The Bumblebee And The Dow

Photo Credit: National Public Radio (NPR)

Photo Credit: National Public Radio (NPR)

The day after President Donald Trump announced his executive orders to advance the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, the Dow Industrial Average soared to a record-breaking 20,000. Earlier within that same month, other groundbreaking news hit — that 2016 was the latest record-breaking hottest year on record, that a majority of primates around the world face an extinction crisis, and that the first bee in the continental U.S. had been added to the Endangered Species List. (Since then, a U.N. assessment finds that pollinator decline is a global trend with nearly 40% of invertebrates facing extinction and threatening the security of the world’s food supply).

What a powerful illustration of the contrast between the leadership that the global ecosystem needs and the dominant leadership paradigm orchestrating what Mark Carney, Chair of the Financial Stability Board, describes as the “tragedy of the horizon.” Interestingly, the business-as-usual perspective celebrating investment in carbon-based economic infrastructure reflects a short-sighted orientation that also is driving businesses to fail at higher rates than their twentieth-century peers and is norming decision-making practices that result in MBA CEOs being a greater risk to business success than those without MBAs.

Business-as-usual is failing the planet and business itself. It really is time for a leadership (r)evolution!

The 21st century is calling for wildly courageous leadership that is willing to believe in and stand for a sustainable future where all life can thrive. Thankfully, grassroots to global leadership is wisely restoring balance and creatively innovating with a commitment to a world that works for all, both present and future. In leadership terms, the emergent phenomenon is called restorative leadership, and in business, certified B Corps embody restorative leadership by virtue of their belief in interdependence and their commitment to benefit to all stakeholders.

Namasté Solar and Biomimicry 3.8 are two B Corps that demonstrate restorative leadership by taking the long view and making choices that are of highest benefit to all. Operating with deep respect for people and the planet, Namasté Solar is a worker-owned cooperative, award-winning for its innovative practices that engage diverse stakeholders in clean energy solutions. Extending participatory practices to the non-human world, Biomimicry 3.8, the world’s first bio-inspired consultancy, innovates sustainable design solutions that engender respect for nature by looking to nature’s 3.8+ billion years of evolutionary genius for mentorship and models. Biomimicry was named a top "trend to ride" in 2017 by Fortune Magazine.

Imagine a world where the new normal in business actually commits itself in mission and practice to “a world that works for all” like Berrett-Koehler Publishers, or “reinvest(s) profits back into the communities and environment on which we all depend” like Beneficial Bank, or positively impacts society and the environment so significantly that it rates “Best For The World” like Native American Natural Foods. As producers and consumers, we can co-create that world and chart a horizon of possibility rather than tragedy with each choice that we make.

To find out more about how to be part of the restorative leadership (r)evolution, listen to our On Leading podcast about empowering a clean energy future with Namasté Solar’s co-founder Blake Jones and On Leading podcast about emulating nature's genius with Biomimicry 3.8 co-founder Janine Benyus.