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INNOVATION

Climate Resilience, Regeneration and Humanism – Welcome to Capitalism 3.0

Thursday, January 20, 2022

For decades, CEOs were mainly responsible for rewarding shareholders, and it involved a short-term focus on business. But companies are slowly moving away from this somewhat meaningless practice. Is there an opportunity to reset post-COVID capitalism in light of the climate crisis, health crisis and social inequalities? Dreamers and utopians have the power to change the world for the better, and we wanted to contribute to the discussion.

Increased global awareness

Ursula Burns was named CEO of Xerox in 2009 and she became the first black woman to lead a Fortune 500 company. An outspoken advocate for inclusive capitalism and racial equity, themes featured in her memoir, “Where You Are Is Not Who You Are,” she advocates for balancing “how much profit you make and how much cash you generate against how much of a positive impact you can have on society […]. The pandemic brought these fundamental inequities to light: The ‘really important’ guys who get paid millions of dollars stayed in their homes, but the guys who make $10 an hour, doing things like pushing gurneys down hospital corridors, had to come to work.”

 

In another fascinating read, Net Positive: How Courageous Companies Thrive by Giving More Than They Take, Paul Polman and Andrew Winston encourage companies to build a better world by improving the lives of everyone they touch (customers, suppliers, employees, local communities, etc.), while significantly increasing long-term shareholder returns in the process. This approach involves creating a business model that takes ownership of the social and environmental impacts the company creates in order to innovate, save money and build a more human and connected culture.

 

These thinkers are supported by unprecedented youth engagement to fight climate change, and more generally, inequalities. The recent G20 agreement on a 15% minimum global multinational corporate tax underlines the importance of the debate, which is still going strong. Stars are slowly aligning, but it’s still necessary to move quicker toward a better world, and every company has their role to play.

The business case for regenerative tourism

Tourism accounted for 10% of the world’s GDP before the pandemic. In some countries, like Croatia, this industry generated 25% of total employment. Tourism is a dynamic industry, but it also highlights dysfunctional aspects of the world, with overtourism destroying the environment and constantly increasing CO2 emissions. A few forerunners have launched the Future of Tourism coalition, which sets out several key guiding principles:

  • See the whole picture to recognize that most tourism involves the destination as a whole, not only industry and businesses. Local ecosystems, natural resources, cultural assets and traditions, communities, aesthetics, and built infrastructure also matter;
  • Work through a collaborative management structure with equal participation by government, the private sector, and civil society organizations that represent diversity in communities.
  • Demand fair income distribution and set policies that counter unequal tourism benefits within destination communities that maximize retention of tourism revenues within those communities.
  • Reduce tourism’s burden by accounting for all tourism costs in terms of local tax burdens, environmental and social impacts, and objectively verifiable disruption. 
  • Contain tourism’s land use by limiting high-occupancy resort tourism to concentrated areas. Discourage resort sprawl from taking over coasts, islands, and mountain areas, so as to retain geographical character, a diverse economy, local access, and critical ecosystems.
  • Diversify source markets to encourage robust domestic tourism, which may be more resilient in the face of crises and raise citizens’ perceived value of their own natural and cultural heritage.

 

This is why the company Regenerative Travel connects travellers with independent hotels rooted in communities and actively advances local efforts for sustainable and regenerative tourism. 

 

What can be done in the tourism industry can be done in any industry. Business leaders must drive engagement for a more inclusive, caring and respectful society, because governments won’t succeed on their own. And to this end, sharing good practices, innovation, ideation and conflicting ideas is the best recipe for success to see what works elsewhere and get inspired.


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