So many good people are committed to doing such amazing work in the world. Purpose stands tall as an attractor for good people. Companies are committed to producing goods and services that are at minimum sustainable, if not regenerative.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals live as a symbol of this commitment. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is touted and bandied about – more often the ‘look at us’ equivalent of a shiny new coat of paint. ESG – environment, social and corporate governance is the new kid on the block, the next big thing.
Doing good is really the new cool.
Meanwhile, humans have been so dulled by lies, media gone rogue and erosion of integrity, that our trust barometer is dropping. (See the Edelman Trust barometer for 2021)
Just this week a major financial newspaper in Australia published an appalling article by a former Liberal (Conservative) Minister for Child Protection and Housing as what she see’s as the growing problem of ‘proles,’ the underclass, openly displaying her contempt for people with less access to quality education, housing and community support that can lift people out of entrenched poverty. If anything it was refreshing to see the ruling political class speak so clearly of their contempt for the poor, as it is usually hidden behind funding for private schools, tax cuts for the rich, a fantasy tale about trickle-down economies and being fiscally responsible while corruption rules the day…
Can we trust CSR, ESG, Purpose based businesses? Or is it just more greenwashing and convenient spin to seduce more sales?
People are fatigued by the display of smoke and mirrors.
We want real. Genuine. Integrity. Beauty. Care.
We want to engage with and purchase from companies that have integrity baked in. We want to work for businesses that truly care, companies that work hard to do as they say, be as they do, live as the exemplar.
But where do we find them and how do we know they are the real deal? Can the extractive company wriggle under the banner of a BCorp? We would like to think not, but the truth is they do. A new badge – look at us – doing good as the costume for business-as-usual.
The question we ask at Syntropic World is is it possible to do good and to make transformative change from within the current system – the very one that has created the problem in the first place?
It is a little like the quote often but incorrectly attributed to Einstein – you cannot solve today’s problems with the same thinking that created the problem in the first place…
Can we solve today’s problems using the same tools as those used to create today’s problems?
Tools like GDP growth; neoliberal economics; capitalism; our legal codes, especially the ones that create and protect corporations and the people who lead them from any level of responsibility and the requirement to pay tax; how we continue to entangle equity with voting rights perverting incentives to make decisions based on make-as-much-money-as-you-can-no-matter-the-consequence; how we account for value, reducing all values to the mono-metric of money, and in the process negating the rich fields of warm data, human relationships, culture, community, and a long term future focus; how we hire and support – or fail to support- people; how we reduce most people and their contributions to the business to machine-like functions, and in so doing miss the greatest exponential technology available to humanity – the human mind working together synergistically; how we fail to incentivise for what really matters; how we measure; and how we lead – the dominating, superior, overpaid CEO is still the norm.
Is having a world-changing purpose enough to change this field? Is purpose before profit enough? Is making stuff that doesn’t screw up the planet enough? Is the circular economy enough? Are regenerative practices enough?
At Syntropic World we believe that all of these elements – purpose, profit secondary to purpose, making products and services that leave everything better, considering and designing for the entire life cycle, deploying regenerative practices…all of these are critical. But not enough.
To really create change we need to create new models that make the existing models obsolete. New models of measure, accounting for value, considering what goes onto the ‘balance sheet’, how we consider the long term, the consequences of our choices today, our purpose, how we invite people to participate, collaborate and synergise in a way that honours their agency and unique skills while also enabling the whole to work together. How we fund and provision, create complementary currencies that honour multiple domains of value and keep currency flowing, how we hold the principles of zero extraction, zero exploitation and zero colonisation as non-negotiable….
We are aware that this is not an easy task. We know it will take decades to bring to light. We also know that someone has to do it, and that someone/people have to start.
And today is as good a day as any to start.
At Syntropic World choose to move by stealth, organically. To lay down robust, deeply considered foundations. Build community. Showcase tried and tested models that make the existing obsolete. Invite collaboration and creativity.
Hold our nerve against the naysayers and mudslingers. Hold our focus on what is possible rather than degenerate into an ‘us and them’ battle. Continue to ask questions about how we can do this…rather than fall into despair about what we are seeing.
All the while never violating our own integrity – the commitment we hold to this possibility for a more beautiful world for earth and all her creatures.
To be the exemplar of what we hope to see in the world, the change we want to make.
To look to nature’s laws…tested over billions of fo years, and continue to ask how we can apply these laws to our enterprise design and human coordination.
To pull the plug on fear economics, never bowing to its pressure, staying in a question of other possibilities until the possibility finds us.
Saying no to extractive capital that only wants exponential growth on a finite planet, as if this is possible.
Practicing humility, again and again. And again.
Living in gratitude for life’s gifts, for nature, for bird song, sunrises, community and laughter. Never forgetting that these simple things are everything, soul sustaining, worth designing business and enterprise to ensure they thrive.
A Syntropic World is one that leaves everything better.
I have no doubt that humans can create a Syntropic World, one of partnership with land, earth, her creatures, the future.
No more rearranging the deck chairs, let’s build new boats.