Winning by being a responsible business

How might brands lead the way and role model responsible business?

LEGO plants made from sustainably sourced sugarcane.

Richard Straub, founder of the Peter Drucker Society Europe, brings together a great argument in this recent Harvard Business Review article.

‘What does it take to cause something big about a community to change — something that no one individually has much power over, even something as big as a prevailing mindset? We know what it takes: a social movement. And social movements aren’t only the domain of community organizers and college students. Business people can set them in motion, too, as we are seeing right now. Currently gaining force is a movement to focus for-profit enterprises more on the essential work of enriching societies — that is, benefiting not only those humans who are their owners as publicly traded companies but also those who work in them and who stand to benefit from more purpose-driven innovation. Like any social movement, this one has started with many people starting small fires,’ writes Richard Straub for the Harvard Business Review.

He is spot on and the positive reception behind our recent announcement of the first sustainable LEGO bricks entering production this year, only confirms his points further. Garnering over 900 million impressions in the last few weeks alone, and countless articles in different publications – there is clearly an appetite to talk about and celebrate even small steps in pursuit of a big goal. Ours is to make all core LEGO products and packaging from sustainable materials by 2030. Wired’s article captures this well, as does Mashable’s feature earlier.

What fascinates me with this is the potential and opportunity for leading brands to establish sustainability as another innovation lever, and in doing spark a more widespread change in norms. Surely, all premium brands of the future cannot in all honesty be seen as such without a credible strategy around sustainability and positive social impact.

‘Is it possible for a social movement to achieve a different capitalism, with a human face? No one has all the levers to change organizations and society over night. But collectively we have all we need to do this over time. The great management theorist and storyteller Charles Handy expressed this well in Vienna last fall, at his closing address to the 2017 Global Peter Drucker Forum. He urged managers to be inspired by their enterprises’ power to make a difference. “Let us just spark small fires in the darkness,” he said, “until they spread and the world is alight.” Richard Straub, Harvard Business Review