Doing well by doing good
We live in a world of accelerating change where industrialization and globalization has helped us leap forward and transform the world in ways that were previously unimaginable. Today, our lifespans are longer, we are better educated, millions have been lifted out of poverty, and our way of living is more comfortable than ever before.
This comfort has, however, also come at a great cost for our planet, with unwanted consequences such as biodiversity loss and climate change. Over the years, it has also become increasingly clear that business as usual will not save the planet. Neither will the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) if we do not act on them. But are things moving?
A Harvard Business Review study found that most corporations seem to be addressing the SDGs on a superficial level. Most simply connect what they are already doing to one or a selected set of these goals. Consequently, very few companies are actually doing something beyond business as usual.
We believe that this is because the world’s wicked problems are still seen as something to be solved by governments, universities, and other actors rather than seen as the business opportunities that they really are. Why? Possibly because sustainability in the business world is still viewed as risk reduction and a dry topic reserved for experts, rather than as real opportunities that can enable companies to do really well by doing good, and integrating that thinking into their business plans and operating models.
As business leaders, the time has come for us to step up and make a difference. Because there are indications that the world is at a tipping point where our involvement is urgently needed.