What gets measured gets done?
No matter where you stand politically we can probably agree that 2016 has been a rocky year around the world. Here we are waiting for Christmas to come around but also for Mr Donald Trump to step in political power and start interacting on the big international field of politics. Trump who during the presidential campaign called climate change a hoax, threatened to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency, committed to easing restrictions on drilling and mining on federal lands, and promised to push for oil pipelines and other controversial energy infrastructure. He has also promised to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, which he claimed was bad for business and threatened U.S. sovereignty. Who knows what is right or wrong info because the media is a separate massive issue. Perhaps Trump will be the best president ever lived. Who knows. What we can agree on is that Mr Trump and his closest crew don´t seem like our beautiful planet´s most genuine and biggest fans.
So, the businesses that aim to be a force for good are perhaps all screwed now? Conscious business will perhaps be something that almost found momentum but faced a painful death late 2016? Maybe not so. The main reason could be the demand from a very powerful group of people. Increasingly conscious Consumers in both mature and emerging markets are coming to expect businesses to produce products and services in a manner that addresses broad sustainability objectives. These include personal health and wellness, social fairness and inclusion, economic stability, ethical production and the protection of natural resources and the environment. That has gone from something just a few talked about a decade ago to a wider movement today. And, in addition, we should never forget that consumers are humans. Humans are also workers. If workers start demanding only good things from their workplace we may have found another positive wave to ride on.
We still have some difficulties though. Plenty actually, but let’s focus on one area here. How do we measure it all? Just imagine how difficult it is to know what service and/or product to buy that are best for you and the environment. The information in the marketplace is overwhelming. To go from wanting to buy the right stuff and actually do it is hard. There are local and global initiatives with an aim to make it easier for us. To help all stakeholders such as businesses, investors, consumers etc., to find out what is good and what is not. The Global Reporting Initiative (known as GRI) is probably the best example an international platform. GRI is an independent standards organization that helps businesses, governments and other organizations understand and communicate their impacts on issues such as climate change, human rights and corruption. There are several others.
None of these are bad initiatives. Not at all. But it would be much cooler (and colderJ on our planet) if we had, complements to these initiatives. Benchmarks that look much more into the future. Metrics that could convert good thinking to great action. From interesting facts to jaw-dropping results. To make it easier for all of us to take action on the things that matter. To be able to use our money as a vote for something really good. Something to be proud of. Not everything should and could be measured but a few things must be.
We, at Coest, met up with the people behind a new business and a new business benchmark called Future-Fit in London the other day. This is an initiative that aims to do the things current metrics don´t deliver on. More future focus and much more action oriented. Here are some of the things they are after:
A future-fit business is one that in no way undermines – and ideally increases – the possibility that humans and other life will flourish on Earth forever. Companies don't exist in a vacuum. Business can only thrive if society prospers, and this in turn demands that we safeguard Earth's life-support systems. Even the best companies may cause harm unless this system perspective is understood. To pursue the creation of system value we need a way to measure it.
Business leaders and investors need to know how their products, practices and decisions contribute - both positively and negatively - to society and the planet. Today's sustainability ratings and indices aren't up to the job, for three reasons.
1. Current metrics measure relative improvement, not absolute progress.
2. Current metrics don't recognize long-term ambitions and bold actions.
3. Current metrics fail to give companies the actionable insight they need.
The Future-Fit Business Benchmark defines the environmental and social break-even point for business – giving companies a clear destination to aim for, and a way to assess progress toward it.
Check out more about this on their website: http://futurefitbusiness.org
Some say that your life changes as soon as you decide to change your standards. From “I should be doing this” and/or even “I will do this” to a bloody determination to move toward make it a MUST. A feeling of “No longer will I accept this”. Could it be just that we see now? That what´s happening around the world will instead of creating long-term issues instead make SPACE for another story. A positive story where we as humans finally decide to move on our inner thoughts on what must happen. Instead of waiting for politics and other powerful forces we as individuals commit ourselves to take action. The secret sauce of living a good life. What sector will move fast to support us when the demand is here? Our bet is that the business sector will step in heavy on this. Businesses and initiatives as Future Fit. We think that the wonderful business community around the world will be the biggest positive force for good the coming decades. Instead of talking they will take action. That´s our big bet in life right now. In fact, we´re all in on this. Leveraged as crazy too through our kids. It must be a must.