May 19

People Planet Profit sustainability in business: dream or reality?

Imagine a world where corporations would serve the common greater good. What would this ideal world look like? What would law, finance, governance and citizen/consumer look like?
Is this ideal world a utopia or is it already somehow emerging? If so, how to leverage all the fragmented experiments and integrate them together to channel and focus our efforts? This conference has been given on May the 20th of 2015 at University of Florida at the XII International Colloquium of Sustainable Development.


In this ideal world, what would business and finance look like?

If every actors of a value chain are interdependent, why not sharing risks, investments and benefits? Instead of pushing as many products as possible why wouldn’t they rethink their respective business model to create together a circular economy that would consider the product’s after life and would end this ecological madness called “planned obsolescence”.

Corporate Social Responsibility would not be a public relationship issue but the core of a company’s strategy. Could some part of the $500 billion global advertising industry be invested to promote sustainability instead of stimulating short-term consumerism that often has a significant human and environmental cost?

Could we imagine that corporate financial communication would not live on quarterly focus but would include long economical cycle (Kondratiev/Schumpeter) or product life cycle?

Markets could recover their genuine function, which is to fund entrepreneurial projects. Speculation for speculation or algorithmic and high-frequency trading would become incongruous.

The rating agencies could include not only debt and financial metrics but also environmental and ethical so that a good eco-societal company would benefit from cheaper financing.

In this ideal world what would legal and political structures look like?

What if laws were not written by lobbies but for citizens? What if citizens and judges had the maturity to live according to the spirit of the law instead of obeying to its literal meaning?

Instead of claiming once’s right to XXX, could we wonder what is fair for us?

Could we imagine a national constitution giving rights to nature ? to “primitive”, even if they live on ore or oil fields?

Could politics become a service to the nation instead of being a power game? Could the polarizing bipartisanship leave the ideology field to enter genuine problem solving?

Could our democracy not only value the mass media manipulated average?

In this ideal world, how would citizens/consumers so leaders behave?

Instead of governing one’s life looking at the benefits for MY family, MY business or MY look-like, w hat would be the outlook of a society , that substitutes individual’s “money power and fame” for the common greater good of people planet and profit?

What if instead of managing individuals and organizations through hierarchy, competition, and fear, we would behave with goodwill, compassion, and empathy one for the other?

Could we imagine that a mindset could integrate more and more dimensions coming from a simple, linear and binary thinking to a more holistic and multidimensional long-term thinking?

This is not a dream, this is an emerging reality

When we see bubbles at the bottom of the boiler, we know for sure that water will be boiling soon. Same principle applies to all the utopias since everything that we considered in the previous paragraphs is happening since 2010. Yes, all of these utopias exist, off course partially and with boundaries in scale and some at global level.

Please refer to the slides 10 to 14 and click on any pink-framed picture to discover the pioneer, the book or the field experience that demonstrates that all we need is “simply” to integrate these pioneering actions.

How to leverage this pioneer’s effort?

We believe that to have a sustainable and systemic impact, once has to work at two parallel levels:
One level is internal, invisible and related to

  1. The organizational culture: this unconscious collective intelligence that defines our relationship to authority, to risk acceptance, responsibility and freedom…
  2. The consciousness level of each individual understood as his ability to care for always more people and to include in his thinking increasingly complex interdependencies.

Since the individual is:

  • Working for an organization, he/she can influence the set up of circular economy of shared created value
  • Voting as a citizen and shopping as a consumer, he influences both the politics and the corporate success

Therefore we believe that the human being, by his capacity to care for always more “ others” and to integrate increasingly complex interdependencies is therefore 21st century major challenge.

Pierre-Antoine Barraillé

About The Author

Financial Engineer - praneo co-founder Switzerland Business Development, Financial Engineering, Management Consulting Meditation, Science, Spirituality