A recent TedX talk on regenerative capitalism caught my eye. The talk was by Michael Kramer, Managing Partner of Natural Investments, a socially responsible investment firm. Regenerative capitalism goes beyond sustainability, because if we just sustain where we are, we’re not making progress. We all know the challenges in changing our capitalistic society to create more true capitalism, where the costs of pollution and other externalities are included in the price of goods. But Kramer said, “I’m more optimistic now, than ever.”
According to Kramer, there really is nothing new with what we’re doing here in trying to change capitalism. To live a more interconnected life, we can get away from this idea that we make money in one place and we “do good” somewhere else.
One of the key takeaways is just simply thinking about where we shop. Corporations are not evil, said Kramer, who described himself as a “recovering anti-capitalist.” But they do follow the money. So if we make conscientious decisions, corporations will follow suit.
Kramer pointed out many of the advantages to corporations on following a better form of capitalism. Customer loyalty, employee satisfaction and engagement, and recirculating capital within our communities rather than sending it millions of miles away to some corporate headquarters are examples.
Here’s Kramer’s talk on YouTube:
Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. As a serial eco-entrepreneur who has started, grown and sold multiple green businesses, Scott believes that capitalism, true capitalism, can be a powerful force for change, but that our current version of capitalism is severely hampered by perverse subsidies and negative externalities that make unsustainable products less expensive than healthier alternatives. Scott is a vegetarian, an avid cyclist, and an organic gardener. Find Scott on Google Plus