Using a business as a catalyst for change
What is activism?
•Any effort to create change.
"Be the change you wish to see in the world."
My journey started when I finished work to have my son.
•Left full-time role as marketing manager.
•Background in management consulting.
•Was starting from a zero-income base.
•Had found aspects of the corporate world were misaligned with my values.
Shared value capitalism
Shared value capitalism
Professionalism under shareholder capitalism feels a bit like this:
Conundrum: how would I realign my values with my work?
“There is no such thing as an environmentalist. Just find the thing that you are passionate about, do it to the best of your ability, and in the process make positive change.”
I loved strategy…
• Defining purpose, vision, values.
• Identifying highest priority strategic goals and setting out broadly
how these will be achieved.
Situation Analysis Vision
• Implementation of
– Carbon footprint
– Cradle to cradle
– Closed loop
•“Strategic planning to help organisations improve their performance and increase their contribution to our world.”
•“Lead a new business movement whereby more and more organisations view success in terms of their total contribution to our world, causing significant growth in social and environmental capital.”
Human instinctShareholder capitalismShared value capitalismSustainable capitalismLEVEL OF EQUALITYUNIT OF VALUEMORAL INTENTIONS & OUTCOMESMARKET DYNAMICSDIMENSION OF CSRVALUE CREATION FOCUSECONOMIC GROWTH ASPIRATIONSENVIRON IMPACTSurvive and thriveSelf-interest (good for me) Reciprocity (good for society) Cooperation (creating shared value) Competition (survival of the fittest)Harm minimisationProfit before planet Social equalitySocial inequality Individual (egocentric) Community (anthropocentric) Growth economy (relative decoupling) Growth economy (no decoupling) Economic and legalEthicalEmphasis on human- made and social capitalEmphasis on human-made capital
Shared value capitalism
(good for me)
(good for the planet)
Symbiosis (harmony between
people, planet and profit)
human-made, social and
What I could charge
Surplus for altruisticreinvestment (can experiment)
Altruism and authentic purpose as a foundation for strategy
•New Scientist: Last year, researchers compared 180 companies and found that the more environmentally friendly businesses were more profitable in the long run than their less-sustainable competitors.
•Adam Grant, the youngest tenured professor at Wharton is author of the best- selling Give and Take. Grant believes that the success of our careers is due to our generosity with our time and knowledge.
•My experience confirms the strategy works. Why? Authenticity of purpose leads to better decision making.
•Investment in the common good appears to have both direct and indirect benefits.
If an organisation has a well-defined purpose, targeted at the common good, then by investing altruistically in its areas of interest, the organisation will inadvertently make itself stronger. For example, if a business that produces consumer goods invests altruistically (i.e. with no expectation for return) in reducing its impact on the environment to zero, by developing, say closed-loop production methods, eventually it will have a far more resilient and attractive business, even though that may not have been the original goal.
Vision: a bright future where the natural world and the human spirit are perpetually enriched by the activities of business and society.
Kommoncampaigns and goals
•“Women rising”: promote the role of women in the new economy.
•Giving a voice to sustainability through art.
•Combatting the influence of the “for profit” media.
•Promotion of investment in the common good by business and individuals.
–To serve as a case study for my consulting business.
•Leading mobile phone accessories distributor,
•Donate a percentage of their margin to Carbon Neutral for every private branded product they sell.
•Over 19,000 trees planted and recognised as a Gold Supporter.
•Now investigating biodegradable materials and packaging.
–Give our members access to a “river-side lifestyle” and the social benefits of boating.
–Bringing life to the river
Purpose: Giving voice to Perth’s cultural communities by promoting local music, arts and current affairs and encouraging progressive social change.
•“In all that we do we look to innovate and re-use.”
•Local innovator in advertising-funded street furniture.
•Committed to sustainability -both environmental and social - and reflect this in the design of their street furniture and promotion of the positive in the community.
•Recycle advertising posters, work to reduce their carbon footprint through eWoodbus shelters and street furniture (made from recycled print cartridges).
•In the process of developing Australia’s most sustainable bus shelter.
•Donates thousands of dollars worth of media space annually to support not-for-profit organisations, charities and sporting clubs in WA.
•Manufactures carpets, textiles, chemicals, architectural products and access flooring systems.
•Mission Zero® to achieve zero negative impact on the environment by 2020.
•Because it is “the right thing to do”.
•Eliminate waste, closed-loop production, biomimicry, renewable energy.
•$400m in cost savings.
How will these ideas take hold? Emergence.
•The world changes as networks of relationships form among individuals with a common purpose and vision of what's possible.
•Separate, local efforts connect with each other as networks.
•These strengthen as communities of practice.
•Suddenly and surprisingly a system of influenceemerges at a higher scale, possessing qualities and capacities that were unknown in the individuals.
•They are properties of the system, not the individual, but once there, individuals possess them.
How will you find your authentic purpose?
Once you have your purpose, how will you:
•Form networks with individuals with a common cause and vision?
•Strengthen these into communities of practice?
•Create system of influence?
Where I was versus where I am now
Damaging to the environment
Not living my human values
Aligned with my human values
Soulful / “heart”
Emergent characteristics of the new paradigm
And it’s one of the easiest, lowest-risk things I’ve ever done
Authenticity: by no means am I getting things perfectly right
•By traditional or contemporary standards, I fail all the time.
•I’m just very good at forgiving myself.
•And I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.
"Whether humanity will consciously follow the law of love, I do not know. But that need not disturb me. The law will work just as the law of gravitation works
whether we accept it or not." ~ Gandhi