To make a world that can support all the people that want to live on it and use its resources, we need businesses to take a strong role in finding new ways to account for more than just the bottom line.
When the richest quarter of the world’s population use about half of our global resources–and take the liberty to produce half of the global waste–while another third live in poverty, it is clear that our economic and societal systems are failing us.
That is even before we have reached the point where our planet needs to accommodate 9 billion mostly urbanized and aging people. Add in the rapidly growing middle class in China, India and elsewhere who also want their share, and it is easy to see that our current path is unsustainable.
Over this hangs the cloud of climate change, which is already having huge consequences. Scientists agree that we face the risk of even more severe floods and droughts, which is clearly related to our addiction to fossil resources, necessitating an inevitable transition to renewable, alternative energy sources.
And we need to address food and water security too, for we cannot accept that 2 billion people are malnourished, half of whom go to bed hungry every day.
These urgent global challenges surely provide the impetus to redesign our economic system.
We need a new approach that recognizes the importance of profit, but which gives equal weight to the impact of economic activity on our planet and its people, too. In short, a triple P approach in which societal, ecological, and economic value creation are seen as three equal goals for business. This is not just a matter of applying business ethics; we also need to embed this in our economic and business system, using new legal and accounting rules, so as to recast the role of business in society.
Why? Because the impact of the private sector has increased enormously over the last 50 to 100 years. Some of the largest companies now have cash balances that are bigger than some countries’ GDP. The harm companies can do, but also the good, is impacting our planet and its people on a scale never seen before. And it is private companies who, with their technological expertise and innovative power, can provide the answers to the world’s biggest challenges.
via FastCoExist – FEIKE SIJBESMA
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