A home for the Conscious Business community in the UK

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Two birds with one stone?

Last night I met with some colleagues from the Transition Town network in Lewes (where I live) to brainstorm what the world of business might look like in 2025 – just 17 years away. I was really buoyed up by the discussion – and by the opportunities that will arise as people really start to address the issues that we face.

One of the important parts of our vision is that “Many more ventures will integrate social and commercial aims”. This is a view supported by Corporation 20/20, a new multi-stakeholder initiative that seeks to answer the question: “What would a corporation look like that was designed to seamlessly integrate both social and financial purpose?”

We also covered areas like customers, the broader market, work and employment, production and creation, industry sectors and how they are changing. And overall I got strong sense of a positive world where at the same time as solving our problems we are simultaneously improving our lot, individually and collectively. Inspiring stuff.

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Solutions not problems

There are some excellent summaries of what the sustainability challenge is all about. Personally I am more interested in solutions than the problems.

But just to set the context, I guess if you have read this far, you’ll agree that actually it’s not that surprising that as the world population has grown from around 2 billion people to around 6 billion in the course of just my lifetime (I am 50 years old) that the world is creaking a little under the strain.

That’s a huge understatement of course. There’s a long list of problems we face: climate change, poverty, nuclear annihilation, terrorism, resource insecurity, and so on.

To me sustainability is the solution to all these – “to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (that’s the Bruntland Commission’s definition).

And it’s solutions I am much more interested in than discussing the problems. And specifically what small and medium-sized businesses can do.