, collaboration and transparency.human nature. You don’t feel the cold or the physical fatigue, only The trust that social entrepreneurs and their organizationsthe overwhelming need to eat, like some powerful animal reflex. place in their projects and in the community as architects ofIn 2004, my passion for challenges took me to the Atacama a change in values. The responsibility of many consumersDesert. In six days, we ran seven marathons in the most and citizens, who are ever more committed to their timesextreme environment on earth. Withstanding temperatures and to the planet. The collaboration applied by the Net Genof 40°C by day and –6°C by night, we crossed that salt desert in the Web when they collectively create new realities. Thethrough places where no human being had ever tread before. transparency revolution implemented by certain companiesThese tests seek to underscore the virtues of teamwork. That’s that have pioneered in sustainability, even before societywhy the prime rule is that everybody has to make it to the finish started to demand it. 12
  10. 10. This is, in a nutshell, the story of the personal journey I began i tain my perspective, on one side I see the business world within 2004, the year that I learned to know the desert, the year my its economic power that draws strength from bottom-linefather died, and the year I began to have a new outlook on life. results and growth. And on the other, I see a silent move-That year too, I had another son, an event that moved me to ment, but one that is growing at a dizzying rate, a movementreassess the world I was building for him, and for my other that, incredibly enough, has remained beyond the radar ofthree children, and their children. In response, I found an un- the media, governments and businesses alike. Its leaders areprecedented motivation spreading the word about sustainable entrepreneurs that are concerned about life and about us, thedevelopment. In the Net Gen, there is hope. And in Web 2.0, members of the human species, the inhabitants of this single,there is a space from which to start building enterprises, social global village. These are people who, with responsibility andorganizations and citizens’ groups, based on this motivation confidence as their powerful motivations, are attempting toand on this hope. change the world and build a better future. In both of theseOver time, my vision began to capture the interest of journal- sectors, among companies and social entrepreneurs, thereists and communicators, who, motivated by their own personal are young members of the Net Gen, with the multiple toolsjourneys, expressed their almost natural empathy. And despite of Web 2.0, the natural platform from which to transmit thetheir having been brought up in related but still diverse disci- sustainability paradigm.plines —like psychology, history, philosophy and advertising— We are living in the best and in the worst of times.they came together to form the inter-disciplinary team that is The road to a better future promises to be a long and windingnow known as Odiseo, a group that has promoted research to one. But it also promises to be full of surprising discoveries,affirm my hypotheses and of which this book is a mere sketch. some of which we will try to share with you in the chapters youAs a result of the road undertaken, I feel today, as I stated are about to read.at the beginning of this prolog, like a privileged observer ofthese times. Standing atop the peak that permits me to main- Ernesto van Peborgh 13
  11. 11. ACTIVISM AL_GORE AMAZON AN_INCONVENIENT_TRUTH ANITA_RODDICK AUTHENTICITY BILL_DRAYTONBIODIVERSITY CITIZENS CIVIL_SOCIETY CONSUMER CONSUMPTION DIVERSITY ECO-EFFICIENCY ECOLOGYEDUCATION ENTERPRISE ETHICS ETHOS EXCLUSION FORESTATION GLOBAL_WARMING GRAMEEN_PHONEGREENWASHING HUMAN_RIGHTS INCLUSION INTERFACE JOHN_ELKINGTON KNOWLEDGE LONG_TERM NETWORKSNGO LUIZ_SEABRA MARKETS NATURA NEW_PARADIGM NIKE NO_LOGO ODED_GRAJEW PARTICIPATION PATAGONIAPAUL_HAWKEN POVERTY RAY_ANDERSON RECYCLE RESOURCES RESPONSIBILITY RESPONSIBLE_CONSUMPTIONREUSE SOCIETY STAKEHOLDERS STARBUCKS STEPHAN_SCHMIDHEINY SUSTAINABILITY SUSTAINABLE_DEVELOPMENT TOYOTA TRANSPARENCY TRIPLE_BOTTOM_LINE VALUES VIRTUAL WAL-MART WATER WOMENYVON_CHOUINARD ACTIVISM AL_GORE AMAZON AN_INCONVENIENT_TRUTH ANITA_RODDICK AUTHENTICITYBILL_DRAYTON BIODIVERSITY CITIZENS CIVIL_SOCIETY CONSUMER CONSUMPTION DIVERSITY ECO-EFFICIENCYECOLOGY EDUCATION ENTERPRISE ETHICS ETHOS EXCLUSION FORESTATION GLOBAL_WARMING GRAMEEN_PHONEGREENWASHING HUMAN_RIGHTS INCLUSION INTERFACE JOHN_ELKINGTON KNOWLEDGE LONG_TERM NETWORKSNGO LUIZ_SEABRA MARKETS NATURA NEW_PARADIGM NIKE NO_LOGO ODED_GRAJEW PARTICIPATION PATAGONIAPAUL_HAWKEN POVERTY RAY_ANDERSON RECYCLE RESOURCES RESPONSIBILITY RESPONSIBLE_CONSUMPTIONREUSE SOCIETY STAKEHOLDERS STARBUCKS STEPHAN_SCHMIDHEINY SUSTAINABILITY SUSTAINABLE_DEVELOPMENTTOYOTA TRANSPARENCY TRIPLE_BOTTOM_LINE VALUES VIRTUAL WAL-MART WATER WOMEN YVON_CHOUINARDACTIVISM AL_GORE AMAZON AN_INCONVENIENT_TRUTH ANITA_RODDICK AUTHENTICITY BILL_DRAYTONBIODIVERSITY CITIZENS CIVIL_SOCIETY CONSUMER CONSUMPTION DIVERSITY ECO-EFFICIENCY ECOLOGYEDUCATION ENTERPRISE ETHICS ETHOS EXCLUSION FORESTATION GLOBAL_WARMING GRAMEEN_PHONEGREENWASHING HUMAN_RIGHTS INCLUSION INTERFACE JOHN_ELKINGTON KNOWLEDGE LONG_TERM NET-WORKS NGO LUIZ_SEABRA MARKETS NATURA NEW_PARADIGM NIKE NO_LOGO ODED_GRAJEW PARTICIPATIONPATAGONIA PAUL_HAWKEN POVERTY RAY_ANDERSON RECYCLE RESOURCES RESPONSIBILITY RESPONSIBLE_
  12. 12. Sustainable Development
  13. 13. A New Paradigm Chapter 1At the end of 2006, the world premiere of An Inconvenient Meanwhile the number of civil action organizations wasTruth established the issue of worldwide climate change as a growing — and continues to grow at an ever-faster rate — duereality —and not just as the obsession or paranoia of a few to the ineffectiveness of government in the face of issues thatscientists and activists— by showcasing the fight waged by call for urgent solutions: poverty, environmental protection,former US Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Al defense of human rights and the preservation of democracy.Gore against global warming. It appears that the tipping point —the moment at whichThat same year, Wal-Mart announced its commitment to something unique and unusual changes the habitual, accordingsustainability. It began a plan by which, within a three- the definition by Malcolm Gladwell — is growing nearer allyear period, some of its lines would only offer products the time. And that Mankind is converging on a new paradigm.manufactured employing sustainable practices. Today, 60,000 A veritable “ethos” or starting point. And with it will come thecompanies are modifying their production processes in order sustainable development that urges us not to try to live beyondto satisfy this chain-store giant that welcomes 100 million our means, not to burn down our houses in order to keep warm,shoppers a week. not to saw off the branch that we’re sitting on. The proposal ofA survey run by The Synergos Institute in several countries this concept is, actually, pure common sense: the common senseshowed that 95% of all consumers believe that companies have that impels us to turn off the lights when we leave home and toan unpaid debt with their workers and their communities. not leave the tap running while we brush our teeth. 17
  14. 14. Viability or Sustainability?The terms “viability” and “sustainability” came to the fore in the began to be defined more fully and as we conceive of it today.popular vernacular along with the new electronic informationmedia that became the driving force behind widespread Until the beginning of the 1990s, the notion of “sustainability”awareness of growing worldwide problems including had basically been applied to the environmental field. But overoverpopulation, lack of water, famine and environmental the course of that decade, its use began to extend to social,degradation. In the academic world, however, these terms had political and business issues. Little by little, such questions asalready been introduced in the book called The Limits of Growth inequality in the distribution of wealth and diversity in terms(Meadows and others, 1972), published by The Club of Rome. of ethnicity, gender, nutrition, health, access to information and security began to be incorporated into the debate.There is no clear consensus regarding the meaning of “viability” Governments, business groups and a growing number of civilor “sustainability”. Nevertheless, one of the first definitions organizations became the driving forces behind a series ofof sustainable development was provided by the Brundtland global conferences whose aim was to create a framework ofReport put out by the United Nations World Commission for governance, through which to come to grips with a new formEnvironment and Development, which was originally called of development that would bear in mind the environmental,Our Common Future (1987). Chapter 1 of that Report gives economic, social and institutional needs of both present andthe following definition: “Sustainable development seeks to meet future generations.the needs and aspirations of the present without compromising theability to meet those of the future”. The latest UN Earth Summit on Sustainable Development was held in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2002, whereBut it was not until the Rio Earth Summit (Rio de Janeiro, discussions surrounded strategies for promoting the principles1992) that Mankind adopted a global perspective with regard to of sustainability and ensuring their adoption by nationsglobal issues and that the concept of “sustainable development” worldwide and in every region of the planet. 18
  15. 15. Conditions for Environmental Sustainability1 No renewable resource should be 2 No non-renewablearesource used at a faster rate than it can should be used at faster rate 3 Noapollutant shouldthatproduced at rate faster than be at which be generated. than that necessary to replace it can be recycled, neutralized or it with a sustainably renewable absorbed by the environment. resource. 19
  16. 16. The Three Waves of SustainabilityAccording to John Elkington It was within the framework of the Cold War, 1961 the hippie movement and the May Revolt inTHE FIRST WAVE: France that the first ecological organizations, Amnesty International, the World such as Greenpeace, emerged. It was also Wildlife Fund (WWF) and theThe Green Revolution during this period that the first environ- Organization for Economic mentally aware companies –Patagonia and Cooperation and Development Natura– came onto the market. (OECD) are founded. 1983 1984 1986 The Berlin Wall comes down and democraticTHE SECOND WAVE: systems take a foothold in Latin America. The UN creates the Bhopal Chernobyl The Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill makesMarket Economy people start taking the ecological movement World Environment Disaster Disaster (USSR). and Development (India).Comes to the Forefront seriously. Marketing begins to adopt “green” Commission. messages on a massive scale. Globalization bursts onto the scene, and anti- 1999 2000THE THIRD WAVE: globalization with it. The Internet grows at a swift pace, bringing the birth of participativeToward Responsible media, and ad agencies begin to study on-line Battle in Seattle First World Social Forum (USA). (Porto Alegre, Brazil).Globalization advertising. Companies like Shell and Nike Publication of No Logo, by face complaints regarding their production Naomi Klein (who denounced processes and must account for their actions Nike’s use of slave labor). before society. 20
  17. 17. 1962 1971 1972 1973 1975Publication of Rachel Greenpeace is born. Publication of The Limits of Growth Seveso Disaster (Italy). The UN declaresCarson’s Silent Spring. by The Club of Rome. Watergate Case (USA). International The Stockholm Conference (first Women’s Day. UN Environmental Summit). 1987 1988 1989 1992 1995 1997The Montreal Protocol John Elkington Exxon Valdez Case First Worldwide UN Earth Shell Scandal (petroleum The Kyoto Protocolis signed. launches his (following the Alaska Summit (Rio de Janeiro, spills in Nigeria). is signed.The Brundtland Report Green Consumer oil spill). Brazil). The Ethos Institute (Brazil) NIKE Scandal.is published. Guide. Fall of the Berlin Wall The World Business Council is created. The “Triple Bottom (unification of for Sustainable Development Line” concept is Germany). (WBCSD) is founded. published. 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007World Sustainable Third World Social Tsunami (Indian Hurricane Katrina (in the Muhummad Yunus Al Gore receives theDevelopment Summit Forum (Porto Ocean). states of Florida, Louisiana receives the Nobel Nobel Peace Prize(Johannesburg, South Alegre, Brazil). and Mississippi and in the Peace Prize for the for his contributionAfrica). Bahamas). founding of the to halting global Grameen Bank. warming. 21
  18. 18. “Sustainable development is a dynamic process which enables all people to realize their potential and to improve their quality of life in ways which simultaneously protect and enhance the Earth’sIn Search of the life-support systems”.Perfect Definition Forum for the Future - OAS es on and when the light bulb go “Sustainability comes everything is are all involved, that you start to see that we ”.The ideas of most people regarding the meaning of the word ur actions affect others interconnected, that yo Paul Hawken“sustainability” are simple and on target: “Sustainability refersto human survival and the avoidance of ecological disaster.”Be that as it may, the language of sustainability becomes clear- “Sustainable development is a process of change in which theer and more effective when we focus on what is unsustainable exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, theinstead of on the positive definition. orientation of technological development, and institutionalFarmers and ecologists, for example, would surely be in agree- change are all in harmony and enhance both current andment that soil erosion due to human activity is unsustainable,even if they were to disagree about how to make soil use sus- future potential to meet human needs and aspirations”.tainable. World Commission on Environment and Development – UNHere are a few diverse, though not contradictory, defini-tions regarding sustainable development and sustainabilityin general: “In essence sustainable development is about five key principles: quality of life; fairness and equity; participation and partnership; care for our environment and respect for ecological constraints”. Forum for the Future’s Sustainable Wealth London Project “Understanding is 50% of the solution. Every time we are about to make a decision, we should think of the “It requires education people around us and ask ourselves if that decision , more efficient use of of democracy, as we resources, more open is going to cause a problem for any of those people. If ll as society’s particip forms It also requires econo ation in decision-mak mic growth, focused ing. that’s the case, change it or don’t do it”. opportunities”. on generating more equal Bill Drayton, Founder of Ashoka Stephan Schmidhein y 22
  19. 19. The New ParadigmThe many nuances of the definitions show that many concepts itself is at the center of everything and Man forms part of this,are currently being articulated around sustainable development. as one of its intelligent manifestations.Intellectuals that are pushing a new intercultural philosophy A change of cosmovision also implies a change of focus, inbased on an awareness of diversity and interdependency, order to face the problems that 21st century society is suffering.theorists who are for a systemic focus on science, social This has emerged as an inescapable fact following the failureleaders that promote the creation of subsistence communities of States —self-proclaimed as the source of all of the basicand economies, ecological militants and business people necessities of their citizens— to provide solutions to such vitalwith a long-term view oriented toward responsible resource questions as scarcity of resources, environmental pollution,management, all rally today around this new paradigm, that health care, poverty and lack of quality of life, among many more.is the incarnation of the need to integrate human beings intotheir environment once more. And so the old Welfare State went out with the 20th century, indeed leaving in its wake very serious conflicts in a varietyIn the end, it is about producing a change in the cosmovision: of fields, which, in order to find a solution, require the jointfrom the anthropocentric vision that Mankind began to build interaction of a broad spectrum of interests. As a result, thein the Modern Era —centered exclusively on human and new sustainability paradigm has been enriched by a focusindividual interests and conceiving of the Earth as nothing that underscores the value of association, interaction andmore than a raw materials warehouse that is at Man’s disposal networking, above and beyond simple exchanges among— to a biocentric cosmovision, which conceives of Nature as individuals, sectors or corporations, which function as closeda combination of interdependent organisms and in which life special interest groups. 23
  20. 20. The Direction and Sense of Change Modern There is no real consensus at present with regard to the ANTHROPOCENTRISM direction that the advance of change toward the new Focus: Man paradigm is taking. In his book, Blessed Unrest, ecologist Earth: Raw Materials Warehouse Paul Hawken analyzes this “largest movement on earth Link: (…) that has gone largely ignored by politicians and the media” and that, according to him, is being organized, like Nature, “from the bottom up”. Hawken says that “in everyIRRE SPONSI BLE C ONS UMPT I ON city, town and culture, it is emerging to be an extraordinary and creative expression of people’s needs worldwide.” For his part, John Elkington, author of Cannibals with Forks, points out that the driving force behind sustainable Post-Modern development is a qualitative transformation the affects both supply and demand. Ray C. Anderson, Chairman and CEO BIOCENTRISM of Interface, Inc., a pioneer in the trend toward sustainable Focus: Life development, in that same vein goes on to say: “When the Earth: Inter-dependent Organisms marketplace, the people, show their appreciation for these Link: qualities and vote with their pocketbooks for early adopters, the people will be leading. The ‘good guys’ will win in the marketplace and the polling booth and the rest of the SU STA I NA BI LI T Y politicians and business leaders will have to follow”. Regardless of agreement or not about what drives the change toward sustainability and the directions the movement is 24
  21. 21. taking, the majority of voices worldwide agree as to the urgent growth ad infinitum, which implies unlimited consumptionneed to do something about Man’s relationship with Nature of resources and the absence of social equality. They believe,and to the need be successful in this effort, bearing in mind however, in sustainability, and promote it, as anyone can seethe magnitude and seriousness of the risks involved. And in by consulting their communications channels on the Web:spite of the multiple definitions, variations and meanings that Indymedia, Nodo 50 and Rebelión.org, among others.simultaneously coexist, there can be no doubt that sustainabilityhas gained almost universal acceptance as a good thing. (Fewpeople indeed could find a defense for non-sustainability).There are those, however, who disagree as to whetherdevelopment can be considered a possible road to sustainability.Among these are members of the alterglobalist or anti-globalization movements, a school of thought made up ofecological groups, pro-native movements, leftist intellectualsand union leaders throughout the world, who share theirrejection of capitalism, the neo-liberal model, multinationalcompanies and the IMF.Gathered at the World Social Forum and congregating aroundsuch renowned ideologues as Noam Chomsky, LeonardoBoff, Jaime Petras and the newspaper Le Monde Diplomatique,these groups deny the effectiveness of development in theachievement of a more sustainable and fair world order, sincethey consider that it is based on the presumption of economic 25
  22. 22. Dimensions and Issuesof Sustainable DevelopmentScience, ecology, civil society, business...each groupor individual promoter of sustainable developmentstimulates construction of the new paradigm fromthe field of action in which it/he/she operates. Thisgives rise to the different dimensions of sustainabledevelopment, with each of these being characterizedby a variety of issues or areas of debate: Environmental Social Pollution Health and quality of life Climate change Education Natural disasters Equality Biodiversity Human rights Waste Equal access to opportunities 26
  23. 23. Economic InstitutionalScience, technology and society Agents/institutionsBusiness and trade Governance and transparencyEnergy Participation and democracyEfficient resource use Globalization /alterglobalismSustainability indicators International cooperation 27
  24. 24. Agents of ChangeWithin the framework of the new paradigm, which cases in which NGOs have demonstrated their influence:underscores the value of association and cooperation, the work • In 2000, Amnesty International reported the deaths ofof civil organizations —NGOs among them— has made a civilians and grave human rights violations committed byconsiderable impact. Emerging from the urban middle class, guards in production areas managed by Talisman Energy Inc.which burgeoned with the economic expansion of the 1960s, in Sudan. Following two years of protests, several pensionthese began to operate in the 1980s and acquired a stellar role funds withdrew their participation in the oil company, whichin the 1990s, substituting for a State that was reduced to its was obliged to initiate its withdrawal from the country.minimum expression and incapable of providing answers to • After five years of reports regarding child slave labor in theproblems relating to health, education, poverty, human rights, harvesting of cacao in the Ivory Coast —children as young asenvironmental pollution, promotion of women’s development 10 were forced to work 12-hour shifts, were poorly fed andand consumer rights, among other issues. were locked up at night— in 2005, Equal Exchange and otherIn society, the action of many NGOs involves divulging NGOs managed to get Hershey, M&M, Nestlé and other majorinformation and generating awareness. In their role as a chocolate manufacturers involved in the issue. They ended upforum for citizen interaction combined with lodging demands exercising responsible care practices and agreed to certify theirthat governments and companies prevent, correct or mitigate products as being “child slave labor-free”.unsustainable conducts, the actions of these organizations • The Canadian mining firm Meridian Gold in 2002 announcedtranscend geographic and socio-economic boundaries. And plans for open-sky gold-mining operations in the Andes rangewith the coming of the communications revolution —especially near Esquel, Chubut Province, Argentina. There were fearsthe Internet— they have become so influential that it is often that the acid drainage from the thousands of tons of rock thatenough for an NGO to threaten involvement in an issue for would have to be moved and the use of thousands of liters ofgovernment officials or business people to reconsider their cyanide to process the ore would have a pernicious effect onplanned actions. The following are details of a few well-known the ageless and pristine Alerces National Park. An NGO called 28
  25. 25. Movimiento de Vecinos Autoconvocados por el No a la Mina (Self- • Social Sector s Hopkins Convened Movement of Neighbors against the Mine), managed untries by the John Studies carried out in 22 co r Project revealed that NGOs rep- to get the issue into the domestic and international media and rofit Secto luded Comparative Nonp -earning labor force in countries inc to organize a referendum in which 80% of the population of the wage employment in resent 5% d 1995, at between 1990 an growth rate for the expressed its rejection of the mining project. As a consequence in the study and th es faster than the tim w work of such widespread repudiation, the government of Chubut that sector grew 2.5 Civil society organizations apply ne economy as a whole. with style in accordance s Province was forced to slap a prohibition on open-sky mineral d a management anges ha methodologies an rowths of these ch ore mining and on the use of cyanide in mining processes. e of the outg sector their mission. On organized, private, non-profit l been th e emergence of an s, worldwide, economic, socia world-clas that has become a• The Power of the Intern and po litical force. et Just as printing beca • Networked Organizations me at underlies the Protestant ideas —pro a fundamental tool for the disseminatio d cooperation th vo Roman Catholic Churc king the greatest revolution suffered by n of The value of association an n rise to networks of h in its 2000 years of the nizations has give e is today supporting existence— the Intern ac tion of these orga ns. These in turn network with on e, take advantage of ins the capacity of civil so ciety to interconnect, et humanita rian institutio r in the bu ilding of an activ tant access to a wide grow, plement each othe munity, that is recognized financing and comm range of information another and com m unities, and to create , g international co n’t wait NGOs have given bir th —also through the collectively. self-administratin cle for information and that does at are of as a source and vehi s th that have paralyzed Internet— to campaig take up the issue comp thanks to the Web, the anies that were not operating correctly. ns ditional media to around for the tra ther, takes action. volume of data regard And bers, but raporations is so huge ing the actions of co interest to its mem that, according to an r- l distancesinto ever more soph aly isticated use of marke sts, it will soon develop omic and cultura raphic, socio-econ raction within the sector t intelligence. So it is that geog inte vor of synergetic ty. are spanned in fa ther the different sectors of socie ge and of bridging to 29
  26. 26. Civil Society versus BusinessWithin the first few pages of her book, No Logo: Taking Aim atBrand Bullies, Canadian journalist Naomi Klein —a renownedfigure in the anti-globalization movement— states: “Thisbook is hinged on a simple hypothesis: that as more peoplediscover the brand-name secrets of the global logo web, theiroutrage will fuel the next big political movement, a vast waveof opposition squarely targeting transnational corporations,particularly those with very high name-brand recognition.”In recent years, the world has witnessed business scandalsand citizen boycotts that have swiftly taken shape throughthe communications media. Their shockwaves have reachedthe employees of the companies involved, who began to bringpressure for changes toward more sustainable productionprocesses. In order to come to grips with these demands,some firms decided to partially modify their processes, whileadopting corporate social responsibility policies, with the aim According to political scientist Rajni Kothari, “sustainableof “cleaning up” their images and repositioning themselves on development demands, above all, an ethical change. It is not athe market as “environmentally friendly” by adopting a “green” matter of a technological fix or a new way of making financialoutward appearance (greenwashing). But when these policies investments. It is a change oriented toward valuing Nature forare not the result of the values that the company actually what it is and not simply as a source of resources and to fuelmaintains, their positive impact is nil. the motor of economic development”. 30
  27. 27. OLD PARADIGM NEW PARADIGM ETHICAL CHANGE DISPENSABILITY OF OTHERS RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY Focus: Man / Sector Focus: Life / Cultures Link: Exchange Link: Interaction Instrument: Individual Project Instrument: Common Strategies Objective: CONSUMPTION Objective: SUSTAINABILITY OLD VALUES NEW VALUESIt is Professor Kothari’s belief that the ecological crisis that the world is suffering is due to the fact that we have consideredNature’s diversity dispensable. And by transferring the lack of respect for Nature to Man, we had virtually declared a major portionof the human race dispensable as well, generating one of the fiercest socio-economic crises in history. Thus, in order to halt thiscrisis, we need an ethical change based on the premise that all life is indispensable. 31
  28. 28. 1 Companies start to notice that their customers and the markets are checking out their commitment to economic, social and environmental sustainability. ture is transformed: It is Little by little, corporate cul 2 no longer just a question incorporating ethical issues of making money, but also and social values. of 3 Feeling themselves suddenly in the to assume the fact that even though public eye, companies have they try and control news of their actions, these actions beco me public knowledge anyway. This is the reason why they start ope rating transparently. 4 The companies become aware of the importance of designing new techniques and processes that reduce the economic, social and environmental impact of their products. s among themselves, 5 Companies form strategic alliance or between themselves and org anizations from other itionally considered sectors, even some that were trad enemies. 6 Gradually, the way of conceiving corp frames changes and a need emerges and to plan on a long-term basis. orate time to think more 7 The TBL (Triple Bottom Line) Agenda is incorporated into the companies’ strategic management (to control the economic, social and environmental impact of processes and products).
  29. 29. The Sustainable Company Chapter 2These points summarize the Seven Revolutions that could lead and to process re-designing with a view to the long term.companies to Sustainability as set forth by consultant John At the same time, and by the hand of the World BusinessElkington in his book, Cannibals with Forks (1997). In it, he also Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), new conceptsdefined the concept that he coined as Triple Bottom Line (TBL), that were applicable to business sustainability began to takepointed to as the differentiating attribute of companies that shape. These concepts stressed the need for companies to notwere categorically committed to sustainability: e.g., companies only seek eco-efficiency, but also to properly think about (orwhose management systems take into account the impact of re-think) their relationship with society and the environment,their processes and products on the economy, society and the by incorporating practices encompassed within the concept ofenvironment. Subsequently, sustainable companies began to be corporate social responsibility (CSR).defined as those that were capable of reformulating their strategies Defined by the WBCSD as“the decision of a company to contributeby including three complementary parameters: economic growth, to sustainable development by working with its employees, theircreation of social value and environmental conservation. families and the local community, as well as with society as a whole,So it was that in the last five years of the 20th century, this to improve the quality of life”, it placed the company in a keynew paradigm began to repeat itself throughout the productive position within the architecture of the new paradigm. Withinsector: Businesses began to talk for the first time ever about the neo-liberal model, which at the time was enjoying broadincorporating such concepts as the creation of economic, social acceptance in much of the world, change toward sustainabilityand environmental value for their “stakeholders” (workers, required the action of companies, considered, as they were, toshareholders, customers, civil and government organizations) be the main driving force behind economic growth. 33
  30. 30. Business in the 21st Century With the dawning of the new millennium, an ever-growing number of business people joined the debate and began to re-1. Market Pressure think the place that their companies were occupying and the role they played in society and on Planet Earth. In this way, the concept of what constituted a sustainable company continued to2. New Values develop and be enriched, especially in ethical and social terms. Inwardly, a new corporate culture emerged, one that recognized3. Transparency the people that made up the company and the know-how that they generated (e.g., its human capital) as its main asset, since the competitiveness of the company depended on their capacity4. Technology for action and innovation. Outwardly, companies started to recognize themselves as integral parts of the communities5. Partnerships where they operated and, as such, as jointly responsible for both the welfare and the problems of these societies, as well6. Long-Term Vision as being participants in the definition of their values. Out of this emerged the incorporation of the environmental variable into corporate strategy, along with the creation of economic7. TBL and social value — or in other words, the Triple Bottom Line mentioned earlier. Information technologies and the development of the InternetThe 7 Revolutíons toward Sustainability, facilitated both internal changes in companies and theiraccording to John Elkington communications with society. The Web provided a means 34
  31. 31. of boosting the impact on consumers of the change toward willing to change one of their habitual brand preferences ifsustainability. In many cases, consumers preferred to pay they were to read a negative comment about it on the Internet,a little more for “clean” products, that is to say, ones that, adding that 41% of those surveyed had already done so . Asbesides providing the manufacturers with a profit, were made power brokers, the new electronic media are currently growingin accordance with standards that protected the environment by leaps and bounds. According to recent statements byand created social value. geopolitical expert Ignacio Ramonet, Chairman and Editor ofIn this way, brands associated with sustainability began to Le Monde Diplomatique, the Internet and bloggers are bent ongain prestige, which in turn began to bolster the value of becoming the “fifth power”: the citizen’s counterweight againstthese companies’ shares. Similarly, investor interest in these the dominion of major media groups over the news.firms increased, since sustainability had become an almost Internet is also a channel for the campaigns of NGOs likeindispensable attribute in convincing those who sought to ATTAC, Clean Clothes Campaign, Free Burma, Friends of theexpand their capital by investing in a productive enterprise. Earth and No Sweat!, which exercise the kind of supervisionBut it was on the Web too that, with equal swiftness, voices at which governments have shown themselves to still bewere raised up against the new paradigm, especially through inefficient. Through this and other media, they demand thatcampaigns and protests organized by some earlier-mentioned the private sector be held accountable for the social, economicNGOs, as well as through blogs which, now in their tenth and environmental impact of its activities.year, number more than 70 million and encompass some 4.2 Many times the results of these campaigns are highly successfulmillion active bloggers. and achieve changes in the behavior of the productive sector.Regarding the influence of growing consumer cyber-activism, Proof of this is the business organization called PETA (PeopleZed Digital, a firm specializing in marketing on the Internet, for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), which managed to geta few months back published a study in which it claimed that the world’s two leading soft-drink makers, PepsiCo and The44.1% of all bloggers in Spain had shown themselves to be Coca Cola Company (TCCC), to sign a written commitment 35
  32. 32. not to use animals in the testing of their products. And thenthere is the alliance between Coca Cola and WWF International(World Wildlife Fund International), by which the companypledged investment of 20 million dollars in a program aimedat three freshwater conservation objectives: 1) reduction of theamount of water used to make their beverages; 2) recyclingof the water used in their manufacturing processes, and 3)replenishing of water in the communities and in Nature in thevicinity of its bottling plants. In a survey, 44.1% of Spain’s bloggers said they were willing to change their product preferences based on negative comments on the Internet. 36
  33. 33. Greenwashing or Real Change?The term “greenwash” stems from the word “whitewash” (which means to gloss over or cover upsomething) and is used pejoratively to describe certain marketing actions that some companies makeuse of in seeking to somehow compensate for other actions that have “soiled” their brand image, dueto the negative impact of these actions on the environment.A number of environmentalist organizations have concentrated their efforts on exposing and denouncing“greenwashers”, to the point of actually creating rankings, such as America’s Ten Worst Greenwashers,which, in 2002, was led by the makers of Kraft’s Post Selects cereals for promoting their product as“natural” when they were, in fact, packaging “laboratory” cereals.Actions like those of the companies included in this ranking are easily qualified as “greenwashing”.Others are not so easy.Wal-Mart, the world’s largest corporation, with revenues of 315 billion dollars and more than 11 billion inprofits for 2006, is frequently accused of non-sustainable conduct. In reaction to this, the chain recentlylaunched a line of organic clothing and, in the process, became the world’s largest buyer of organiccotton. Simultaneously, Wal-Mart kicked off its Sustainability 360 plan, which projects annualinvestments of 500 million dollars with the aim of achieving a level of sustainable products equal to20% of all products offered by its stores in just three years’ time. Whether this is a real change of valuesor another case of “greenwashing”, the fact that 100 million people a week are being invited to consumeresponsible products, and more than 60,000 suppliers to manufacture them, makes the impact of do-ing business in this way clearly predictable on a worldwide scale.
  34. 34. New Playing RulesWithin this context, characterized by a market with consumers sustainable development; and Petrobras, now rated on the Dowthat not only have voice and vote, but also their own Jones Sustainability Index, the most highly used parametercommunications media —which they use to demand that today in the classification of responsible companies, from ancompanies change to more sustainable policies— the 100 economic, social and environmental standpoint.New Global Challengers have flourished. This is a group of a Running counter to this, the “conversion” or “re-conversion”hundred companies from developing countries, identified in a of companies “born and raised” according to the old paradigmstudy by a Boston consulting group, which, besides providing is not always easy. The change implies much more thanjobs to more than 4.6 million people and generating profits of adopting a new set of values that substantially alter a company’smore than 715 billion dollars a year, have managed to stand culture and its way of doing business. It starts with assumingout as leaders of the sustainable business movement. Major the fact that the world has changed radically and that, as thefirms among them include: Cemex (Mexico), renowned for consulting group SustainAbility recently stated, there are newits work with neglected markets and its firm commitment to playing rules that companies have to apply in order to achievethe communities where its plants operate; Natura (Brazil), sustainability without losing their competitive edge in the newa cosmetics company whose trademark is strongly linked to global scenarios. 38
  35. 35. 1. Plan for the unexpected.Flexibility in the value chain, in technological platforms and in labor policiesconstitutes the new efficiency factor.2. Find the True South.Don’t underestimate the importance of the emerging economies.There are regions where development is raging today at a dizzying pace.3. Don’t wait for “the Big Guys” to take the initiative.Today even the most powerful companies are exposed to scandal and crisis.What is decisive is the capacity to create sustainable value.4. Contribute to strengthening the Earth’s immune system.Bring intelligence and creativity to the search for solutions toenvironmental and social crises.5.Think in terms of opportunities and innovation.Change the focus of environmental and social issues: Consider themmajor opportunities instead of risks.6. Surpass yourself day after day.The challenges are huge and demand a radical change of attitude.Leaders must go out in search of new allies, models and solutions.7. Be political.You have to get involved and take positions in conflicts.The 7 Rules of the Sustainability Game, according to John Elkington
  36. 36. Sustainability Standards Economic IndicatorsThe sustainable company is now a fact of life and it looks likeit is here to stay. But how do you go about rating a company’slevel of sustainability? Consultants and managers today applyeconomic, social and environmental indicators that respond tothe Triple Bottom Line (TBL) concept. These are specific, usuallyquantitative indices that evaluate the impact of each businessmove, for the purpose of establishing its level of sustainability.Although the list and number of the indicators are variable,many are included in the majority of business platforms.Usually, these companies will adopt a platform of indicators andthen gradually improve it in accordance with the circumstances Productivity Ratio.they must deal with. A good example of this kind of flexibility is Wage and Benefit Level.provided by the multinational, Hewlett-Packard (HP), which,after being investigated in 2006 for secretly spying on its Product Value/Environmentalexecutives to try and discover whether any of them had leaked Impact Ratio (eco-efficiency).information to the press, adopted privacy policies as one of theratios in its Annual Sustainability Report . Investment in Research, Development and Innovation. Total taxes or contributions to the Public Administration. 40
  37. 37. Social Indicators Environmental IndicatorsSafety and Hygiene in the Workplace. Use of Renewable Energy Resources.No Gender, Ethnic or Age Discrimination. Use of Recyclable Materials.Level of Training among Human Capital. No Water, Air or Soil Pollution.Satisfaction and Turnover Ratio. Auditing of Processes Applied byImpact on Social Development in the Local Suppliers and Transporters.Community. Respect for Biodiversity.Capacity to Influence Stakeholders in the Obedience of Environmental Laws.Adoption of Like Values. 41
  38. 38. Sustainability Report and Business AssociationsSocial Balance Sheet Based on ValuesThe sustainability report is a tool through which companies The communications revolution and new technologies,disclose and measure the economic, social and environmental coupled with constant public complaints being voiced byimpact of processes implemented over the course of a citizens and NGOs alike, alerted companies to the urgentparticular year or other period of time. Promoted by the GRI need to get organized and to form associations, in order to(Global Reporting Initiative), it reports profits, investment and face a variety of problems of the new millennium.other information on the company’s economic and financial Below are examples of three successful efforts to createsituation. Its aim is to detail the brand value or soundness business associations based on sustainability values.of the company, by explaining the level of risk minimizationachieved thanks to social, political or legal actions, and it mayinclude —although this is not a priority— aspects linked tosocial responsibility.The social balance sheet, on the other hand, is a goodwillcommunication tool that focuses more on social issues The World Business Council for Sustainable Developmentand contains data which are certified by only a handful of (WBCSD) is a coalition of 180 international companiesorganizations in the entire world. that are united in their commitment to sustainable development, based on the three pillars of economic growth, ecological balance and social progress. Founded at the Rio de Janeiro worldwide Earth Summit in 1992, today its members represent 35 countries and 20 strategic areas of business. The mission of the WBCSD is to provide business leadership as a catalyst for change toward sustainable development. 42
  39. 39. Business Case StudiesThe Ethos Institute of Companies and Social Appendices 1, 2 and 3 of this book include case studies of com-Responsibility is a Non-Government Organization panies that have begun the change toward sustainability, withcreated in Brazil in 1998, whose mission is to mobilize, detailed information about each of them.sensitize and help companies manage their businessesin a more socially responsible way, with the ultimate Appendix 1: Pioneer companies Starbucksgoal being to contribute to the building of a more The Whole Foods Marketsustainable and just society. The Institute’s more than Patagonia1,000 members have combined annual billings equal Naturato 33% of the Brazilian GDP and they provide about Ben & Jerry’sone million jobs. Appendix 2: Companies that Changed Toyota General Electric DuPont Home DepotBusiness for Social Responsibility (BSR) is an Interface Nikeinternational not for profit business organization with Wal-Martheadquarters in San Francisco and offices in Europeand China. It offers consulting services to 250 partner Appendix 3: Sustainable companiescompanies and to another 1,000 businesses around Nauthe world. Its mission is to contribute to the creation Grameen Telecom Guayakíof a fairer and more sustainable world, by working American Appareltogether with companies to promote more responsible Seventh Generationpractices, as well as innovation and cooperation. Sambazon 43
  40. 40. The Ones that Made History Chapter 3Benchmarks, Inspirers and PioneersELKINGTON, The Father among his classmates to donate to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). And in 1978 he had already joined two colleagues“As we move into the third millennium, we are embarking —one of them Max Nicholson, co-founder of the WWF — inon a global cultural revolution. Business, much more than creating a firm called Environmental Data Services.governments or NGOs, will be in the driving seat.” John Elkington Dubbed by BusinessWeek magazine as “the dean of CSR (Cor- porate Social Responsibility)” for three decades, John Elking-The “Father of Sustainable Development”: such is the role ton is the author and co-author of 40 papers and 17 booksthat the specialized media attribute to John Elkington, the that have sold millions of copies around the world. MostBritish sociologist and social psychologist born in 1949, who noteworthy among them, due to their status as “requiredco-founded the first independent consulting firm devoted to reading”, are The Green Consumer Guide (1988) and Canni-sustainability. Its name: SustainAbility. bals with Forks (1997).This firm —which Elkington himself presided over from 1995 The Green Consumer Guide is a catalog of sustainableto 2005— has offices in London, Zurich, Washington D.C. and products that includes information for consumers regardingSan Francisco, and counts such big names as Ford, Microsoft, the manufacturers and stores that offer them. In this book,Nike, Shell and Unilever (as well as other major multinationals Elkington states that: “Every day, whether we are shopping forworldwide) among its clients. simple necessities or for luxury items, for fish fingers or furBut Elkington’s link to sustainability dates back to his childhood. coats, we are making choices that affect the environmentalHe was only 11 years old when he collected contributions quality of the world we live in.” 45
  41. 41. It was in Cannibals with Forks that the author introduced the issues, imaginative, innovative and entrepreneurial, that’srevolutionary concept of the Triple Bottom Line (TBL). This what we’ve got to ignite —or re-ignite where we’ve lost it.”refers to minimum levels of conduct surrounding three key John Elkington published his latest book, The Power ofconcerns —profitability, planet and people— and to the pos- Unreasonable People: How Entrepreneurs Create Markets andsibility of introducing sustainable capitalism. Elkington says Change the World, in 2008, this time with co-author Pamelathat “in a world where the natural order of things is for corpo- Hartigan.rations to devour competing corporations...one emerging formof ‘cannibalism with a fork’ —sustainable capitalism— wouldcertainly constitute real progress.” He further explains that thefork represents the TBL of sustainability and its three prongs,economic prosperity, environmental quality and social justice.Despite the fact that he orients his arguments more towardthe environmental issue than toward economic and social con-cerns, the author makes it clear that uniting these three dimen-sions in a political agenda constitutes the main challenge tobusiness in the 21st century.On his website at www.johnelkington.com, he states that weare at the beginning of a new era, in which entrepreneurs are atthe head of sustainable development and that this makes themtrue agents of social transformation. He adds: “So I think, notjust young people, but the youthful way of thinking about these 46
  42. 42. SCHMIDHEINY, The Visionary — some of them mortal. This was toward the end of the 1970s. Schmidheiny was sure“Today there are 2.8 billion people —nearly half of Mankind— that his father and predecessor at the head of the Group hadthat live on less than 2 dollars a day. been unaware of the noxious effects of asbestos when heIt is these people that we must include in a true and radical decided to make use of it in the manufacturing of fiber-cement.development process.” Far from hiding his head in the sand, however, Schmidheiny Stephan Schmidheiny ordered an investigation to establish whether or not the claims were valid and once it was established that they indeed were,The creation of social value is one of the goals most hard- he accepted responsibility in the damage suits against thesought by Stephan Schmidheiny, the Swiss philanthropist and company and pushed the firm to develop new technology thatformer industrialist who is as well known for his commitment did not make use of asbestos in its processes.to sustainable development as for his business successes. Meanwhile, his success as a businessman was on the rise. TheBorn in St. Gallen in 1947, he holds a law degree and is a young Schmidheiny showed avid interest in environmentalmember of a veritable industrial dynasty in the construction issues and attended conferences on the subject. First he wentmaterials industry. to Stockholm, where he audited a major conference as anShortly after assuming management of his family’s holding unregistered participant. But at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992,company, he had to face a conflict directly involving Eternit, the he established himself as a natural leader by convening othermanufacturer of fiber-cement blocks enriched with asbestos, business people who actively participated in the event for theand one of the most important companies in the Group. The first time in history: Within the framework of the Summit,conflict stemmed from claims by former employees of the he founded the World Business Council for Sustainablecompany’s plants to the effect that after inhaling the asbestos Development (WBCSD), which produced a groundbreakingfibers, they had developed a wide variety of respiratory illnesses report called Changing Course, in which the term eco-efficiency 47
  43. 43. was mentioned for the first time as an essential element in the Furthermore, he figures that his role, like that of othersuccessful development of companies in a world limited by business people, is decisive in the development process thatdwindling resources. Mankind requires, and explains: “When I entered the businessSince then, through the management of his businesses, world, my intention was to create economic wealth. But at theSchmidheiny has gradually evolved into what he himself has same time, I managed to create value for society, especiallydefined as a “committed stakeholder”, while developing new for those who were neediest, and to safeguard the options offorms of philanthropy. It was with this philosophy in mind future generations in the best way possible. I don’t see thesethat he established the AVINA Foundation in 1994. The objectives as incompatible or exclusive.”organization originally provided support to Latin Americansocial entrepreneurs so that they could move forward with theirsustainable development-related projects. Currently, AVINA isdevoted to creating networks and alliances among social andbusiness leaders. It was based on these same premises thathe created the VIVA Trust in 2003, an organization to whichhe donated all of his shares in his business conglomerate,GrupoNueva, with the aim of guaranteeing economic supportto AVINA and other foundations committed to sustainabledevelopment in Latin America.Schmidheiny defines sustainable development as “not livingbeyond our means; not burning down our house to keep warmor sawing off the limb we’re sitting on; living on the interestand not on the capital”. 48
  44. 44. DRAYTON, The Prophet for the Advancement of Colored People), an organization for“This is the most radical structural change I’ve ever seen. the defense of minority rights in the United States.Once millions of people enjoy the freedom to generate a change At Harvard University, where he graduated in 1970, he foundedevery time they see a problem, who is going to stop them? If a the Ashoka Table, a forum for dialog between students andperson is frustrated, there will be hundreds of others looking at that leaders in government and industry. While studying Lawproblem in that community and looking for a solution. One of at Yale, he created the Yale Legislative Services, an initiativethem is going to find it”. to allow university students to collaborate with American Bill Drayton lawmakers in developing legislation. By the time he graduated, he had managed to involve a third of the students at Yale LawBill Drayton is credited with coining the term “social in this project. Drayton worked for ten years as a consultantentrepreneur” to describe individuals who combine the for McKinsey and Company. Under the Jimmy Carterpragmatic methods of the business entrepreneur with the Administration (1977-1981) he was Assistant Administrator forgoals of the social reformer. Whether he is the author of the the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He also workedterm or not, no one can question the major role in the field of for a short time on the White House staff.sustainability of the founder and chairman of Ashoka, a not It was in 1980 that he launched Ashoka, an organization thatfor profit association devoted to providing financial support to he started up with initial capital of 50,000 dollars and that nowentrepreneurs around the world. finances thousands of social entrepreneurs worldwide. In 2007,Born in New York in 1943, Drayton was already heading up a the organization had funds of over 30 million dollars, havingseries of social initiatives in his youth. While attending secondary financed more than 1,600 enterprises in 60 countries. “Withinschool, he founded the Asia Society and turned it into one of five years,” says this true fanatic of the transforming powerthe most powerful student associations ever known. At about of entrepreneurs on the road to the sustainability paradigm,that same time, he joined the NAACP (National Association “more than 50 percent of the Ashoka Fellows changed national 49

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