Better Business for a Better World is my (Peter Bruce) ebook revision of the book first published in 2000. The need to connect principle and profit is even more important considering the events of the last decade.
My book has been endorsed by John Elkington, renown sustainability advocate, and the author of books such as Cannibals with Forks: the Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business and The Power of Unreasonable People. John states:
In the revised 2011 edition of his 2000 book, Better Business for a Better World, Peter Bruce looks at ways in which business people can more fully engage the moral and values components of the sustainability agenda. His aim of reconciling science with religion is a vital—if immensely challenging—one. A deeply considered, provocative book.’
Some extracts from Better Business for a Better World’s introduction.
We are in the era of the global economy. National economies that previously plodded along now move at the speed of light. We have left the safety of an era when demand outstripped supply to an era of oversupply. To survive and/or prosper, businesses have to work smarter and learn. Debilitated organisations struggle on after repeated, often crude, restructuring. As business ecosystems change rapidly, the people in them adapt, are left behind, or leave.
Are we drones? Are we expected to give more and more for the return of our material existence? Are we becoming more like ants and less like people? As with insects, does our workplace metabolism rise higher under the white-hot heat of competition? … And for what return? Is our society a better place to raise children?
But enough of gloom—this book has an essentially positive message. The modern age promises much, but still has much to deliver. These are the pioneer days of the global economy. It will work. It will deliver prosperity more equitably across the planet. Nations were built with vision and passion, older nations glorying in their traditions; younger nations taking pride in their emerging identity. In nationhood we were connected and had a sense of purpose. To develop a global community we need global vision and a sense of our connectedness. The technology is there but the spirit is not. We have stumbled into globalism driven by economic expediency. We now have to create the culture to make it work.
I do not want to be a citizen of a global sweatshop. I see little point in working just to accumulate wealth. We are just making it materially, but what kind of community are we developing?
An overview of this book
Part One sets the scene by examining the role of business in developing our society. We are at a crossroads leading either to moral decline or a more enlightened society, and businesses cannot stand on the sidelines. Our global heritage is explored in chapter two. Chapter three looks closely at the dominant paradigms that shape our thinking on the cusp of the new millennium.
Part Two features “valuable” businesses. Each is led by a special person who is a pioneer in developing a principle-based, prosperous business. All are models for the new century. Three of the businesses featured are New Zealand businesses, one is from Bangladesh, another from Canada, and the last from England.
Part Three takes a detailed look at concepts and practices for building valuable businesses. These include:
- principles for modern business
- the philosophical base of businesses (mission, vision and values)
- a global society
- expansive thinking
- the role of leadership
- developing a stakeholder focus
This section offers several reflective and action tools for developing valuable businesses.
Reconciling the world views of business and religion
Much of my motivation in writing this book was to reconcile the world views of religion and business. I look for places where the two world views align. This is part of a bigger discussion about science and religion. I am a Baha’i and find much to be encouraged about in exploring the complementarity of these two potent civilising forces. The Baha’i Writings state:
Religion and science are the two wings upon which man’s intelligence can soar into the heights, with which the human soul can progress. It is not possible to fly with one wing alone! Should a man try to fly with the wing of religion alone he would quickly fall into the quagmire of superstition, whilst on the other hand, with the wing of science alone he would also make no progress, but fall into the despairing slough of materialism.
For example Baha`u’llah states that “Trustworthiness is the supreme instrument for the prosperity of the world”. This aligns well with the thinking of enlightened business writers. Recently the economist Jeffry Sachs stated:
Better Business for a Better World focuses on the moral leadership so essential for a sustainable and prosperous economy.