Building a Regenerative Business
Another article about business and climate. Meh.
Stick with me.
Ok, let’s get the doomism out the way shall we?
The world is facing some ‘shit ya pants’ challenges on multiple fronts, from climate change and environmental degradation to social inequality and economic instability. These global issues require urgent attention and innovative solutions. Pronto.
(A little sparkle of light comes into shot)
What’s that? It’s called a glimmer of hope. One promising approach that holds the potential to solve these complex problems is the concept of a regenerative economy. Commonly referenced in Kate Raworth’s theory and practice of Doughnut Economics. This potential life-saving answer shifts our mindset and business practices towards regeneration and the restoration of damaged social and ecological systems.
The concept illustrates how shifting a business model that invests in sustainable and thriving communities while safeguarding the planet makes financial business sense.
Hallelujah, praise be!
Hang on. There’s a catch. This however will only work for businesses that can feed its operations into this new economic system. Businesses need a new set of objectives. Ones that will unfold their current operations and transform them to a new state. They must be regenerative by design from the inside out. Regenerative in every aspect of the business and steered by everyone within the organisation. Doable?
If you’re still reading and then i’m guessing like me you’re on a journey. A journey to be better. A journey to try to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Sometimes the most difficult decision is where to start or even if we are travelling on the right path. Transformation takes time, is messy and complex but thankfully it’s episodic and the journey can be mapped and tracked. Here’s our recommendations where to start.
Acknowledge the problem
‘What’s in it for us?’, ‘that’s not our fault, ‘what’s that got to do with our product?’ are phases often heard in boardrooms when discussing the idea of going from a degenerative business model to a regenerative one.
The first step towards building a regenerative business is acknowledging that we are facing a serious problem and it’s ALL of our responsibility to change the cultural beast. It’s time to challenge old ways of GDP thinking, adopt a new regenerative mindset and start asking better questions. By recognising the interconnected nature of social and environmental issues and the role businesses play in exacerbating or mitigating these problems we can start the journey to regeneration.
Let’s hold a better conversation about the future of our organisation and the life support systems that allow it to operate. How do we transition to the age of the regenerative business? Acceptance of responsibility is crucial to initiate meaningful change whilst maintaining a healthy bottom line.
Starting point? Put the kettle on. Before embarking on any mission a cup of tea starts the conversation. This is where collaborative foundation grows its roots. Discovery, scrums, swarms, blue sky thinking- whatever rocks your boat. Just start chatting and digging.
“Self-education will make you a fortune”Jim Rohn
To effectively transition towards a regenerative business model, it is essential to educate yourself and your team about the underlying causes and consequences of the challenges we face. Engage in continuous learning and stay informed about the latest research, best practices, and innovative solutions related to sustainability, social responsibility, and regenerative practices. It’s your responsibility to be in touch with what’s going on. Be a sponge to all the information that is at hand.
Once plugged in, start actively encouraging teams to seek out resources such as books, articles, documentaries, and online courses that provide insights into regenerative business models, sustainable development, and systems thinking.
Attend conferences, workshops, and webinars to connect with experts in the field and engage in knowledge-sharing with like-minded individuals. Share this knowledge regularly through monthly in-house workshops, presentations and show and tells.
Here are some pointers in the right direction:
Education / Courses
- Carbon literacy training
- Regenerative Economics: From Sustainable to Flourishing Business – University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)
- Schumacher College- regenerative economics
- The Climate book
- How to avoid a climate disaster
- From what is to what if
- The regenerative Business
- Working to restore
Being regenerative starts at brand level so it’s worth putting your brand hat on.
- Ellen MacArthur- Circular Economy Podcast
- The Climate Question
- How to Save a Planet
- For What It’s Earth
- Regenerative Business Podcast
Tell me what you want… what you really, really want
Set your purpose.
Define a clear one that aligns with guiding principles and foundational values. Articulate a vision for your organisation that transcends profit and encompasses positive impact on people, planet, and prosperity. This purpose should guide your decision-making and inspire all stakeholders involved. It’s time to reset your compass to a new star.
Explore the possibilities
We don’t have a crystal ball and visioning sometimes can seem abstract or unobtainable. Engage and explore the potential opportunities and challenges that a regenerative business model entails. Study successful case studies and learn from leading organisations that have already implemented regenerative practices. This exploration will help inform your strategic decision-making process. Dream big, get excited and manifest.
Make the pledge for change
Once the problem is acknowledged and you have a baseline of education, it’s essential to make a public commitment to transition towards a regenerative business model. Stick your Regen flag firmly in the ground and puff out your chest with pride. Your pledge should encompass a comprehensive understanding of the challenges we face and a genuine dedication to finding innovative solutions. No greenwashing please.
Build a change team
Get the culture right. Not everyone will buy into this. The ones that do count.
Core objective. Get everyone on the bus.
Gather the best minds within the organisation. Building a regenerative business requires collaboration and collective action. Assemble a diverse team including individuals from different departments, backgrounds and disciplines. Encourage a culture of innovation, inclusivity, and open dialogue to harness the collective intelligence and creativity of your change team.
Plan but don’t have a plan
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
Transformation is painful. Especially if you don’t navigate off course when you need to.
Fluidity. Roll with the punches and change tactics in those championship rounds if you need to.
Design detailed stages and actions to transition towards regenerative practices. Identify specific goals and targets, and establish a timeline for implementation. Ensure that your plan is realistic but adaptable. Include mechanisms for tracking progress.
The regen journey begins…
What a load of pants!
‘Nobody is perfect. But we can all make a difference.’Organic Basics
We’re all about buying preloved, but most of us draw the line at pre-skidded pants. So how can we be sustainable with our undie shopping? Copenhagen’s global brand Organic Basics is a good place to start.
They invest in sustainable and regenerative methods and practices, focusing on high quality, durable underwear with a minimal environmental impact. Organic cotton, recycled nylon, and TENCEL™ lyocell are all sourced ethically and produced using planet-friendly processes.
They promote circularity and reduce waste by using recycled (and recyclable) materials. Their subscription service SilverTech means customers can send back their used underwear (preferably washed) for recycling. A closed-loop system that sticks its middle finger up at landfills.
What else? Organic Basics is committed to transparency and fair production practices. They partner with factories that prioritise workers’ rights, fair wages, and safe working conditions. They’re also part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, an industry-wide initiative focused on improving sustainability practices in the fashion industry. Oh and they Good work, guys.
He restoreth my soul
Strap yourself in, hold on tight and get ready for a bumpy ride. Building a regenerative business requires collaboration, community engagement, and transformative thinking. Most of all it takes courage and a whole lot of grit. By acknowledging the challenges we face, making a commitment to change, and working damn hard to make it happen, businesses can contribute to a cleaner and greener future. Investing in people, science, tech, partnerships, and policy
Pave the way for a new regenerative category.
Collective efforts and a shared vision for a better world. Generation to generation.
New ideas for the move to regenerative business?
Get in touch and book you and your team onto a one-day regenerative strategy discovery workshop. At yours, at ours, in a hotel or out in the woods (we prefer this one). Let’s get creative.