13December2017

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A new narrative on Business for a Better Life

Mairead 1

Have you ever asked yourself any OR all of the following questions:

  • Just what is the primary purpose of business?
  • How can our enterprise create value beyond just making profits?
  • How can we create value that benefits all our stakeholders?

Well, the answers to all of these questions can be found within Digging Deeper, How Purpose-Driven Enterprises Create Real Value. In this book Dietmar Sternard, James J. Kennelly and Finbarr Bradley share informative and inspiring stories of businesses from near and far, who are engaged in an alternative way of doing business. They put forward a new narrative on business, which focuses on creating real value (represented by strong roots), beyond just making profits (represented by shallow roots), a way of doing business for a better life for all. In tandem with creating a better life for all, these businesses also enjoy a healthy financial situation. So, how do businesses create real value? Through focusing on the authors’ “6Ls”.

Insight into the “6Ls”:

1. Long-term orientation – creating a business which improves the quality of life for many takes time and requires a leader who is wise enough to build potential for the future and who always considers the long-term consequences of their actions. Faber-Castell’s owners are cited for successfully steering the business through numerous challenges over centuries, from wars and expropriation, right up to the threat to handwriting from the rise of the technology.

2. Lasting relationships - businesses with a long-term orientation, nurture productive and positive, lasting relationships with customers, employees, suppliers, communities, and other stakeholders. The Equal Exchange co-op in the US provides a great example of the how of close, mutually beneficial ties between a cooperative enterprise and its stakeholders and business success can thrive and flourish.

3. Limits recognition – leaders of enterprises who work to achieve balance rather than short-term profit maximization, practice economic, social, and environmental sustainability. Interface, a US carpet tile company are noted for designing their business model towards practicing total environmental sustainability.

4. Local roots - place matters deeply to us and people care about where a product comes from. A place can define who we are and gives us access to distinct and authentic resources. The Inis Meáin Knitting Company, situated on a remote Aran island off the West Coast of Ireland, is profiled for drawing strength, inspiration, and purpose from its local roots, namely the landscape, culture, and traditions of its origin, whilst adapting to the demands of a dynamic fashion sector.

5. Learning communities - Real value-oriented enterprises create a working environment that nurtures learning for both employees and partners. illycaffè created a learning community by setting up scientific research laboratories and a “University of Coffee” to create learning experiences for coffee lovers, hospitality professionals, and suppliers who receive training in the most environmentally responsible techniques.

6. Leadership responsibility - leaders who go beyond viewing enterprises as mere money-making machines in favor of developing purpose-driven enterprises are those who create real value for all. Ibrahim Abouleish - SEKEM, Egyptian entrepreneur and Alternative Nobel Prize winner, is put forward as a responsible leader who founded a network of hundreds of biodynamic farms offering organic textiles, clothes, foods, beverages and medicines in Egypt, Europe, and the U.S. He achieved all of this by Digging Deeper and improving the quality of life for all stakeholders.

To conclude with the wise words of - Count A.W. von Faber-Castell (Chairman, Faber-Castell Group of Companies) “In order to achieve long-term success, you have to think in terms of the future.”

Digging Deeper is a must read for Irish producers and growers who wish to be part of a new narrative on Business, a narrative that creates real value and demonstrates a better life for all.

Source: Bord Bia - A new narrative on Business for a Better Life