To Envision Sustainable Business, We Must Reimagine Our Economy

World Economic Forum/CC BY-SA 2.0

From senior executives identifying the profit motive as an obstacle to sustainability to corporations questioning the very nature of capitalism as we know it, the plus side of the recent financial crisis and ongoing slow recovery has been that tough questions are finally being asked about how our economy functions and whose interests it serves.

On May 2nd Forum for the Future—whose work on system innovation aims to create change across entire sectors of our economy—are hosting an event in New York which will explore better ways of doing business in a post-Great Recession world:

Some say we are entering a brave new world for business, talking up the prospects of a more responsible version of capitalism. Others argue the case for business as usual, with maybe a little tweak here or there.

The traditional models of value creation are increasingly criticized for their short-term focus and inability to factor in wider societal influences - most companies still face immense pressure to take decisions that deliver adequate quarterly returns and ignore wider concerns.

Whether we are talking about the legal impediments to a sharing economy or the viability of a no growth economy, it's good to see discussion about sustainable business moving beyond superficial stories of increased efficiencies or zero waste to landfill, and into the real meat of the matter—how can business deliver quality of life, prosperity, fairness and environmental sustainability in a resource constrained world? Time to stop rearranging the deck chairs and start redesigning the ship.

Tags: Activism | Corporate Responsibility | Economics | United States

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