An enterprise is defined as, “a project or undertaking, typically one that is difficult or requires effort,” and, “initiative and resourcefulness.”24 The current business world is saturated with examples of degenerative enterprises (fossil-fuel extraction and power-generation, automobile manufacturing, mining, military and defense, etc.), to the extent that it is nearly impossible to function in the so-called ‘developed’ countries without their goods and services. Even as we are writing this book, we are depending on an array of degenerative enterprises!
In the last two decades, a small but growing number of businesses have sought to define themselves as ‘social enterprises’ by including positive social objectives into their mission statements and operating procedures. Much of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) movement has focused on this goal of generating social capital within and through the activities of their companies, while still maintaining an un-erring commitment to financial capital profits.
Some companies and organizations have attempted to go a step further, articulating a goal of ‘triple bottom line’ (TBL) profits: economic, environmental, and social.25 This is an excellent direction to take, and notable exemplars have emerged at different scales: Stonyfield Farms, Seventh Generation, Aarstiderne, Growing Power, and others. However, because the current system requires enterprises to create a financial capital profit or fail, most businesses that start out in this direction are forced to reduce their triple bottom line to a single bottom line.
Furthermore, even the best TBL companies lack the whole-systems viewpoint provided by the eight forms of capital. Without this lens, they (and the vast majority of all other enterprises) have so far missed several key praxis points that will support the healing and re-growth of our damaged global systems.
Regenerative Enterprise: Optimizing for Multi-Capital Abundance by Ethan C. Roland & Gregory Landua
24 “Enterprise.” Oxford American Dictionary Online. Web. Accessed 5 March 2013.
25 Savitz, Andrew M. The Triple Bottom Line: How Today’s Best-Run Companies Are Achieving Economic, Social and Environmental Success — and How You Can Too. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons. 2006
©2013 Ethan C. Roland & Gregory Landua. All Rights Reserved.