The rise of the conscious business
Don’t ask businesses what they do, ask why they do it
As the co-founder of energy efficiency tech company Ecocentric, I’m continually asked what we do. Very few people ever asked the most important question – why?
Perhaps it’s because centuries of social conditioning and academia has taught us that the purpose of a business is to make a profit.
But the paradigm is shifting. The conscious business movement is gaining momentum.At Ecocentric, we are a purpose-driven business that starts every conversation with ‘why?’.
Everything that we do is to benefit people and the planet. If our employees, customers, investors and other stakeholders understand the ‘why’, we can have meaningful discussions about ‘what’ and ‘how’.
Being a conscious business is a state-of-mind, not something which can be retrofitted once the all-important profit goal has been achieved.
People Must Consider Their 1,000-year Legacy
Waste is a human phenomenon; it doesn’t happen in nature. Four and a half billion years of R&D has led the way for us which I believe should be regarded with humility and reverence.
Ecocentrism is the term used to describe a nature-centered, rather than a human-centered system of values. At Ecocentric, we see ourselves as stewards of the planet.
With our energy efficiency technology, Numen, we are able to extract information from the built environment, right down to devices, which provides us with an unprecedented view of the flow of energy in buildings.
This kind of information will create a new marketplace, a whole new platform of data that was previously unavailable to us.
At the core of why we exist is the desire to empower people through knowledge, by making information available so that they can affect positive change.
Cities are a massive drain on energy resources with buildings accounting for nearly 40 percent of the world’s total energy consumption.
We see buildings like trees and cities like forests. Becoming ecocentric is a way of life, an aspiration that will last one thousand years.
The Butterfly Effect
On a recent overseas holiday, I was confronted by the fragility of the human race when I contracted Dengue Fever and then Pneumonia from a mosquito bite.
The insect bite set in motion a series of events which included a medivac airlift to a foreign hospital, 24-hour emergency care and then an unscheduled flight back to Australia.
The mosquito was so small and seemingly insignificant, that I didn’t even see or feel it.
Yet, one of nature’s tiniest creatures was responsible for thousands of dollars in medical bills and almost cost me my life.
The U.S. Centre for Disease Control blames urbanisation for creating the ideal ecology for these mosquitos to thrive.
The increased density of populations as people flock to cities in search of employment, in addition to the air travel has resulted in more than 50 million infections a year.
The experience was humbling. Nature is effortlessly powerful – what if it took a bigger bite?
Conscious Business And The New Awakening
Conscious business is not to be confused with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which is often criticised as lip service or at worst, a public relations exercise.
Being conscious in business is a way of harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit and its potential for problem solving and innovation as we seek to overcome the issues of climate change and the changing ecosystem of our entire planet.
The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk continually focuses his key stakeholders on the ‘why’. Electric cars, powered by energy from the sun, will displace fossil-fuelled vehicles that produce greenhouse gas emissions.
Doing good business and doing the right thing are now intrinsically linked.
Tesla overtaking Ford and General Motors as the most valuable car company in the United States is a case in point.
A purpose-driven business can affect change, no matter whether it’s a big multinational or a small startup with a handful of employees.
If you are clear about why you are in business, you can truly change the world.
About Paul Lyons
Paul Lyons is the co-founder of energy efficiency company Ecocentric Energy. Ecocentric Energy is helping businesses around the world understand their electricity use and reduce energy consumption.
This article was also posted on EcoGeneration