Talk of rebuilding and recovery may seem a little premature when there is much that is unknown: What will be the impact of the new variants of COVID-19 that continue to develop?
Will the economy bounce back? Will the success of vaccination programmes in the richer countries be meaningless when we live in a world where for most a vaccination in the near future is nothing more than a dream?
Nevertheless, over the next year Salt aims to continue to help members reflect on how we can take the opportunities that will be presented to create businesses that work in a fair and just way, and which innovate to create a better world.
With this aim in mind we shall reflect on some of the thoughts of philosopher Roman Krznaric who encourages us to think longer term. Also, we will consider the injustices in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines.
We are always keen to hear how people like yourself are using business to create a better world, so do please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Building for the future
Build back better - it’s a slogan we've become familiar with and it's one of vital importance. The opportunity to reset and turn away from some of the mistakes of the past as we look to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic is one we need to grasp. Leaders from all sectors of society, including business, are considering how we improve on our past performance. So, how do we do it?
Many people have made helpful contributions to the discussion, but I would like to share a few thoughts based on The Good Ancestor by Roman Krznaric. Krznaric has been described by The Observer as one of Britain’s leading popular philosophers. You may have seen his TED talk shared on our Facebook page between Christmas and New February 2021 Year.
Our society is focused on the here and now – the immediate future. Perhaps this is illustrated most strongly by the idea of the Amazon buy it now buttons. Just in case reaching for your phone and clicking the screen a few times is too slow Amazon developed buttons that could be kept around your home and with one click a particular product is ordered.
There are, or course, many problems caused by our short-term thinking. Deforestation, degradation of topsoil, contaminated water sources, micro-plastics, mass-extinction, climate change are all caused in some way by humanity’s failure to plan for the long term and our short term over consumption.
Many of us make five-year plans for our careers or for the businesses we lead, but how many of us plan much beyond that? Krznaric’s contribution to the question of how we build back better is that he encourages us to change our perspective and to think long term - thinking in decades and centuries rather than minutes, hours and days.
Will what we build during the recovery from the pandemic avoid the environmental destruction linked to the growth and increase in wealth we have seen in the last few hundred years?
Once again Sir David Attenborough has been reminding the nation of the impact we are having on creation through his Perfect Planet series which is airing on BBC1 at the moment.
As we seek to build back better will we develop new institutions that improve the lives of all, like the NHS which was created by those seeking to build back better after World War II? Will we discover news ways of doing business that truly provide a dividend for the planet and all stakeholders rather than just shareholders?
During the pandemic I’ve been trying hard to keep physically and mentally fit by cycling from my home in the West Midlands. I regularly pass Kenilworth Castle, which was built 900 years ago. It might not have the same importance it once had, but it is still standing and enjoyed by many.
Maybe 900 years is a bit ambitious, but will the positive impact of what we are building back now still be around in nine years or 90 years?