You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ category.

Reposted from: LinkedIn

Warning: Ideas discussed here are ahead of time. And yet, better be 20 years ahead than 20 years behind.

They say ships don’t sink because of the turbulent oceans in which they find themselves. Ships sink because of cracks that let the ocean within. Cracks form due to a number of reasons (captain’s inadequate judgement, team that is misaligned, and/or ship infrastructure that is poorly maintained – all of these intimately related).

Whatever the reason, a strong ship takes you through the storm, and a weak one takes you right to the bottom.

Similarly, companies do not go out of business because of challenging and shifting economic conditions, insufficient resources due to climate change, or poor integration into cultural and social landscapes. Companies go out of business because they are not fit within themselves to adapt to changing economic, social and environmental circumstances.

Just like people, companies need to build capacity on the within in order to stay afloat of adversity.

As Credit Swisse points out in their 2015 report: ‘Aiming for Impact: Credit Swisse and the Sustainable Development Goals‘:

‘the private sector is starting to realise the benefits of contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’, those being the agenda to transform the world from 2015 until 2016, and which can be considered as the one and only path to the sustainability of our planet and the preserving of its biodiversity.

As Credit Swisse rightly points out, the private sector has been increasingly pressured by the public and all other stakeholders to include social, environmental and governance (ESG) factors in not only the reporting on the business, but also the business strategic planning, business model and operations.

Meanwhile, the private sector is – as always – expected to grow. However,

growth needs to be rethought in the context of the SDGs!

Innovative business models need to be found, such that create shared value for all business, society and the environment. And this can be incredibly tricky. Why? Because for businesses to do so, they need to work with all stakeholders, those being the United Nations System in its appropriate bodies, civil society, indigenous peoples, governments and regulatory forces. In fact, all these parties need to reach out and collaborate for sustainable growth, one that keeps profits on the rise but also preserves and enhances the biodiversity of the planet.

If businesses want to stay ahead of the game and afloat of current climatic and social adversities, this is the one and only way for them to do so and be here in another – let’s say – 100 or more years from now. And is it not what we all want, an agile yet profitable business that stays afloat and not only leverages, but also drives sustainability for growth?

What such a business-public sector-government-civil society collaboration means, ultimately, is not just a series of agreements between stakeholder groups, public statements, philanthropic gifts, etc. Such a transformative collaboration can not be achieved by planning and tools we have been using so far. It can only be achieved by innovation.

For businesses to truly stay ahead of the game, and afloat of current economic, social and environmental challenges, by embarking on a journey of growth that is profitable and sustainable, they need to transform on the within in terms of business models, operations, culture and collaboration practices. This is what makes them fit for the long-term.

In other words, businesses need to develop an internal fitness, or resilience, that puts, takes and grounds them on a path of sustainable and profitable growth.

Sounds good. How to do this?


Corporate sustainability reporting is the elephant in the room here. In a recent post on Corporate Sustainability Reporting: the Case for Change I explored the leveraging of corporate sustainability reporting as a change management tool that takes companies on a path of sustainable growth. And having further explored this with Albor360 (Sustainability Services for the Chemical Industry) and Meier Marketing Global (Helping Brands Stay Meaningful, Relevant, Flexible, and Happy), we can say the following:

  • Companies should do much more with their sustainability reports than what they are doing currently. Staring with a business materiality assessment based on the SDGs, engaging stakeholders and reporting on sustainability is only the first step. The real opportunity to transform on the within and get the business on a journey of sustainable growth only comes afterwards.

To leverage this opportunity, companies should leverage the sustainability reporting exercise as an innovative journey of conversation, knowledge sharing and communications on the within and without of the business with key stakeholder groups.

  • Innovative and powerful content marketing approaches and practices should be leveraged for internal communications, to ‘sell’ key messages to key stakeholder groups and achieve engagement and bottom-up action. Meanwhile, the same can be done on the outside to reach out and engage external actors and forces, not only to enhance the company brand image but also pave the way for its profitable yet sustainable transformation.

The corporate sustainability report targets and KPIs should be used to transform operations and integrate sustainability on the within of the business, that way making it fit and resilient.

  • KPIs should measure performance at different levels, including cross-unit/department/division, as well as within units/divisions/departments. This way, the very fabric of the business is innovated for sustainable growth, not just pieces of it. This makes for a healthy and well-connected business and a sturdy ship that stays afloat of current challenges.

Qualitative and quantitative measurements should both be used.

  • Examples of the former are stories and testimonials: they capture cause-effect relationships and make evident the heuristics that underlie performance, which heuristics in turn – by their engaging nature – create conditions for learning and innovation across the entire business to take place.
  • Knowledge sharing and organisational development tools such as social network analysis (of the type developed by a partner company, Innovisor) should be further leveraged to determine who the key influencers in the inside and outside of the company are, and then work with those champions to design and speed up corporate change efforts. Why? Because transformational change ultimately starts, ends, and works (or not) because of people as change agents, not because of systems, processes, or other mechanisms. In this sense:

Design thinking approaches that look to co-create strategies and forge an emotional and spiritual connection between the business and those who make it happen, as well as those who determine its relevance and those who depend on it, should also be increasingly used.

  • Last but not least, the right systems, in terms of infrastructure, IT and measurement, should be developed, co-created as appropriate and mainstreamed throughout the business in a participatory and engaging manner, leveraging content marketing and social media approaches and tools, and putting people at the centre.

With all this in place, a business is in for a journey of sustainable growth for the long term with a number of benefits: improved brand image, enhanced profitability, sustainable business models and systems, happy stakeholders, to say the least, and a lot more that can not be even projected to start with.

And, with all this in place, there is a growing and evolving conviction on the part of employees and stakeholders that this business, by growing, also develops the society and preserves the environment where it operates, in an ESG kind of a fashion.

The more the business can continually strike an ESG balance, and the more it uses the corporate sustainability reporting exercise as one key and integrative lever on this journey, the more we are convinced it is the kind of a business that is in it for the next 100 years at least which is, as you can imagine, very, very appealing to customers, consumers and investors. It is good for you now and it will be good for you tomorrow. And not only that, it makes you feel good too, no?!

Do you share these ideas? Myself, Albor360 and Meier Marketing Global would love to hear from you if you do. Do you have better ideas? Do you want to get on a sustainable growth journey? Please contact me.

We can travel with you, answer your questions and discuss opportunities for your business sustainable growth.

With you, we design and operationalise corporate social responsibility change management programs that leverage the various stages and opportunities of sustainability reporting. We empower you to get on a path of transformational discovery of what sustainable and profitable growth means for your business, and how about we do this for the 100 years from now?


I just read this really excellent article by Bill Barnett in the Harvard Business Review Blog. It is called ”When Choosing a Job, Culture Matters”. I highly recommend it not only to job seekers, but also to anyone who’s looking for herself/himself in the organisation where she/he works, especially those who are not that happy with these organisatons and how they do what they do.

Organisational culture, or organisational mindset, is something I have already explored in another post. The culture within the organisation, the team, and so on where we work, is key to whether we can be successful in it. It is a key determinant, almost as important, if not more important than what the organisation or the team actually does.

Despite this, when we look for jobs, we often look for such in organisations that do something we believe in, be it reducing poverty, feeding the hungry, saving the displaced-by-disasters, developing social businesses, driving the digital revolution, and so forth. As we do this, we rarely ask the ”culture” and ”mindset” questions.

Personally, having worked with a variety of organisations for already more than nine years, and having experienced a variety of cultures, and having struggled a number of times, I am at a point where I think culture is more important than organisation purpose.

Think this scenario:

You have high integrity. You are environmental sustainability minded. You believe in business that is both responsible and sustainable. You value and respect others and expect them to value and respect you. You are focused on doing the right thing, always, and are prepared to work hard by yourself and with others to figure out what that is and then implement it. You are open to learning and new experiences. You believe in that real, all-encompassing and overturning change is the result of many working well together, not just a few doing their own thing. You believe in working with all the stakeholders. You are competitive and like winning. You are exhilarated by the possibility of winning a contest based on nothing but your abilities and outstanding performance. You have a vigorous approach to both practice and research. You want to make a difference in this world.


You join an oil and gas company. Doesn’t make sense, right? How will you ever contribute to a business that is socially responsible and brings environmental sustainability to the world from within there? What this company does is in stark opposition with your values. But, think again, is it?

As it turns out, the oil and gas company has a culture that greatly suits what your personality needs in order to succeed. It is transparent when it comes down to promotions, and, because of the nature of the the business, there is a deep and shared commitment to health and safety. The people there want to do good (albeit it may sound like a paradox to you initially). They don’t want any spills. They want to innovate solutions to extracting the oil and gas in the depths of the Earth, solutions that do not damage it in the long term, solutions that do not cause and precipitate earthquakes, solutions that are clean and minimal in terms of impact. Furthermore, they are investing in renewable energy and are well familiar with how challenging is to produce such sustainably. They want to tackle this as a corporation. They are looking for the answers, together. There is respect for points of view different than yours. Knowledge sharing and knowledge management catalyse good practices emerging from the bottom-up, and scale them up through corporately adopted solutions. It is all bubbling inside that company, actually. There is urgency to innovate and plenty of commitment to doing good.

And so, surprisingly, culture-wise the company is a good fit for you, which is also why you took the job. You know it will be hard and challenging at times, but the culture is there to support you and carry you on its waves. Besides, a little bit of hardship and challenge is what you welcome to make things interesting and really make it possible for you to achieve your vision and goals.

Makes sense?

While this example is entirely fictitious, it helps to illustrate the point.

Culture, and not organisation purpose per se, is what creates conditions for us to succeed, to show and put to work what we are capable of, and to achieve our personal visions. The right culture is what brings it all out, connects us deeply with our colleagues and stakeholders, and makes it possible for us to run fast yet never be tired.

In a similar way, the people we work with, how they are, their aspirations and ways of working, their motivations and integrity are almost as important if not more important that what we actually do together with these people. And, this is because, if there is chemistry inherent to how we work together, we are willing to listen, learn together, change the course of action and even re-examine and change our values. If the culture is good, we are genuinely putting ourselves at work and positive growth can emerge. This is why culture, and that chemistry that imbues our teamwork with others, is by the far the most important prerequisite for us being successful, happy and satisfied at the workplace.

If you are reading this and are not happy with your work, think why that might be. Think what it is about it that is stopping you. Think of how to overcome it. If the only way of doing this is by joining another organisation (and leaving your current one), do that, don’t be complacent. It is all about growth in the end. Making yourself a success is the one most important thing you want to achieve in your life.


I see the following dynamic streams in the future of our world (i.e., world = the dynamic system that represent the planet, environment, and humanity):

  • Religion

The role of religion, spiritual values and norms will increase in the years to come. This will not have much to do with the various sorts of religious institutions there are, however, unless these succeed to transform and embrace gender equality, social justice and innovation.

People will more and more want to be guided by religion in their day-to-day lives and decision making. More and more they will construct their own religion(s) though, rather than follow the ones that have been written. As much as they will appreciate the existing religions, they will also recognise their insufficiency. A world awaits where all religions fuse together to provide people with the spiritual guidance and answers they seek and need.

  • Environment

Sustainability and sustainable development will continue to be one of the most topical issues on the world’s plate today (the other ones being peace and security). The businesses that will win will generate sustainability from the heart of their organisations, and pursue sustainability as an opportunity for increased revenues.

Governments will provide more and more frameworks for business and society to embrace environmental sustainability, however a major challenge will lie in operationalising these frameworks.

Whilst richer countries will struggle to reinvent their entire systems and integrate sustainability and environmental preservation in them, poorer countries will be torn between 1) adopting sustainability as core to their systems and 2) pursuing development solutions that lift people from poverty in the short term but are unsustainable and damaging in the long run.

  • Social Innovation

What is more, stronger religion and sustainable systems underlying life on our planet will be accompanied by increased connections and collaboration within communities and across geographies. Solutions to pressing issues such as security, hunger, disease, justice, and the gender gap, will be the result of multi-stakeholder collaboration at every level – global, regional, local.

Innovation will take place in social spaces especially designed for this purpose, such as hubs, communities of practice, and groups like the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Councils. Agents of change will emerge and lead projects and initiatives beneficial to society and the environment.

  • The Human Species

With ecosystems often inadvertently changing, our bodies will change too. More and more people will live in polluted cities which will lead to gradual evolutionary changes to the human body.

In addition, the increased pace and connectedness of our lives, and the fact that we are bombarded with information, will mean changes in our brain capacity, minds and spirit. Children will learn faster than we used to. More and more of them will be born with the innate ability to intuitively sense the state of the dynamic systems we are part of, and will want to rebel against structures no longer viable.

  • The Animal Species

Some animal species will disapear, although not as many as currently feared. However, the majority of those who stay will be in decreased numbers which will tilt the biodiversity on the Earth.

For the Earth’s biodiversity to survive, human consumption will have to decrease. I believe this trend is at a tipping point and it is not yet clear how it will tip. What do you think?

What do you think about these trends? Are these all? Are there others?

Thank you.

A beautiful Saturday day. Sun shining in Rome. All’s great. And, an article, a truly amazing article by the McKinsey Quarterly. It got my brain firing on a number of issues. It resonated with both my mind and heart.

The article is about women at the workplace, the challenges and the opportunities. It talks about why, despite decades of talking about the need to have more women in senior positions of management, this is yet to happen. There is the general notion we urgently need to strike a gender balance in senior and at all levels of management, and yet there are (often unconscious) barriers that stop us from doing so.

Here’s the article:

Changing companies’ minds about women

Leaders who are serious about getting more women into senior management need a hard-edged approach to overcome the invisible barriers holding them back.

On Mindset …

So, let’s talk about mindset first. On a metalevel, I was struck by how often the notion of ‘mindset’ comes up in the article, directly and indirectly, as well as the need to change that ‘mindset’. Struck and pleasantly surprised. If McKinsey talks about it chances are the corporate world is thinking and talking about it too. And that is a good thing because tackling mindset in the context of change is what wins us the change.

A synonym for mindset is approach, motivation, belief, inspiration. Mindset is exactly what we have deeply ingrained in ourselves which drives us to feel, think and behave. It is complex and over-arching. To put it bluntly, mindset creates our world. And if we change it, our world changes. We have the power to play with our mindsets and in that way change our contexts and what we attract and happens to us. And when we do this, and if we pair in sustainability, love, openness, fairness and justice values, powerful transformations at personal, interpersonal, organisational, systems and other levels emerge.

Therefore, tackling mindset as we seek to effectively address challenges at every level is important. For this, we don’t need to understand mindset in all of its components as it will be different each time we look at it. Still, models like the below are helpful tools in diving deep into mindset and becoming more conscious of how it works in us. It is the journey (motivated by the need to transform for the better) that matters more than the result.

(The image is courtesy of Paradigms, Mental Models, and Mindsets: Triple Barriers to Transformational Change in School Systems.)

Despite the power we hold through creating and leveraging our mindsets, I have seen mindset being somewhat overlooked in the context of change in the corporations and organizations I have worked with. What is more, people resist talking about mindset. It is too general they say, too intangible. There is nothing we can do about it because there is nothing to hold onto. And, if we try to change the mindset underlying what we do, it won’t work because people resist change …

Well, to be frank, I’ve often felt like an alien hearing such thoughts and comments. I guess I am often overly idealistic! But that doesn’t mean there is no truth in the notion that mindset is our greatest power and asset, our greatest tool in changing our world, and organisations, and communities, for the better.

Also, mindset is not at all that intangible. We can often feel it, taste is even as it is coming across at us from people, teams and organisations. The point is how aware we are of these waves of meaning constantly conveyed to us. And, if we are not aware, how to develop that awareness. Because if we are aware, we have to power to change our world.

For example, research on the development action logic of sustainability leaders by Barrett Brown explains how leaders of large-scale sustainability initiatives approach, understand and engage with the world in order to enable sustainability changes in their organisations and society. Barrett has found out that effective leaders for sustainability, i.e. leaders who are able to foresee and drive large-scale sustainability transformations, tend to be at later stage of development action logic or cognitive development/meaning-making capacity. According to the Washington University Science Completion Test, they are Strategists, Alchemists and Ironists. The descriptions of these cognitive profiles make mindset sufficiently tangible for a leader, a trainer, or anybody else, to work with and develop.

And so, mindset is not only important, it can also be sufficiently tangible for us to develop and cultivate.

On Mindset and Women in our Organisations …

So how does the McKinsey article I refer to above entertain the notion of mindset? It generally assumes it is something we all know and are aware of but often choose to ignore in the way we work:

”Subtle changes in these attitudes toward advancement are another powerful benefit of changing how companies “think about women around here.” By addressing the mind-sets holding women back, corporate leaders can reshape the talent pipeline and its odds, increasing the number of women role models at the top and, in turn, making it likelier that more women will retain their ambition.”

”This is a powerful idea that resonates with our experience: strong as the general business case for women is, companies are more likely to transform mind-sets if they build their own case. That case should be grounded in the impact women are having at your own organization—whether hard business results or indirect benefits, such as building better teams.”

”When the findings are impossible to overlook, leaders can use them to make the invisible mind-sets visible and then manage these mind-sets to remove their influence.”

”If you’re ready to start challenging the broadly held mind-sets holding women back in your organization, first become conscious of your own beliefs and how they affect your behavior and decisions. Then, as you help your company move forward, remain vigilant: every time a senior executive leaves or enters an organization, its culture can—and does—shift.”

The article gives some interesting facts:

For example, with the corporate world being predominantly male-oriented, it can be hard for women to move up the corporate ladder simply because they are of a different kind. In order to move up, anyone, not just a woman, needs dedicated sponsorship, feedback and support. (Coaching, yheah?) Tough feedback men tend to give to men is well received by men but is not always appreciated by women. Support on the other hand is well appreciated by women but tends to be shunned away by men. With male and female brains being wired differently, and not many men in the corporate world being able to coach and support women in a way that women find useful and constructive, even if opportunities are available for women to move up, they either do not take them or do not perform in a way that is perceived as impactful and successful. And, in this way, the corporate system is not being transformed because the most powerful lever in it, i.e., the mindset, is not being pushed in order to enable all-encompassing transformations.

Another point the authors of the article make is that it is not just whether there is the ”right’ mindset in an organisation. It is also where it is if it is there. Because our organisations are still largely hierarchical, unless there is the ”right” (in this case, a mindset that sees the barriers that stop women from moving up the corporate ladder and also a mindset that is able to cultivate confidence and skill in women) mindset among senior executives, change won’t be rippled down and across the organisation.

In a nutshell, mindset is our greatest asset and resource. What we do with it determines our future. Allowing women to assume senior management positions and blend into the senior management of our organisations determines our future too. The more balanced the gender outlook of our organisations is, the more sustainable our world can be.

Beautiful ”Sweet Synergy” by amazing artist Josephine Wall:

This post is a continuation of a previous post on United Nations System Futures.

Four Scenarios for the Future of the UN System

The Future of the United Nations Development System ( FUNDS ) Conference report features four draft scenarios of the future of the United Nations Development System. Their author is Richard O’Brien, Partner, Outsights. They can be downloaded here . The final slide of Richard O’Brien’s presentation is uploaded below.

UN System Alternative futures for 2025

OBrien’s scenarios are compelling in that they represent four possible futures of the United Nations System according to an interaction of two dimensions: Scarcity vs Abundance in earth resources and Status Quo vs New Powers in  governance. Inarguably, any future positioning along these two dimensions has powerful implications for the state of our world. The four possible futures according to O’Brien are:

  • Scarcity and Status Quo = UN plays a central role in resource distribution and access,
  • Abundance and Status Quo = UN still plays a central role and has no excuse to miss the MDGs,
  • Scarcity and New Powers = UN is in much pressure to deliver, its services are much needed,
  • Abundance and New Powers = UN is not in much pressure to deliver but still needs to justify its reason for existence.

Which Is The Most Plausible Scenario?

According to me, Scarcity and New Powers is the most plausible scenario. . .

Resources will be more and more scarce  because the number of people keeps growing, and because more and more people will want to raise their quality of life.

Meanwhile powers in the world will keep shifting, politically, economically and socially. The rise in information and communication technologies and new media will continue. In a world more and more distributed, and transparent, information about both good and bad will flow more and more easily. Governments and development organizations will be more and more compelled to respond to these changes. Business and its motivation to be merely profitable will be more and more in question.  Social entreprise more and more praised. Investors will be more and more under pressure to invest in responsible and environmentally clean projects and ventures, and more and more willing to do so out of a growing calling to not just do well, but do good. Consumers will more and more seek out products and services that have been not just inspired by ethical principles but also ethically balanced out.

No Matter Which Scenario Takes Hold, the UN System Has to Positively Transform

In my mind, the big drama behind O’Brien’s scenarios is that, no matter which one takes hold, the UN System is under threat. No matter what happens, it will need to justify itself. And, in order for it to be fit to do that, it will need to first transform into a system that is more relevant and appropriate for the present state of our world.

Therefore, visionary leadership, political will and effective  and dynamic integration of  the work of country offices, headquarters, donors, and other partners, should be on the menu of any UN System change initiative. As they say, think (and eat) today in order to have a tomorrow!

Yesterday a friend (thank you Steve) sent me The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Dan Pink. Watching through the ten minute video unleashed thoughts I’ve been having, since always, that I would like to share.

Dan makes an excellent point about what motivates us, ultimately, to excel at our jobs, our work and all our activities. It does not have much to do (to me not surprisingly) with financial reward. Rather, it is autonomy, mastery and purpose in what we do. If, within the terms of our work, we:

  • have the freedom to work on what we want and how we want,
  • we have the opportunity to develop mastery and skill in what interests us and
  • we feel connected to some higher purpose in the achieving of which we believe,

we excel at what we do. Not only that, but what we do is relevant to us and our societies. Money is not the key to a better world Dan says. Rather, we are the key, with our beliefs, ethics, sensing and motivation. We just need the conditions in which to unleash ourselves, and, in a world founded on control and money, we can’t.

In other words, in order for us to evolve as species, we need to forget about systems of control (which is what all kind of management is, essentially). Instead, we need to focus on enabling and fostering systems of openness and uncertainty, therefore innovation. Could this be the key to a higher level of consciousness for humanity to achieve, in order to be?

Dan’s words reminded me of Presence, a book by Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski and Betty sue Flowers, that I recently picked up, once and again. In the epilogue, the authors discuss, amongst other things, whether, if man were to die, there would be a better chance for the gorilla. They conclude there actually would not be, contrary to what most environmentalists would perhaps say.

Yes, if man were not to exist on our planet, the gorilla, as we know it, would probably thrive undisturbed, under no threat of extinction. However, in this scenario the gorilla will remain, always, a gorilla.

  • Could it be that the purpose of mankind is higher than what we can foresee, currently? Could there be something that we know but science can not tell us?
  • Could it be that, as we are increasingly looking up to our nature, our Earth, and (despite only some of us) trying to preserve it, in the same way gorillas are looking up to us?
  • Could it be that man is hope for gorillas to expand and grow as species, in a way that is best for them, and best for humankind?
  • Could it be that people will come to be aware of the larger purpose that connects them to the gorilla through mastery and autonomy integrated as part of the systems based on which we live our world?
  • Why do we need religions when we have ourselves?

I don’t have the answers, but I’ve been thinking.

Dan’s mastery, autonomy and purpose could be just one key to presencing our live and environment.

Perhaps the degree to which we, ultimately, are related to one another, first to the people and things we love, then to all people, then our environment and world, and then the universe, comes most striking in our awareness when we loose somebody we love.

Because of the strong connection that exists between us and them, we, deep inside of us, know how they are, metaphysically, even though they are no longer with us, at least not in terms of how they used to be.

Although they are not anymore present in our physical world, we know they are there in the world, in the universe, still. They are not dead, their bodies are, but they are not, and that is not just because we think about them and remember them, and dream about them. It is more fundamental than that. It is an awareness that it is good to accept and enjoy.

In such moments, we realize nothing disappears, just changes form. And then we know that if they are no longer here, in the form in which we used to see them, they are someplace else in the universe.

Nothing appears as clear to us as when we see with the heart.

And so, I’ve been thinking. There is a greater purpose for humanity that humanity is yet to realize, and this has something to do with how connected humanity is within itself, as well as with the world and the universe. Becoming aware of this purpose, and the bigger whole, will be a stepping stone in humanity’s evolution. Achieving it will be amazing.

I’ve been thinking all of us, people and/or organizations, have a responsibility to ourselves and the world to find our pieces of this purpose and achieve them. Perhaps it starts with autonomy and mastery. Does your heart tell you what the purpose is?


Amazing, beautiful, hopeful and truthful. Speaking out of the very bottom of my mind and putting it all out there with facts, numbers, thoughts, ideas, hopes, and directions for action. This is what the 11th hour movie is like to me, now. I think you should see the movie, now. See it and see how it makes you feel, then do something about your feelings.

You can watch the 11th Hour movie online for free:

I admit the movie greatly inspired me.
Synchronicity (Peter Senge et al) is when things come to you when you are thinking about them, when you want them at their very best, and finest, when you are ready to face them.
Law of attraction (Ronda Byrne et al) is off course the same thing under a different name, i.e., when you are thinking about and calling something in your thoughts, then it comes to you, because the wavelength of your thoughts attracts the wavelength at which the things you want are at. 
Law of attraction has been around for much longer than synchronicity btw, btw. Which came first does not matter though, what matters is that we know.
And so I’ve been thinking about complexity, systems thinking, environment, business and international organisations, and how the system in which we are all, inherently, should change and how are of the above have a role to play in all this. And then off course the 11th Hour comes to me, like an order I’d placed (a friend sent me the link, a friend I almost never talk to but we are on the same wavelength, and we know it). And so that is that, I am not at all surprised, I’ve learnt to not ignore the seemingly insignificant, and am now inspired. 

Some facts, thoughts and ideas for action that I drilled out (not that I like that verb …) from the movie:

Some facts:

A recent study in the US showed that, at a certain age, after watching on average 2.5 hours of TV per day, children in the US can recognise on average 100 corporate brands …  In other words, children grow up well tuned to a society driven by consumption, consumerism, speed, wealth, and greed (in a way, albeit not always greed in a straightforward sort of a sense). Many of them want the same things they see on TV … unless when they see through and change their thinking.

The Earth is our mother, our base, you name it. If all of the Earth life support systems were to be switched off. Today, it would cost us 35 trillion of USD per year (I think this is what it was …) to maintain our life here on Earth. Meanwhile all of the economies on Earth generate about 18 trillion USD per year. And so the Earth is super generous to us, she holds us, she protects is. Meanwhile, we’ve been driving its ecosystems out of balance. And this is a problem. It is not good behaviour. We’ve got to stop it.

The Earth is such an amazing place. Here, temperature is right for life to exist, and we can breathe oxygen from the air. The carbon dioxide we breathe out is recycled by forests and trees. A simple expression of our life in a system that is life-supporting. We are so lucky to be on this planet.

We, people, are disconnected from nature and all other species. We keep thinking we are the most supreme species on Earth, and so can rule over, govern everything else. And so we exploit everything else, including we ourselves as people. (I think of New York, a city where I would quite like to go to, and think there such disconnection would be at its finest.) However, such disconnection is far from true. We are inter-dependent on everything else, on every animal, every plant, every insect, on the water we drink and bathe into, on the air we breathe … the cells we are made of give out and take back from our environment. We live in a system, we are part of a system.
Some of us would be taken aback by such a statement, some would agree in theory, and some, and I think we should all be like those last some, would not only agree, they would feel their inter-connectedness throughout the system of life down to their very bones, and heart, and mind. And every day, they would want to do something about that, every single day!

People have been expanding on Earth, but the Earth itself has not been expanding. Sure this is not sustainable. Sure we must do something about this.

One day, things will be green, and replenished on Earth. Balance will be restored. And you know why? Because the Earth has all the time in the world, whereas we don’t.

Some thoughts:

Global warming, climate change, and the like: these are symptoms, not causes. symptoms of how we think and feel, how we see life. The outside reflects the inside and vice versa. And so, it is not global warming and climate change we should care about, the most. It is how we think and feel that we should care about.
What is this about, at the end of the day? Money? Work? Ambition? Achievement? Sure it would be about those things, but motivated by what? I think it is mostly about responsibility to ourselves and our loved ones and then every other person on Earth. By what we do and how we do it, and how we think as by how we think we make things happen, too, we make things happen in a certain way. Firstly and most importantly, it is about seeing and understanding life as part of a system, and being humble, and happy. Then things happen as they should, and so not only individually but also (and importantly) collectively.
(Is this the above a distinctly female way of looking at things? Perhaps it is. … And both women and men can do it, it is not just women who can be feminine … and not just men who can be masculine. I mean actions, approaches, thoughts and ideas.)

If all people were to rise their level of awareness of not just global warming and climate change as issues but also and more importantly of what makes them happen collectively as part of a system, then people would be empowered to act by feeling, thinking, and doing. The biggest challenge for humankind, today, and for the future is learning to feel, think and behave collectively, be an organism, just like your body is. We must recognise that nature has rights, too … and so then That is evolution of mind which comes next for the human species. As they’ve been saying, the Earth will survive because it has all the time in the world. We don’t have all the time in the world and so it is time to recognise how small we are and so then how big we can be.

Culturally, almost everywhere on Earth, people are being cultivated into achieving more, into doing more, into making money, into progressing, into exploiting resources. I guess you can call this greed, drive, etc. Greed is perhaps the very worst, negative end of this spectrum … And, greed is institutionalised in corporations, and business, oil companies, food companies, travel companies, banks … So what do we do? Corporations are systems within the system that are eating it up, that are destroying it. This is OK actually, it is just that people may not be in the system once it’s been destroyed and transformed. 🙂

Some ideas for action:

How to make evolution of the human mind happen? Wanting it is the very first step. Educating oneself and others is the next step. Cultivating one’s feelings and intuitions is yet another step, like when you know about something taking place when it is, without nobody telling you. Then you move towards collective consciousness. I know that, have experienced it many times, mostly when facilitating meetings and group events. And, have you seen The Men Who Stare at Goats …? Another great one, see it and think about what it’s telling you.

How could we change our minds, and hearts, understand our part of the big system, and do something about it, every single day …? Well, it may sound a little hippie (well, to some of you Westerners … not to some of you Easterners) and I am sorry if it would do that, but the one thing that would make all of that happen is love. Sure love for your friends and family, and culture, and all that you care for. But not just that, love for people, for humanity, for high values, for what you are passionate about. Love that motivates all that you do and drives your passions. Love that makes you feel good. Love when you think, love when you dream, just love. It is a simple foundation for a number of complicated, complex, chaotic sorts of endeavours through which we can influence the system(s) in which we live.
(Oups, is this a feminine way of looking at things, again? Sorry boys, you can do it too though. It is easy. Guys can be a lot more feminine than ladies actually. It is all in the mind.)

Follow your passions, always. Find what you are passionate about when it comes to sustainability, and do it, everyday. Push for your workplaces to be conducive of your passions and dreams. (See what I wrote about this, here.) Be creative, feel the energy that’s coming your way when you are and create more in a positive spiral of some sort. This is what it takes, this is what makes us human … love, passion and high values all in one motivating what we do.

On a more practical side, slow movement seems to give many useful directions. Disengage from consumerism, do not want more than what you can responsibly handle (in terms of money and wealth), eat local food, take time out to spend with friends ad family (and so no need to make money, all the time), be frugal, i.e., use money wisely and thoughtfully, with an ethical strategy in your mind. I do that, try do, when I shop. Always wonder where the ingredients and the materials come from.

On a global level, it would take the tweaking of policies here and there for individuals and corporations to start walking an ethical journey. It would take willingness and courage to do this. Hopefully that will happen, it must.


What a beautiful movie and how it unleashed thoughts I’ve been having, for a while. Long live beautiful movies, long live life, and Earth.

What is the environmental impact of producing a movie of this sort? I don’t know. I would imagine not much. Not much, if as many as possible people see it and choose to change how they think, feel and behave.


Lifeworth published their annual review in February this year. I just read through it (awfully behind!!) and wanted to share the below:

Humanity’s challenge is to find ways to improve human wellbeing within the limits of the Earth’s resources; to stop living as if we have another planet to go to” explains Jem Bendell. For this, Professor Grayson adds, “we need a new mindset for Corporate Sustainability to stimulate innovation and create radically new business models.”

True, and as Jem Bendell would say – our current systems have to be transformed and not just reformed. Transformation is about a new culture, mindset, vision and emotion underlying what we do. A mere reform(ation) would just shift pieces around, and about, without changing our approach and what we, as human beings, and beings, see and can see through every day.

I am writing my CSR Certificate thesis on organisational learning and knowledge management approaches to the mainstreaming of business ethics … I can see now that, whatever we apply organisational learning and knowledge management to, it can be transformed. Organisational learning and knowledge management, especially if applied together, are a gateway for transformations. Putting organisational learning and knowledge management to the service of business ethics can ensure such transformations will contribute towards a world more just and more sustainable. It is only logical, no?



I had a CSR (corporate social responsibility) class today (as part of a Certificate in CSR I am doing at the University of Geneva We are covering business ethics this weekend. To start it all off, we watched ‘Enron: The smartest guys in the room’, a brilliant documentary loaded with facts, analyses of what and why it happened, as well as personal experiences and views of people who have been involved with the company. A wonderful couple of hours that I do recommend you to have if you get the chance.

There is probably no need to re-tell the Enron story which is very rich with many facts and twists to it. Just quickly:

Enron was founded by somebody called Ken Lay in the mid-eighties as an energy trading company. Ken Lay was a supporter of energy market deregulation on which principle he founded the business. The company began in the oil business after which it scoped out to working in electricity, Internet bandwidth and even ‘weather trading’. (…??) It was characterised by a culture of aggressiveness and risk-taking especially among the company’s traders.

The company’s approaches to accounting were highly questionable, such as ‘constructive accounting’ and/or hypothetical value accounting. This meant that Enron would write in a profit the minute it was estimated it would be there without it actually having gone to the books at all. This ”constructive accounting” ended up creating an illusion of a very profitable company – this (illusion) raised Enron’s share prices by 50% in one year, then by 90%. Meanwhile, this illusion was disguising the company’s continuous losses. It could not last forever because of that the rest of the market was (hopefully!) not an illusion as well – this led to Enron’s collapse in 2002.
The question is: Why did this happen?

Off course loads has been written on this already and so there is no point in over-elaborating. Still, just simply, the issue is two-fold:

1. First and foremost, Enron was not alone. (this is often not mentioned)

Not only Enron top executives (the chairman, the CEO, the CFO, key traders, amongst others), but also most of Enron’s partners, allies and customers, such as banks (Citibank, Merill Lynch, amongst others), audit companies (Arthur Andersen), legal businesses and other partners – all big names – were willing to be in it together with Enron, driven by a single motive, money-making. (imagine that)

The Enron case is a fraud driven not just from within Enron, despite that Enron orchestrated it. A chain of abuse of shareholders’ money spread from Enron, Enron’s traders to outside of Enron. Top people at Enron and Enron’s partners were, with their actions, or lack of such, supporting the abuse. Committing fraud was so much part of the culture of Enron, as well as, to a smaller extent, those who were working with Enron, that this seemed like the ‘right’ thing to do to those who went along. Are they to be excused?

Certainly not, they are not to be excused. Enron’s case is an example of a people anc corporate cultures chain reaction. It shows how bad cultures can lead even good people to do bad things. We should all not forget this. Recognising the merits of a corporate culture, as well as questioning this, is important. We all have the power to think on our own feet and act in the way that is right.

2. Second and not less important is that the US energy market had been de-regulated. This is what made possible the trading of what would have otherwise been a public service – this possibility was abused by Enron’s traders in California. In other words, it was not just Enron and its partners. It was also the US government. Tough, hein? The whole system was creating an opportunity for Enron to do abuse.

Is this ethical? Can corporations be left to do whatever they want with customers and shareholders provided that they can do it? … The answer to this is no. Still, they may not stop because of this. We can never be sure. And so, it is important to pre-empt instances of abuse by corporations by creating systems for them to work in, systems which do not create opportunities for abuse.


The Enron case sure raises a number of ethical issues. After I watched the movie, I questioned my own approach to the way in which I ‘do business’ in any organisation and context. What are my motives? Are these ethical? In whatever I do, am I doing the right thing? Ethical, and ethics, is a construct that we need to understand and create ourselves.  I think it useful if we take a moment to ask these questions of ourselves and think about our approaches to what we do, if necessary. Business, any business, should not be driven by money but rather by the values that we invest in it. And, we, i.e., YOU, ME, decide what these values are.


July 2018
« Mar    


Top Clicks

  • None

Blog Stats

  • 26,277 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,219 other followers

My Twitter Feed