Re-imagining business

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“We don’t just have to get better, we need to be really good“, said Tim “Mac“ Macartney at the ECMA Pro Carton Congress: only one hundred per cent sustainability in all areas will change the future for our children. He paid great respects to the progress made by the cartonboard and carton industries in this respect. Here his main comments.

“I have a particularly difficult challenge: I understand, that in many ways truthfully the carton and cartonboard industry is ahead of the game. It is dealing with a product and creating in an environment which is in many ways pushing towards that point where we could say that it is sustainable.”

“Most efforts towards sustainability do not produce the situation we really need, its simply less bad. But less bad is not good enough. How do we change the model of business? How do we find a way to a different living on this planet, such that we can share all the wealth and prosperity around our world, along with social justice and human rights, without collapsing the future?”

“I had the good fortune to speak with Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, and listen to his perspective. And as I talked to him I thought, it’s beginning to happen! This man really believes in these things. There is no satisfaction for this man in simply creating an extremely successful commercial operation. He wants something much more than that. Why would we not bring the things that we truly love, that mean everything to us, right into the heart of our work?”

“The big companies have the leverage and the connections, they are the ones who should do this. But everybody says that. ‘Why me?’ And if they don’t pull that off, they say ‘we are already doing a lot’. Less bad is not good enough. There is something here that we are missing about sustainability. First of all it has certainly not only simply to do with the environment. It’s what Charles Eisenstein calls the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. It’s what I call the world of our longing. Until the answer becomes ‘Yes, me!’ in tiny or huge ways, within my small family business, within this large corporate, we will sit round as a business and debate and talk about how could we be a force for transformative good and change in this world.”

“Why is it so important that business takes this line? It’s so important because there is no other power on this earth that has the skills, the energy, the ability and the power that business has to turn ideas into action, to make stuff happen. A year or two ago a group of businessmen came together including Sir Richard Branson, Kathy Calvin, Arianna Huffington, Mo Ibrahim, Paul Polman, Jochen Zeitz and a few others and they declared their commitment for making business a transformational power for good in our world: “Our mission is to catalyze a better way of doing business for the wellbeing of people and planet. Our vision of the future is a world in which the purpose of business is to be a driving force for social, environmental and economic benefit.”

“This is the invitation to us. What’s most wonderful in this whole sustainability thing is that it offers a businesses a vision. It says our company is not simply about creating these beautiful, innovative, well designed, extremely practical cartons, our company is about changing the nature of business on this earth. Our company is a force of the good in this world. And if you were able to truly speak to your people on that level, to the degree that they know you mean it in your heart and it’s not negotiable and you are on that journey, you would unleash all that good will that people would give if only they trusted you and could see the truth of this.”

“Why would they do that? Because in their heart of hearts they would love to work for businesses that are aligned to what they love: their children, partners, wider families, communities. We could achieve all the commercial objectives that we want and still at the end mean that when our time comes, when we step away and step back, we would be able to say: “This did something truly wonderful.”

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