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I was at the ‘Trust and Integrity in the Global Economy’ conference at Caux, Switzerland. It was attended by 300 people from all over the world, many of them very senior indeed (at one point I found myself speaking on stage immediately before Kofi Annan!), in business, government and the civil sector. There is a growing sense that we are at a jumping-off point: if we don’t change the way we do human enterprise, the system at large will force a change upon us. And if the change is forced upon us, it will most likely not be pleasant at all. There are potentially disastrous tipping points accelerating towards us, economically, socially and environmentally, and if we don’t take decisive action, nobody is going to get out of this unscathed.

As with all ailing systems, the problems tend to compound each other: falling government budgets mean that social and environmental problems are getting worse. As they get worse, we need more – not less – tax money to fix and prevent them. So they get worse at an exponential rate. This (unless you’re in the business of burglar alarms, sensationalist media or mood-enhancing drugs) has a downward effect on business success.

So we have a Catch-22, right?

Wrong. The answer is to enable businesses of every kind to boost profits by solving social and environmental problems, rather than, let’s be frank, by causing them.

There is, in fact, a small number of very large businesses who are achieving this – and, surprisingly, they are not only in renewable energy or carbon sequestration. Indeed, some of them are in industries that have generally been viewed as the most villainous of all. Using extremely innovative business models, they are turning the downward spiral of decline into the upward spiral of social, environmental and economic recovery.

Email me and I’ll tell you the secret…







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