Author Archives: Richard

The Trump Era – What Responsible Business Leaders Can Do

What Can One Company Do? Don’t Be One Company

Hundreds of business leaders who understand the interdependence between people, planet and profit are convening in Washington DC October 22-24 for a Sustainable Business Summit.

Hosted by the American Sustainable Business Council, it is arguably the most important and timely gathering of triple bottom line business leaders, policy makers, think tanks and media since the first summit six years ago.

A Thumb on the Scales

Since taking office, the Trump administration has been tipping the competitive scales in favor of companies and industries whose strategies have one thing in common: maximizing profits by shifting costs and risks to the public and our environment.

Regulatory roll-backs, proposed cuts to the E.P.A., and proposed tax cuts are combining in ways that will fundamentally restructure the rules under which businesses operate and compete, putting responsible businesses at a disadvantage by favoring:

·     Short-term exploitation over the long-term health and safety of our children, families and communities.

·     Polluters over good environmental stewards

·     Dirty fossil fuels over clean energy

·     Crony capitalism over investment in innovation

·     Monopolistic exercising of market power over small and medium size firms  rooted in local communities

·     Widening wealth and income inequality rather than rebuilding the middle class

PatagoniaEarth Friendly Products and New Belgium Brewing Co. are just a few of the thousands of companies that are proving that it’s possible for a business to be financially successful, and socially and environmentally responsible at the same time. They continually develop innovative ways to balance and integrate all three bottom lines in ways that create value for their owners, employees, and a wider circle of stakeholders.

But no company operates or competes within a vacuum. All businesses, communities and families will be affected by the policies that the Trump administration has set into motion.

Which is why being a good business alone is not enough.

Building a Sustainable Economy = Market dynamics + Public Policy

Good rules help us tap the power of innovation while protecting the sustainability of business. Sensible regulations promote fair competition and innovation while protecting and strengthening safeguards for public health and safety. Regulations and rules should be devised with all stakeholders having a voice at the table.

“If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu” – Michael Enzi

Take Your Place at the Table

I’ll be joining hundreds of other business leaders from all over the country to meet at SustyBiz17 to learn what we can do as responsible business owners and active corporate citizens to help create a more vibrant, inclusive and sustainable economy. 

We’ll also be meeting with policy makers on Capitol Hill to let them know that there’s another voice of business that is based on fact-based deep thinking rather than narrow self-interest and deep pockets. Our legislators need to hear from responsible businesses that are redefining success in ways that meet the unique realities and opportunities of the 21st century.

The stakes have never been higher, and waiting it out is not an option. Join us at SustyBiz17 and help us give government the real message of “what business wants.”

Reserve your place at the table today: Summit.ASBCouncil.org

Change is Hard – Transform Resolutions into Vows

Breaking old habits and adopting new ones is hard. 41% of people make new years resolutions, but only 9.2% of those people report that they were successful in achieving their resolutions. The beginning of a new year is a chance for a fresh start. It’s a great time to take stock of where we are in life,Continue Reading

What Business Can Learn from the Hidden Wholeness of Autumn

“There is in all visible things….a hidden wholeness.” – Thomas Merton I’ve always thought of autumn as kind of a bardo state – that in-between or shoulder season between the two opposite seasons of summer and winter. It’s also been my favorite time of year when cool crisp breezes bring a refreshing break from energy-sapping heatContinue Reading

When Loyalty and Personal Integrity Pull Us in Opposite Directions

When staying loyal to our group conflicts with our deepest-held values, what should we do? People are still reeling in disbelief over the improbable rise of Donald Trump as the Republican Presidential nominee. Many registered Republicans, party leaders and individual voters alike, are faced with a stark and excruciating choice – fall in line andContinue Reading

“Whole Iceberg” Pricing and the Triple Bottom Line

Most retail prices are like the tip of an iceberg, reflecting only a small portion of the costs associated with a product. Beneath the surface are myriad hidden environmental and social costs that are not included in the product’s price. Transitioning from a single bottom-line model toward a more sustainable triple bottom line model involvesContinue Reading

No Tipping – Smart Business Meets Social Responsibility

Earlier this week, Union Square Hospitality Group CEO, Danny Meyer,made an announcement that made headlines: they will eliminate tipping for service in their iconic Manhattan restaurants. In its place, the cost of hospitality will be included in the price of their menu items.  Meyer’s bold move reveals a leadership style that reflects the type ofContinue Reading

Post-Conventional Sustainability Leadership Using Action Inquiry

The adaptive changes that are necessary to create sustainable organizations and societies call for more leaders who exhibit post-conventional qualities.  Action Inquiry is discipline that promises to help leaders develop both the internal and external capacities needed to lead transformative change. Developed by Bill Torbert and Associates, Action inquiry is a disciplined leadership practice inContinue Reading

“The Earth and Its Poor Cry Out” – The Imperative for Business Leaders to Act

The enthusiastic crowds that greeted Pope Francis during his visit to the U. S. last week demonstrate how his influence extends beyond the realms of Catholicism and religion itself. His message of caring for our common home by cultivating an integral ecology founded on morality and compassion is meant for each of us – especiallyContinue Reading

How Incentives Can Undermine Sustainability Values

By reinforcing self-interest, even the best-intentioned financial incentives can hinder the cultivation of pro-social values that guide sustainable business transformation.  More effective is a full spectrum approach that addresses the needs and values of the whole person. In theory, it makes perfect sense. If you want to motivate people to produce more of something, simplyContinue Reading

Want To Accelerate Change? Get Personal

Relying on reason alone to drive organizational change is like fighting with one hand tied behind your back. We had done everything right…. or so we thought. We had brought together top-notch talent and the latest technology. We had included all stakeholders in every phase of development, and provided extensive training and ongoing technical supportContinue Reading