Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A bit of history

From my perspective, the 1990s were an era when culture began to make a significant shift, so that around the year 2000 significant change was happening.

Over the 1990s, the evidence that global climate change was caused by humans came pouring in, and by the year 2000 environmentalism was mainstream. I began to see more business-environmentalist partnerships, as the economic value of nature began to be calculated and recognized. As the economic impact became measurable, businesses began to address the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profit.

In Global Political Economy, the results of the Structural Adjustment Policies came in, and criticism of the IMF, WTO, and World Bank had an effect. Those organizations began to shift their purpose toward the Millennium Development Goals and programs that might *actually* help the less developed countries, instead of punishing them for crises.

The UN also got on board with the (likely independent) realization that Catherine McAuley was right,"there is nothing more conducive to the good of society than the education of young women," with their Girls Education Initiative.

The global SuperClass seems to be talking about the issues.

Before these changes, in the 1990s, taking the kind of work that I did, felt a bit like "selling out" my values for a just and sustainable world in order to follow my dreams. After these changes, I could begin to feel more comfortable in the corporate world. The financial evidence suggests that environmental and social responsibility are profitable.

Are we there yet? No, most definitely not. Sometimes corporate and government initiatives conflict and contradict each other, saying one thing but resulting in the opposite. There is significant resistance to change, as many of the ideas and research contradict "common sense" and/or disrupt the status quo.

 But I have certainly seen changes. Tomorrow, I'll tie this in to thoughts on leadership and followership.