Possibilities of the Green Ethical Business
I think its point is that business certainly has a crucial role to play in our complete reorientation to a green circular economy and civilization, something which I am trying to adopt step-by-step at Green Tech Writer.
Indeed, this is just the one-month anniversary of this WriteFreely blog, and I feel I have not even scratched the surface of the scope of the problem, and the solutions which I believe are possible. I think with a very scientific and engineer oriented mindset, in a moderate manner, humankind does in fact stand a chance of survival, and even getting to the kind of civilization Steven Pinker writes about but has yet to come to pass in my view.
While some thought it, and even I sort of felt, swinging quickly from Montreal Tech Writer to Green Tech Writer in a little over a month in one fell swoop was somehow reckless and impulsive, I actually have now come to understand I am rather late to the party. Case in point, an amazing conference I hope to attend in March in New York City called The Responsible Business Summit being put on by the London-based Ethical Corporation which is affiliated in turn with Reuters. I have spoken to a representative of the conference and they are super forthcoming, and it covers basically all the issues I hope to cover in my technical writing. You can download the overview from their website, but in general they are covering all myriad of issues centered around #sustainability from the point of view of business. Something I think, to repeat, can only be a huge value add to positive action by enlightened governments and activists.
In this vein, I also just watched a great IQ² debate with the resolution Capitalism is a Blessing.
Before I make any comment, I want to stress, as will be explored in future posts, that I really believe in moderation, don't consider myself Left or Right, and for sure believe in all cultures working together to solve big problems, like #climatechange, which has been my predominant experience in Montréal. You can watch the debate above and come to your own conclusions and I won't give away who ultimately wins, but I would comment that I think the CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey, who wrote a book I am now reading called Conscious Capitalism, makes some strong points in how economic freedom does indeed lift people out of poverty, while admitting some of its flaws. Hence these movements, from the Ethical Corporation, to the US Business Roundtable, to Conscious Capitalism, to taming what has admittedly become a beast when it comes to issues like #climatechange and, too often, power dynamics between employers and employees.
I am trying to thread the needle here again, very tricky, to argue in some kind of way that the results of the industrial revolution weren't exactly what Marx would have you believe. At the very least, as Mackey seems to make clear, free economies proved better even for their poor than socialist economies. I would like to take an even more delicate line, that neither famed professor arguing the merits of socialism Richard Wolff was wholly right though he makes some strong criticisms of capitalism's week points, nor is Mackey really admitting capitalism's worst excesses, which for example induced slavery to produce cotton in the New World, or is producing the #climatecrisis now. I think the way forward looks something like my home country and province (Canada and Québec), which admittedly have huge hurdles still to overcome, but are mixed economies. Moreover, I feel that one needn't associate business necessarily with the worst aspects of capitalism, for we all need clothes on our back, food to eat, housing, tools, incentive, and a myriad of other things that a market economy provides quite well.
All these issues are hugely contentious, as US politics make clear, but I think a consensus in the business world seems to be forming that it has to be much more attentive not just to its stockholders but also to all stakeholders in society, including the environment, which is the gist of what I think Jamie Dimon and the US Business Roundtable are going for in this year's statement.
I hope I did not offend anyone, whether activists, individuals, NGOs or for-profit companies (and hopefully new clients) with these comments. I wanted to just work through some of them in this post as I am learning how better to operate and contribute to business and society in the 21st century as we together all must tackle #climatechange head-on.