Here's the ninth part of a ten-step guide to starting a social enterprise or a conscious business, or turning your company into one. Tips or experiences to share? Let us know in the comments.

The global conglomeration of superstar business people known as the B Team is so named because 'business as usual' needs a plan B if we are going to have a better world and a different set of circumstances.

As the former CEO for The B Team, Kiwi Derek Handley spent a year drawing together global business leaders who "see the world the same way and try to understand what needs to change".

What emerged is a manifesto of 12 key change areas known as 'The Agenda'. It ranges from education - what business teach as the 'purpose of business'; 'true returns' - the way success is measured; unequal wealth distribution and fair rewards; sustaining nature; and a 'level playing field' - which calls for a ban on corporate subsidies, particularly for industries which degrade the planet.

Handley is now an 'entrepreneur-in-residence' with the B Team. His project is to collate "the world's biggest case study database of all the different innovative models of the future of capitalism".


When complete, Handley plans to make this research freely available.

"When you first talk to business people about this type of stuff they think it's CSR, or philanthropy, or charity, but the more you give them examples they understand the mindset shift. With a whole range of examples the more they understand that it is embedded in every element of the organisation.

"It's a big shift from the person in the corner office with the title of CSR officer sponsoring the symphony and the cleanup in the park.

"I think you can convince business people because they look to their peers. And they get worried that they might be on the beginning of the wrong end of history.

"When I was a kid [in Hong Kong], all my dad's friends who had tons of money and all had big boats, ran tobacco companies. That was a sexy job. And then, all of a sudden, it became the most unsexy job in the world, so business people quickly had to decide whether they wanted to be in that or not. Sometimes that peer pressure can turn people.

"For politicians it's much more difficult. If the current National government were to even move in this space it's a space they don't want to be which is the green space and it becomes difficult...

"You have a party infrastructure called green - it's a global phenomenon - if they changed the name of that party it might help, but it doesn't help because everything that's to do with the environment is attached to that name.

"It makes it harder to see it in the light of a non-political idea."


But Handley says that government must play a role.

"It's important to have the support of government to help kick start some of these things where the gap is too big. If you look at the run-off into the rivers in the country and the farmers - where do you start? Should Fonterra take all that on? Or should the government at least help kick-start it, or match?"

He's scathing of the current government's performance in this area. "I don't think the government gives a shit about that stuff. I don't think they really care. I don't think they get it. You either get it or you don't."

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