Business for a Better World

Business for a Better World

I’ve been on about ‘business that does good and does no harm’ for many years and after hearing Kate Billing speak at Inspire the Fire I joined the Linked IN Group Conscious Capitalism NZ. It can be very confusing to navigate the different terms because there are a proliferation of concepts and  organisations committed to shaping business aligned with creating a better world.

They all want a similar result – business that does good and does no harm.  It was helpful for me to look at them and work out how what each is trying to do.  I’ve summarised it here. 

  • Sustainable Business is business that is socially and environmentally responsible taking care of people, planet and profit.

Goldman Sachs research shows that the sustainability leaders have 25% higher stock value, faster stock value growth, better financial performance, and outperform the general market. That’s the business case for sustainability.

Sustainable Business is business that is socially and environmentally responsible taking care of people, planet and profit.

  • Conscious Capitalism which has four pillars

‚óŹ	Conscious Capitalism which has four pillarsHigher Purpose: Recognizing that every business has a purpose that includes, but is more than, making money. By focusing on its Higher Purpose, a business inspires, engages and energizes its stakeholders.

Stakeholder Orientation: Recognizing that the interdependent nature of life and the human foundations of business, a business needs to create value with and for its various stakeholders (customers, employees, vendors, investors, communities, etc.). Like the life forms in an ecosystem, healthy stakeholders lead to a healthy business system.

Conscious Leadership: Human social organizations are created and guided by leaders – people who see a path and inspire others to travel along the path. Conscious Leaders understand and embrace the Higher Purpose of business and focus on creating value for and harmonizing the interests of the business stakeholders. They recognize the integral role of culture and purposefully cultivate Conscious Culture.

Conscious Culture: This is the ethos – the values, principles, practices – underlying the social fabric of a business, which permeates the atmosphere of a business and connects the stakeholders to each other and to the purpose, people and processes that comprise the company.



  • Natural Capitalism


First coined by Paul Hawken Natural Capitalism is a term for a new way of doing business in which business and environmental interests increasingly overlap, and where companies can improve their bottom lines, help solve environmental problems—and feel better about what they do—all at the same time.

"Natural capital" refers to the earth's natural resources and the ecological systems that provide vital life-support services to society and all living things. These services are of immense economic value; some are literally priceless, since they have no known substitutes.   In a natural capital environment these services are included as assets on the balance sheet which encourages the business to look after them.

It is also based on 4 principles:

The Four Principles of Natural Capitalism


Through fundamental changes in both production design and technology, farsighted companies are developing ways to make natural resources — energy, minerals, water, forests — stretch five, ten, even 100 times further than they do today. The resulting savings in operational costs, capital investment, and time can help natural capitalists implement the other three principles.


Natural capitalism seeks not merely to reduce waste but to eliminate the very concept of waste. In closed-loop production systems, modeled on nature's designs, every output either is returned harmlessly to the ecosystem as a nutrient, like compost, or becomes an input for another manufacturing process. Industrial processes that emulate the benign chemistry of nature reduce dependence on nonrenewable inputs, make possible often phenomenally more efficient production, and can result in elegantly simple products that rival anything man-made.


The business model of traditional manufacturing rests on the sale of goods. In the new model, value is instead delivered as a continuous flow of services—such as providing illumination rather than selling light bulbs. This aligns the interests of providers and customers in ways that reward them for resource productivity.


Capital begets more capital; a company that depletes its own capital is eroding the basis of its future prosperity. Pressures on business to restore, sustain, and expand natural capital are mounting. Fortunately, these pressures all create business opportunity.



One response to “Business for a Better World”

  1. Go to Top Aline Munsch

    Thank your sharing your summary of Conscious Busines and Natural Capitalism towards creating a sustainable world. You become conscious when you re-assess all the conditionned programmed beliefs that have been running industry for a very long time. I happened to stumble upon a program on TV last night reporting on various serious indicators of air and pollution. There was a short reportage in the program about the drought in California where entire areas in some towns actually no longer have running water in their house and live out of bottles water. A real scary scenario. And the same town still has water for its golf courses, swimming pools, etc… life as usual… Does it require chaos before we wake up to the illusion we have been programmed into? Taking care of the commons is every one's purpose… It all starts by individually waking up and I agree there is a need for leadership in guiding the waking up process of individuals and inspiring change!

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