Why we need a World Improvement Programme
In recent decades the business landscapes has changed dramatically, and we now live in a connected age where change is swift, constant, and unpredictable.
With rapid technological advancements, social media, smartphones, and the internet becoming ubiquitous, global events such as 2008's financial crisis, the COVID pandemic, and, most recently, the Ukrainian conflict have increased the sense of uncertainty, danger, and turbulence.
People no longer feel a sense of certainty, stability, and familiarity that they used to. It's best to describe this type of environment using the acronym "VUCA," which stands for "volatile," "uncertain," "complex," and "ambiguous."
VUCA: What is it?
Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the United States Army War College was one of the first organisations to use the VUCA acronym. Military planners used VUCA to describe the radically different and unfamiliar international security environment. VUCA means:
Volatile – Change is a dynamic process that cannot be predicted
Uncertain – Today is unclear, and tomorrow is uncertain.
Complex – Chaos and confusion can be caused by several interconnected factors.
Ambiguous: Situations lack clarity or awareness.
Fourth industrial revolution and global warming
With the advent of industrialisation and the burning of fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, and oil, many scientists believe that humans contributed significantly to the increase in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This enhanced the planet's natural greenhouse effect and led to higher temperatures. Approximately 65 per cent of human-produced greenhouse gases come from fossil fuels used in industry, transportation, home heating, electricity generation, and cooking. Carbon emissions increase as humans clear forests for human development and convert woodlands, grasslands, and prairies into farmland.
How does industrial revolution affect humanity?
The Federal Reserve branch in Minneapolis estimates that human productivity and corresponding standards of living didn't change much between the agricultural age and 1750.
The changes began in Great Britain in 1760. There was a sustained increase in average income and population levels. With the emergence of the modern capitalist economy, gross domestic product (GDP) per capita grew dramatically.
The fourth industrial revolution is having an adverse effect on our overall mental health and well-being. With everything changing around us rapidly, keeping up with the trends has become more challenging than ever. Everyone is focused on getting rich overnight, buying a new car, getting a big house or getting a promotion.
GDP and capitalism
Big data is a great way to measure quantifiable things; it can be estimated, managed, and seen to matter. But how do we understand things that cannot be measured? Such as relationships, happiness, mental health, creativity, willingness, emotions or feelings.
A country's gross domestic product (GDP) is one way to evaluate its progress and success since it measures everything it makes (goods and services). However, that can no longer be accepted. The World Happiness Report found that income and GDP have waned in importance, and the word happiness has become more prevalent. Economic growth is not guaranteed to increase happiness. A study by the Institute for Management Development demonstrates that GDP ignores the relationship between economic growth and income inequality, even if you only associate happiness with having money. GDP cannot measure happiness.
Capitalism has brought unimaginable benefits to billions of people, eradicated abject poverty, and unleashed creativity that could never have been imagined. The system provides a powerful incentive and motivation for production, growth, innovation, improvement, and forward movement.
However, capitalism has resulted in a broken society. Global warming is at its highest level ever. Glaciers are melting, and countries are flooding. Suicide is on the rise. Depression affects approximately 280 million people worldwide. An urgent need exists to create a better world in all aspects. We must revisit what it means to be human and feel happy.
This can be traced back to ancient Japanese philosophy, Ikigai. Ikigai has become a way of life for Japanese people. Some believe it contributes to their happiness and longevity. It's no wonder that Western culture has adopted it as a means to find meaningful careers.
How can we create a World Improvement Programme?
In June 1992, nearly two hundred nations gathered in Rio de Janeiro to discuss strategies for global sustainable development. This resulted in Agenda 21, a document consisting of agreements among participating countries to achieve sustainable development on an international and intranational level.
As a global initiative, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. It focuses on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an urgent call to action for all developed and developing countries to participate in a global partnership. Besides addressing poverty and deprivations, they recognise the need for strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and stimulate economic growth, all while addressing climate change and preserving the oceans and forests.
How does ESG criteria help us make the world a better place?
Socially conscious investors screen investment opportunities based on environmental, social, and governance criteria (ESG). Environmental criteria consider how companies protect the environment, including climate change policies. The social criteria examine the company's relationship with its employees, suppliers, customers, and the community where it operates. Governance concerns a company's leadership, executive pay, auditing, internal controls, and shareholder rights.
The ESG criteria can also help investors avoid blowups when companies operating in a risky or unethical manner are ultimately held liable. Investment firms are increasingly tracking ESG-minded business practices as they gain more traction. Examples include B.P.'s 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill and Volkswagen's emissions scandal, which rocked the companies' stock prices and cost them billions of dollars.
Organisations redefining how we work and live
U.S. Business Roundtable
Business Roundtable is a group of chief executives of America's leading companies committed to promoting a strong U.S. economy through sound public policy. Research and advocacy are two ways Business Roundtable promotes policies that stimulate job creation, boost U.S. competitiveness, and strengthen the economy.
Every American deserves an economy with opportunities to succeed through hard work and creativity. Free markets are the best means of creating good jobs, a healthy economy, innovation, a healthy environment, and economic opportunity for all.
Council for Inclusive Capitalism
The Council for Inclusive Capitalism is an initiative of CEO leaders committing to a more inclusive and sustainable economy. Strong and valuable businesses are those that generate profit for their stakeholders. By bringing their best actions to the Council, they make them into business strategies that others can use to impact society and the environment positively.
John Mackey and Raj Sisodia developed the philosophy of conscious capitalism to promote a socially responsible economic and political system. Business leaders, not just corporate management and shareholders, should be treated ethically by businesses.
Forum for the future
It is one of the leading international sustainability non-profits. Our fundamental systems are no longer fit for purpose because of climate change, poverty, malnutrition, and civil unrest. Founded over 25 years ago, this organisation works to accelerate the shift toward a sustainable future by partnering with businesses, governments, and civil society.
Various aspects come together when looking at the bigger picture to improve the world and make it a better place. This includes sustainable development, a better lifestyle, happy work environments, happy humans, agenda 21, and much more. Organisations such as the Forum of Future and Conscious Capitalism are constantly trying to improve the world's multiple facets. World Improvement means developing the world on all fronts consciously.