Why it is finally high time for ‘value added leadership’ as a company goal instead of ‘market leadership’!

A pandemic on the scale of Covid19 or the obvious climate change should have taught us by now that we cannot win in a ‘fight’ of humans against nature. Nevertheless, we still like to use metaphors like ‘defeat the virus’. Moreover, it makes us realize how deeply man has already intervened in the Earth system and torn down all natural barriers through the technologies and infrastructures he has created himself.

If we want to minimize the costly and loss-intensive consequences of these interventions, also for companies – one cannot speak of turning away from them anymore – we have to start to align the economy and the economic activity to nature and with nature. In so many areas, especially technological developments, learning and learning from nature is something that is taken for granted. So why not in the economy as well.

To illustrate this, a few more statements from the press about how the situation is assessed and that time is running out:

In 150 years of modernization, we have exchanged our dependence on the forces of nature for dependence on the forces of technology, which (…) is linked to even further increasing regulation of all life courses (Jürgen Dahl, philosopher) 

I do believe that compared to other countries, a lot is being done here ecologically. But the question is whether it is enough to get the threat of climate catastrophe under control early enough. (Lutz Hoffmann, former DIW President)

 I share the conviction that the efforts the Western world is making are probably not enough to avert the climate catastrophe. (Hans-Olaf Henkel, former BDI President)

 The miracle formula (…) is called ‘sustainable development’. According to ecological economists, the economic digestive system is already absorbing too many raw materials and transforming them into such gigantic mountains of waste that the self-cleaning ability of water, air and soil is overtaxed. (…) The industry, on the other hand, relies on innovation, deregulation and personal responsibility (Fritz Vorholz, publicist)

 Does economic growth really make us richer or not poorer because the ecological costs exceed the benefits of growth? I think we have long since reached this point. (Hermann Daly, economist)

There is no real alternative to the concept of qualitative growth, which places economic growth at the service of environmental protection and resource conservation. (Gerhard Voss, ZEW).

All the above comments are taken from various articles in the weekly magazine DIE ZEIT.

However, every single one from the years 1994 and 1995! These statements by various business leaders, association representatives or journalists are 25 years old and have lost nothing of their topicality. One could smile about that now. Or rather be shocked by how long one has been aware of the situation, how old various keywords and approaches to solutions are – and how little has changed since then. It is definitely worthwhile to read them again in the knowledge of their time of origin.

Just as 25 years ago, the economy is again relying on innovation and personal responsibility to solve the problems. Companies that finally take this seriously and want to become or remain viable for the future cannot avoid developing new business models that differ from the old ones in the crucial points. On the other hand, they must provide their corporate culture with guidelines that aim to generate added value at all levels of society – including the environment – instead of primarily optimizing their own P&L and dividends.

Alignment with nature in the business model means intensive networking, but preferably with a unique selling point. Competition does not mean destroying the opponent or the all-round basis of life, but rather challenging each other where possible and cooperating where necessary. Participation and empowerment of all participants, seeing the natural and economic system as one and coordinating them with each other.

These are the core competencies in the current changing times and the competitive advantage par excellence for every company. Digitalization is only a tool, not the goal. We help you to start and reflect the current business model with exactly the perspective that will help you move forward.

Roland Schulze

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