On June 12, the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) presented its Business Call for a New Economy to a White House summit, the following day the letter was shared with Senators and their staff. Founded in 2009, the ASBC is a coalition of businesses and business organizations committed to advancing the necessary framework and policies to support a just and sustainable economy.
According to Jeffrey Hollender, co-founder and Board Chair of ASBC and co-founder of household product company Seventh Generation, “The White House summit was a unique opportunity for the American Sustainable Business Council to collaborate with the administration to develop the innovative strategies that will lead to a healthy, just and sustainable economy.”
ASBC believes that only through “responsible and comprehensive change” can we as a society “continue to enjoy the benefits of market capitalism.” For change to occur, ASBC boosts that five core principles must be upheld.
1. Market Economy: ASBC believes that a market-based business system must remain; however, it needs to be adjusted to account for externalities, including human health and environmental costs.
2. Broad Prosperity: Education is a fundamental right. Also, business development should anchor living wage jobs.
3. Sustainability: Managing our economy to meet the needs of the current generation without impairing the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
4. Sensible Measures and Regulations: Regulations have the ability to limit the power of harmful companies and technologies and by doing so they promote fair competition, innovation, and change.
5. Democratic Control: According to ASBC a “sustainable market should be structured and managed to be fair, transparent, well regulated, and fully accountable to all participants.”
I applaud ASBC for bringing together the business community, thought leaders, and politicians. Although I do not believe that adherence to these principles alone will make for a sustainable global economy, I am encouraged by the high level of discussion. It is my hope that the summit brings attention to the fact that our current market-based economy is flawed and in need of new paradigm thinking. Only when the market embraces the business opportunities that environmental stewardship and equitable economy can have, will change occur.
Beth is a Senior Research Analyst with Portfolio 21 Investments. She has 8 years of environmental and social investing research experience.