Like most of you, I’m still trying to get my head around Donald Trump’s victory. While his rise may have been predictable and should have been foreseeable after years of economic and cultural stagnation in the heartland, it doesn’t sting any less. And now we all have to live with it.
But you already know that.
As critical optimists, it’s imperative that we find the opportunities and lessons hidden inside of any disaster. TriplePundit strongly believes there are many ways to move forward in the wake of this election. The good news is that no one is more poised to to drive forward a sustainability agenda than the business community. Business, with almost no help from the government, has already begun to take proactive action on climate change, drive a clean energy transition, stand up for the need for a diverse workforce and to take action on many other issues we all care about – not just because it’s the right thing to do but because it’s the profitable thing to do.
One of the main reasons TriplePundit exists is to make the business case for action on sustainability. We make this case on moral grounds and practical grounds, but we also make it based on good old fashioned capitalism. Doing good is good business. Take a look at what we and our corporate partners have accomplished over the past year or so:
- We’ve covered the economic benefits coming from the COP21 agreement, something that will likely continue regardless of any presidential meddling.
- We’ve made the business case for women’s leadership.
- We’ve showed why a diverse work force is a more profitable workforce and that discussing the #BlackLivesMatter movement should not be taboo at the water cooler and in the boardroom.
- We’ve covered the rise of B-Corps – a fast growing new business model based on transparency and sustainability.
- We’ve shown that combating food waste can feed people profitably.
- We’ve demonstrated the business case for skills-based volunteering that goes way beyond picking up trash at the beach.
- We’ve shown how a company can take short term expenses for long term gains that benefit the health of their customers as well as the bottom line.
- We’ve shown why mitigating climate risk in a supply chain is a smart and profitable move.
- We’ve even partnered on all new conference next month called Companies vs Climate Change, the roster of which already features a who’s who of the Fortune 500.
To top off your cup of optimism, don’t forget that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. The majority of Americans support the kinds of positive changes she stood for, regardless of her faults. For that matter, the majority of Trump voters are not racist misogynists who think the earth is flat. They’re mostly people irritated by a government that ignored them. At their core they want a prosperous and meaningful life and a bright future for their children. Business need to be prepared to answer their needs. We need to be prepared to answer their needs.
To sum it up, we still have a lot of work cut out for us, and as regular TriplePundit contributor Henk Campher is fond of saying, “there are still a lot of companies out there selling snake oil.” Call them the Trumps of the business world. As we mentioned in our newsletter this morning, NRG’s Bruno Sarda shared the following with his team:
Now our work is all the more important. If government won’t lead, and will possibly [impede our efforts at] a sustainable future, business will need to lead the way even more than it has to date. This is our time. It won’t be easy, but we can’t shy away from the importance of our work. We need to make an unavoidable case for the imperative of sustainable business and a sustainable energy future.
I also talked to Aman Singh, well known journalist and sustainability communications advisor and my co-chair at the upcoming Companies vs. Climate Change conference who told me the following:
As a professional, I feel lucky that I work in the corporate sector. As someone famously said at COP21, many of us have realized that we can have more scalable impact by driving more systemic business decisions. Business can be disruptive. Business can be proactive. Business can search for morality when forced to. And business can drive change because business feeds our stomachs. And that is what I hope business leaders will continue to focus on despite a leadership change in American politics. That we can continue to push uphill for what we know is right and necessary to promise our future generations resilient economies and societies without regulatory support if that’s what it takes. Because together we have another right to vote – as business professionals.”
Sadly, Donald Trump is not a real businessman. He’s a simple con artist, likely as bewildered at his recent success as he is emboldened. The con-job will soon become obvious and Trump’s influence will begin to whither, hopefully with minimal collateral damage. Or maybe he’ll evolve. We have no choice but to heed Hillary Cilnton’s request to greet him with an open mind, but we will be doing so with a very critical eye.
One thing we have a lot more faith in is the ability of the motivated and forward-thinking people in business to continue pushing for positive change in the world. We aim to spend the coming years helping that happen.