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Last week TBL had the opportunity to have an informal telephonic chat from Karachi with John Elkington, while he was participating in the Corporate Responsibility Summit in Mumbai, organized by Child Rights and You (CRY), one of India’s leading NGOs working for children.
Wikipedia describes John Elkington as “He is also co-founder of Sustain Ability (1987, where he is a non-executive member of the Board) and of Environmental Data Services (ENDS, 1978).
So instead of just simply taking the financial bottom line, I extended it to the economic dimensions as well, which almost no companies when they are doing their annual report and accounts, cover.
At the time that seemed to be a slightly revolutionary agenda. We looked into getting intellectual property rights on it because we wanted to make sure no one else could.
It was in the early 1990’s and the Earth Summit was held in 1992 as you remember, and business at that time was trying to get it’s brain around this new sustainable development agenda, which was introduced in the late 1980’s.In your opinion is this correct, or would you say there is a difference between the two concepts? think there is a profound difference between the two concepts, and I also think it is extremely dangerous where there is this overlapping, or sort of conflation between these different languages.I mean for a start, anything with “C” in it is speaking of corporate and their particular agendas, and corporations’ are only one part of it, of the system level responses we need.So we looked into it and found that the best way of protecting the concept was just getting it out there and getting people to using it as fast as we possibly could and that’s what we did do.It took off faster in certain markets than in others, like Netherland, Holland – people, planet, profit, took off very rapidly and since then it is now endemic in that country and we are now a long way away from where we were then.