I received this passionate and utterly brilliant message from Giles Gibbons, Founder & CEO of Good Business, earlier this week. Naturally, I agree with every word, and it’s just too good not to share in full:
20 years and counting of the ‘sustainability movement’ – of which we count ourselves a part – and what have we achieved? Our honest answer right now is nowhere near enough.
If anything drives it home it’s the summer we’ve just had. We don’t think you can have lived through it without having a ‘stop and think’ moment. 46-degree heat in Paris. The hottest July the continent of Africa has ever seen. Populism breaking politics in Britain, and exploding onto the scene in France, Italy, Ukraine – and the list goes on…
Too many people feel that the world is stacked in favour of elites at the expense of everyone else. And so the two main challenges of our day – climate change and inequality – played out on the global stage in a clear, present and in-your-face way. Even the FT and corporate USA have started to argue that capitalism as currently construed isn’t working. And that’s before millions of people around the globe joined the biggest climate protest ever.
This must be the time not just to sit up and think, but to take action. Businesses have been delivering slow and incremental change in the name of business responsibility and sustainability when what we need is a thunderbolt of transformation.
We can’t keep saying we’ve got twenty years to save the world because the time will run out. From zero-carbon commitments to the SDG deadline, horizons for delivery are drawing ever closer, not so the action they demand. In fact we think that unless business steps up to the challenges we face, time will be called on the sustainability movement. It’s not delivering the capitalism the world both wants and needs.
But it absolutely can. And there’s never been a more compelling case for it to do so. Not least because there is a massive new wave of will for change. For the first time ever consumers and culture are in the lead on all this, demanding action. People want to buy from, work for, talk about and partner with organisations that deliver bold solutions for people and society. And for every established business that doesn’t deliver against this there’s a disrupter that will.
The message is clear. If you want your business to be part of the future you need a step change in thinking and action. Steady progress on sustainability will write you out of history. The winners will be those that embrace transformative change.
And if there’s ever a moment to mark a new beginning it’s upon us – January 2020. A decade to meet the 2030 agenda for sustainable change. The moment to draw a line in the sustainability sand, and springboard into a new era of action.
We know this is anything but easy. But it is essential. And we believe that everything we’ve learnt and done over the past 20+ years of working in this space has set us up for this moment.
If you agree, join with us. If you want us to help, please get in touch. We’re ready.
Founder & CEO