The BusinessGreen Leaders Awards are a chance to highlight the innovation that will one day deliver a genuinely green economy
In the introduction to his excellent new book, Cancel the Apocalypse - The New Path to Prosperity, Andrew Simms paints a picture of a country called Goodland. It is, as the name suggests, a pretty impressive place. It has a law "enshrining protection of its life-supporting ecosystems", its cities are green and healthy, and it boasts beautiful, low cost and environmentally friendly housing developments. It has a dynamic local banking system and a plan to phase out fossil fuels, as well a commitment to focus on policies that improve human well-being rather than fixate on blunt economic growth metrics. Oh, and the president gives away 90 per cent of his salary.
It sounds pretty utopian for a book that has the word "apocalypse" in the title, but as Simms explains "Goodland exists. It is just a little, well, spread out". "Each of the positive aspects of nationhood and urban character described above can already be enjoyed in the real world," he adds. "Just not yet all in the same place."
For example, Bolivia has a "Mother Earth Law" that requires all legislation to respect the "ecological limits set by nature", while cities from New York to Ghent and Freiburg to Havana are pioneering new thinking in green town planning. Germany's ability to insulate itself against the worst of the economic crash is partly attributed to the fact 70 per cent of its banking sector is based around small or community banks. Meanwhile, Nicaragua has committed to a near complete phase out of fossil fuels and Bhutan has famously pursued the idea of measuring Gross National Happiness. Even Goodland's putative President exists in the form of Uruguay's Jose Mujica and his commitment to "live on about £450 per month with a presidential guard comprising two policemen and three-legged dog".
But if there is a Goodland, then there is also a Good Corp. No single company has yet developed a successful operating model that is environmentally sustainable in the truest sense of the word (although it is fair to say there are plenty of individual organisations that are much closer to genuine sustainability than any individual nation). But there are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of companies that have already embraced the technologies and techniques that will one day deliver a truly green, sustainable, efficient, and innovative economy.
The trick now is ensuring these highly innovative clean technologies and business models are refined, improved, scaled up and priced down so that they can be deployed across the corporate world as quickly as possible. That is precisely where we hope BusinessGreen, and more specifically the BusinessGreen Leaders Awards, which we launched this week, can play a small but important role.
In highlighting the very best of the green economy - the inspirational leaders, the pioneering clean tech projects, the most innovative entrepreneurs - we want to demonstrate to all business leaders and policymakers that Good Corp is out there. At a time when the business community is facing more than its fair share of condemnation (some of it sadly justified), these awards aim to show how responsible firms can play an absolutely critical role in tackling the huge environmental challenges we face and help build a more resilient and successful economy.
But if we are to demonstrate that Good Corp exists then we need your help. All too often green businesses have a tendency to hide their light under a bushel, rarely touting their achievements, even when they represent a giant leap forward from the unsustainable business models that preceded the economic crisis. If clean technologies and sustainable business practices are to break fully into the mainstream this reticence needs to end. As such, we want to hear from you.
Now in their fourth year, the BusinessGreen Leaders Awards are free to enter and if your organisation prides itself on its green performance then there is bound to be a suitable category for you. We want to demonstrate the huge success Good Corp has enjoyed in the past year, but to do that we need your help.
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