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‘Sustainable Development’ – the Mandate for the Future

Capitalism is better than critics try to make it. Capitalism has the ability to change, keeping long-term profits in mind, but declaring money (making money) and purpose (keeping purpose high on the agenda) as twins.

Additionally, investors are forcing companies to think in sustainability. If company managements do not follow, investors will boycott the shares of those organizations.

Given the quarterly focus on record earnings being expected by investors, the question whether this is sufficient ‘reason-to-be’ is only fair. Companies additionally have to realize that the Home-Office-Work-Life-Balance-Generation of the Millennials is exactly raising the issue of ‘purpose’ of a company.

Because of the fact that the issue of ‘maximizing profits’ versus ‘fair profit and focus on purpose’ is raised regularly now, more and more companies are taking ‘sustainable development’ more seriously. One large multinational company is talking about ‘inclusive capitalism’.

In this context, I like to encourage everybody to also think about a range of issues, such as:

  • Big Data – you are being watched whether you like it or not

  • Communities – humans have bodies, in other words we need tech-touch coupled with human-touch

  • Education – change is the only constant; life-long learning is a must

  • Equality – those who own the data own the future, which requires us to watch Google, Facebook, Twitter and many others with great concern

  • Justice – our sense of justice might be out of date…

  • Solutions – remember: if you don’t want to be part of the solution, you are part of the problem

  • Truth – some fake news last for ever, and social media is making it more dangerous

  • Work – looking at the rapid development of Artificial Intelligence, will you still have a job when you grow up?

While we try to get the message across that ‘sustainable development’ should be the battle cry of the future, we need to see the future as bringing yet-unforeseen opportunities rather than as unanticipated threats. We need to understand that consumers no longer just buy products but buy experiences. Supply chains of the future will have to address the real-time needs of customers, as captured, and interpreted by the data analytics capabilities.

I have a big question: if we could protect human rights, grant everybody the right to vote, establish free markets and let individuals, ideas and goods move throughout the world as easily as possible, there will be peace and prosperity for all? My heart says YES; my mind – unfortunately – has a different opinion.

The consequence: we have to understand that our businesses, communities and our planet deserve a sustainable future, and our hearts and brains have to create an environment that supports equity, sustainability, and expands economic opportunities that will lead to prosperity and peace.

I would appreciate your feedback; contact me at

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