Last week, I gave a presentation to some of the folks at Landor Associates, the first part of which concluded with the following sequence of 3 slides that, for me, really crystallise the distinction between what I see as the strategically worthless practice of CSR and the disruptively innovative practice of designing for sustainability:
I absolutely adore those two quotes. The one from Bruce Mau just so perfectly sums up everything that’s wrong with “sustainability” as still practised by the vast majority of organisations today. The idea that it’s all about giving something back, whilst conveniently forgetting what you took in the first place is certainly no basis for long-term value creation.
Contrast that mindset with the quote from Ray Anderson (founder of sustainable business pioneers, Interface Inc.), which equally beautifully captures the essence of real sustainability as redesigning business in the pursuit of shared value, in recognition of the fact that the combination of climate change, population growth and diminishing resources presents a new set of frame conditions that the ways of the old industrial age cannot and will not survive.
The idea of a more constructive form of capitalism may seem like utopian nonsense to some, but adding grist to the mill of those of us who believe in finding “a better way to bigger profits”, the results just posted by the John Lewis Partnership today make for very interesting reading.
Famously co-owned by each and every one of its employees, JLP has just posted a 10.6% increase in profits over the past year, allowing its staff to share in £194.5 million in bonuses.
Most notably – and in stark contrast to the banks – those bonuses will be equally distributed right across the business at the rate 18% of salary. Chairman, Charlie Mayfield’s share? Less than £200,000. (Bob Diamond watch and learn!)