2019 Champions Retreat Recap: How do we evolve capitalism?
A week ago, I returned from Los Angeles after three days of deep engagement at the B Corp Champions Retreat with 600 changemakers who are committed to building a globally inclusive and regenerative economy.
The opening plenary set the stage for a new awakening for me. The theme of the 2019 B Corp Champions Retreat was “Building Inclusive & Regenerative Economies”.
Lynn Johnson, emcee and CoFounder/CEO of Spotlight: Girls stated it in plain terms:
“What you do to the people, you do to the land. What you do to the land, you do to the people.”
I am familiar with the concept of “inclusive economies”. As shared in that opening plenary:
An INCLUSIVE Economy is one that creates opportunities for people of all backgrounds and experiences to live with dignity, support themselves and their families, and make a contribution to their local and national communities.
But the concept of “regenerative economies” was not something I really understood. As shared in the opening plenary:
A REGENERATIVE Economy takes sustainability to the next level. It is rooted in metrics and market structures that meet human needs through equitable access, distribution, fully-costed and priced services and goods, and delivers flourishing value for all within nature’s bounds.
Sustainability is no longer good enough. We are in a climate crisis and we are running out of time before the tipping point of no return. The final words of this definition are what were the awakening for me, “flourishing value for all within nature’s bounds.” What you do to the land, you do to the people.
There were opportunities to learn from each other, share successes and challenge ourselves to examine our individual mindsets and practices. Throughout the plenary sessions, there was the constant drumbeat from Mermans Mosengo of Playing for Change, connecting us to the pulse of the land like a heartbeat.
I challenged myself to build my understanding of regenerative economies and started with the opportunity to watch the feature film called The Biggest Little Farm, an award-winning documentary about Apricot Lane Farms, a regenerative organic and biodynamic farm just 40 miles from Los Angeles. This really crystallized the mantra, “what you do to the land, you do to the people.”
In the keynote by Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia, gave the call to action, “Capitalism needs to evolve, if humanity is to survive.”
How do we evolve capitalism?
As I sat in many different sessions, the theme that consumer behavior drives capitalism was a consistent underpinning. The choices consumers make impact the marketplace. So what can we do individually and collectively?
- #VoteEveryDay is a campaign to give you, as the consumer, the power to evolve capitalism with your purchases. You have a voice and power beyond the ballot box. By buying from, working for and doing business with B Corps, you vote for what you believe in. Every day is election day.
- Get informed. Just like I did with respect to regenerative economies. If we are in a state of unconscious incompetence, we don’t know what we don’t know and we can’t change our behavior.The first step is knowledge.
- Be a researcher for a day. Examine every daily practice that you have from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed. Then ask yourself, “what impact does this behavior have on marginalized people?” “What impact does this have on the land?” And then evaluate, “what can I change to reduce that impact?”
— Here are a few quick examples of my own examination since I returned, “can I ride my bike instead of jumping in the car?” I am also saying no to paper and plastic bags by bringing my own.
- Connect to changemakers globally. All change starts at the individual level but the transformation of the global economy requires us to harness our individual action in a collective way.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals provide a blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet through a framework of 17 goals with targets to be achieved by 2030. Starting in January 2020, you can use the SDG Action Manager to take action, track progress and transform the world. What goal do you want to work towards?
I am committed to work towards SDG Goal #5 “Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls.” As a woman leader of a certified B Corp, I have signed the global WeTheChange declaration. Any woman business owner or ally can sign this declaration. This is connecting my individual action to a global movement.
We can build an inclusive and regenerative global economy. If you need support getting started, let’s connect.