This week’s Hello Etsy talk comes from Stuart Wallis, Director of the New Economics Foundation. He builds upon the messages of Rasnath Dasa and Robin Chase by extrapolating the principles of living our values — both at work and through our purchases — to affect change in the way business is done.
In Wallis’s talk, he comments upon the interlinked problems of our global economic system: namely, that it is unsustainable, unfair, and unstable. This should come as no surprise to many of us; we are using too many natural resources, our current system benefits a select few and punishes the majority, and we needn’t look further than the nightly news to see evidence of the instability of economies worldwide.
Luckily, Wallis doesn’t leave us at the door of despair. He suggests that we have the ability to change this system by no longer allowing financial gain to be the sole driver for business.
To accomplish this, we must first adopt new measures of success. GDP, he suggests, measures only speed, not whether or not we are moving in the right direction. If we use GDP as our core means of measuring economic progress, we will never drive companies to account for their ecological impact or the wellbeing of their employees.
Wallis suggest that, rather than segregating corporate commitment to people and planet to an isolated arm of Corporate Social Responsibility, these concepts should be integrated into the core of every business. Corporations should recognize that true success isn’t exclusively financial — it is intertwined with the well-being of employees and responsible stewardship for our environment.
Wallis emphasizes that this transformation will not happen passively. We can all participate by taking our values into the workplace and encouraging our employers to move towards progressive practices, or letting benevolence guide our own businesses. We can also make values led-purchasing decisions, communicating to companies that good business is good for business.
Remodeling our economic system is a journey, but, as Wallis suggests, it is essential, urgent, and a movement to which we can all contribute.