Greenwish: The Wishful Thinking Undermining Sustainable Business
Renewing Common Purpose and Collective Action
We are pleased to introduce an important idea from Duncan Austin who recently left a large sustainable investment firm after many years: “Greenwishing.” Duncan’s important message, coupled with John Elkington’s product recall last year on “triple bottom line,” a term he coined 25 years ago, reflect the growing consensus that sustainability in business is not working. Instead, the chorus for systemic transformation is growing.
From the outset, the sustainable business movement has confronted instances of so-called greenwash, twenty years on, we may now be facing a new affliction of greenwish – the earnest hope that well intended efforts to make the world more sustainable are much closer to achieving the necessary change than they really are. This unsought condition may prove every bit as harmful as greenwash, and possibly harder to unpick, because it is more widespread and arises mainly from good intentions.
Is it possible to create a kind economy?
The president and CEO of the United Nations Foundation reflects on the power of philanthropic collaboration.
Twenty years ago, Ted Turner made a big bet on the United Nations by pledging $1 billion to UN causes. At a time when many philanthropists were giving money for buildings with their names on the side, Turner gave his money to an idea: that our world’s biggest problems can be solved when people, nations, and organizations choose to solve them together.
The Perspective Shift needed to Unlock Positive Impact at Scale
The Lever Room’s Rebecca Mills was invited to join a televised 26 minute live debate with Jordan Williams, Dr Oliver Hartwich and Laura O’Connell Rapira which was aired on New Zealand’s TV1 last week. A few points from the evening:
• The current systems and structures of business and government were designed by us and we have the opportunity today to redesign them so to create holistic prosperity for communities, our biosphere as well as our economy. If we agree what we value (things like fresh water, clean air, loving communities) we can design our economy, companies and capital flows to also support these things. There are already many models for doing this.
Impact Measurement Insights and key pillars of the Business for Good/Social Enterprise Movement
Currently there is a surge of writing and talk about how we can best support purpose-led investors, entrepreneurs and their companies to scale. In this article I summarise existing approaches and make a case that although they’re helpful, it’s a shift in perspective that may help us more rapidly achieve the outcomes we want. What’s even better is there’s scientific proof that this shift in perspective and intention is in even greater alignment with how our brains are hardwired to work.
A new climate: Why October 2018 was an emergency beacon signalling our opportunity to disrupt or be disrupted
‘Social entrepreneurship, or business for good, isn’t a new concept. In fact, it’s been around since the industrial revolution. And in Aotearoa, social enterprise has been widely recognised as part of Māori culture for a lot longer.’
“If you go back 150 years ago, a business’ purpose was two- fold,” Rebecca says. “While entrepreneurs wanted to make a profit, many were also driven to serve communities and wanted to provide their workers with resources like housing and affordable food.”
Why ‘Buy-One-Give-One' companies could be causing more harm than good
There is no doubt that October 2018 has been a huge month for the climate change agenda. It was a month that made its mark, leaving no doubt that we are in the zone of both great risk and great opportunity.
As the world’s scientists doubled down on their conviction of the magnitude of climate change’s impacts, governments including New Zealand’s own are increasingly signalling changes ahead. A recent report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that to keep temperatures from rising to disastrous levels, all nations need to instigate radical changes within the next 12 years.
The Lever Room: We are go!
‘Business for good’ is good for business. Research backs up that there is money to be made in ‘purposeful’ business. A study of over 30,000 people from Nielsen in 2014 indicated that 75 percent of Millennials and Gen Z (65 percent across all age ranges) will pay more for products and services that ‘give back’ to society. New research by Porter Novelli has also shown that 78 percent of Americans believe that companies have a responsibility to have a positive impact on society, while 77 percent have a “stronger emotional connection” to companies which they see to be driven by a social purpose.
We had a lot of fun in our first (almost full) team meet celebrating the official Companies Office recognition of our name change to The Lever Room Ltd from Rebecca Mills & Co Ltd. There was fresh Carrot Cake thanks to Ripe Deli, coffee thanks to Billy and Organic Mechanic Kombucha too. Even better than cake and coffee is how excited we all are about our new name and refreshed platform which will help us scale our own impact into the future.