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We got to involve financial markets, we got to involve every level of government, we got to involve civil society and so on.
There is no way that CSR, conventionally defined, can address the sustainability challenge.
Last week TBL had the opportunity to have an informal telephonic chat from Karachi with John Elkington, while he was participating in the Corporate Responsibility Summit in Mumbai, organized by Child Rights and You (CRY), one of India’s leading NGOs working for children.
Wikipedia describes John Elkington as “He is also co-founder of Sustain Ability (1987, where he is a non-executive member of the Board) and of Environmental Data Services (ENDS, 1978).
For me it is fundamentally about inter-generational equity.
I think every way you look in today’s world, today’s generations are cascading debt to future generations.
To some degree there is this sort of battle between different labels, different branding and different bits of this agenda.
Fundamentally I don’t terribly mind what language is used, I really don’t mind if people never use the term triple bottom line or sustainability again as long as they understand the nature and scale of the problems we face and respond to it in the appropriate way.
It’s great that you have done that and I would encourage you to push that framing of it.
TBL: People are generally using the terms CSR and sustainability quite interchangeably.
TBL: Well, as you can see, we took the liberty of making a slight amendment to the terminology, and we are calling our triple bottom-line as people, planet and prosperity. As in 1996, I also offered that as an alternative framing, because some people thought profit was just too capitalist.
So we did use the prosperity language but found that it wasn’t picked up to the same extent.
So instead of just simply taking the financial bottom line, I extended it to the economic dimensions as well, which almost no companies when they are doing their annual report and accounts, cover.