The Breakthrough Challenge: 10 Ways to Connect Today's Profits With Tomorrow's Bottom Line ハードカバー – 2014/8/4
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The world’s most forward-looking CEOs recognize the real challenge facing business today: a fundamental shift in the nature of commerce. While sustainability programs, government action, and nonprofits are all parts of the solution, CEOs and other leaders must focus on social, environmental, and economic benefit—not only because it will make the world a better place, but because it will ensure lasting profitability and success in the business climate of tomorrow.
The Breakthrough Challenge is both an inspiring call-to-action and a guide for this transformation, based on the work of The B Team, a major initiative uniting leaders in sustainability. As a founding advisor and member of The B Team, John Elkington and Jochen Zeitz map out an agenda for change. The most important goal for businesses must be redefining the bottom line to account for true long-term costs throughout the supply chain. To achieve this, leaders must rethink everything: what counts on balance sheets, how to incentivize performance, who does what in the C-suite, and even what inspires us. The Breakthrough Challenge draws on over 100 exclusive interviews to show this shift in action, sharing the pioneering work of leaders such as Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever; Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of The Huffington Post; Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman of the Nestlé Group; and Linda Fisher, pioneering Chief Sustainability Officer at DuPont, among many others.
Change-as-usual strategies are not enough to move business from breakdowns to breakthroughs. The Breakthrough Challenge shows leaders how to achieve a true transformation and refocus the definition of profitability on the lasting wellbeing of people and planet—for the lasting success of their business.
John Elkington has worked for forty years in the environmental, sustainability, and social innovation fields. He has cofounded four companies, sits on more than twenty boards or advisory boards, and is a founding advisor of The B Team advisory board. He is the author or coauthor of nineteen books, including The Power of Unreasonable People. He has received awards from the UN, the Skoll Foundation, Fast Company, the Rockefeller Foundation, and others. John lives in London.
Jochen Zeitz is cofounder and cochairman of The B Team. He is a director at Kering (formerly PPR) and chairman of the board's sustainable development committee, after having been CEO of the Sport & Lifestyle division and chief sustainability officer (CSO). Previously, he served eighteen years as chairman and CEO of Puma. He was the youngest CEO in German history to head a public company. He is a board member of Harley-Davidson and Wilderness Safaris and is coauthor of The Manager and the Monk (Jossey-Bass, 2012), which has appeared in fifteen languages. Among other awards, he was named the Financial Times Strategist of the Year three years in a row. Jochen lives in Switzerland and Kenya.
For more information, please visit www.thebreakthroughchallenge.com and follow the authors on Twitter via @VolansJohn and @JochenZeitz.
Three decades later the triple bottom line has been transformed into the 3P’s, profits, planet and people. Many who were brought up during the 70’ and 80’s entered the corporate world at the “A” level or own/control the direction of corporations that operate on a global scale and have the assets to explore and promote how to apply these ideas within the for-profit sector.
The results of careful assessment of those externalities, the 3P’s, shows how adoption fits within the conventional operational parameters. A team of those pioneering companies and associated organizations, called the B-Group, and their efforts form the core ideas outlined in “The Breakthrough Challenge”.
The subtitle of this volume reads “10 ways to connect today’s profits with tomorrow’s bottom line”. It indicates that the authors believe that they now have a critical mass and access to the credibility of major corporations to finally shift the focus from short-term returns to long-term visions of sustainable futures. The authors believe that the corporate world now sees this approach as crucial to their survival and that of the planet caught in an evolving anthropocene.
While the B-Group is international, Tata Industries and Unilever are members, for example, and while they represent the ability to command a high level of capital, both financial and “social”, the international nature of the global economy presents a major obstacle. Part of this resides in what the authors define as the “C-level” of management. These are individuals such as CFO’s, who must be able to validate the return to the corporations and shareholders.
The other thorn, particularly at the global level, is the ghost in the 3P’s, government rules and regulations, particularly tax laws and rules for governance of publicly traded companies, both of which, currently, mitigate against the idea of slow, long-term growth and returns. Changes in both of these run counter to current thinking for the investment communities that seek maximum, and, increasingly shorter-term returns.
Elkington and Zeit take on these issues by carefully, and with repetition, walking around their bottom line, examining each of the major elements that need to be addressed, their “10 ways”. Many who are part of the B-team have been able to take their companies private or have sufficient control to be able to carry out change within their business or to support the research and development to effect a transition and to commit to changing the larger issues of government regulations and public sentiments. Each of the 10 ways constitutes a brief chapter in this volume.
The key, which the volume touches on like wary dog approaching a snake is the shift that society needs to make from the current infatuation with short term gains in the financial markets to smaller, cumulative long term returns of investments. The B-group and associates have stated that following a 3P path makes sense, but unlike Hume’s book, Force of Nature, which shows how Wal-Mart was able to improve its bottom line by energy and product management (the Planet “P”) “Breakthrough” only alludes to the fact that the B-Group members and others have successfully adopted a full 3P program.
As mentioned above, the elephant is the room is the financial markets that are built on showing short-term gains as exemplified by computer trading, nightly market reports and similar measures. Breakthrough suggests that there will be need for the various regulatory agencies to redefine tax laws and similar legislation that will favor long-term gains. And the corporations, whose stocks are publicly traded will have to be able to convince the stock holders and financial markets that long term, 3P, integration provides a net return while convincing the near term financial industry that they need to realign their portfolios. The ramifications have yet to be fully articulated.
While these corporate adopters have the advantage of control of their enterprises where the pressures to shift their financial strategies are tempered, one has to wonder whether the “breakthrough” puts the 3P movement at the top of a Gartner defined hype cycle. While the enthusiasm and momentum is palpable in the book, and while these corporate players have the financial and political muscle to bring the idea forward, many of the individuals and organizations, that several decades ago were pushing for this idea, may need to come to grips with the fact that the shift from short term investment portfolios to a more sustainable, long-term, financial approach can not happen without there being fiscal consequences to individuals and an entire financial industry being supported by the current marketplace.
“Breakthrough” represents the possible. The devil is in the details which are the missing examples.