I have read WEconomy [photo: Henrik Hemrin]

WEconomy. You can find meaning, make a living, and change the world. Authors: Craig Kielburger, Holly Branson and Marc Kielburger. Published 2018. 

In the foreword, by Sheryl Sandberg, she asks two questions: "What kind of world do you want to live in? How will you contribute to the lives of others?" I also note her "the luck of birth determines som much of our lives and that those of us with opportunity also have responsibility".

The book consists of three parts: What; an introduction to WEconomy. Why; why business should work for a better good. The third part is How; a guide to embed purpose in business or as an individual, a guide based on the authors experiences. 

In the introduction to part one of the book states that the society is divided today and have a focus on the individual and "me first". But the authors are hopeful "We're firm believers that the 'building walls' senitiment is a blip fostered by fear and misunderstanding, and that humankind is generally on a march toward a more open, interconnected world.

Further on in the introduction of part one: "This combination of purpose and profit is the bedrock of the WEconomy, and it is achievable for everyone, regardless of your sector or the stage of your career. You don't have to be a business owner to reap benefits in the WEconomy."

The authors acknowledge that customers and employees who seeks purpose and not only the product or job, have a focus on middle class and upward. Those who can afford to choose more expensive products and possibility to choose job. The authors believe many do not only want to buy products, they want to buy products which are good in ethics including environment. And furthermore that people want to work at companies that are doing good. 

One profit and purpose model they sketch is from the WE group (not sure what I should call it), is the combination of a profitable company (which of course also is doing good in its own behaviour), and that the company also has an arm to where some of the profits go. This arm has a more full focus to do good. 

When the authors are looking for purpose and projects, they focus on activity/charity/product etc that make a big change for the purpose, something that make a big change. Looking for ideas and products that can be scaled. They are less interested in good in the small steps, charity that are doing good things but not are leading to the big changes - without saying those traditional charities are bad. 

Business can be an essential contributor to do the big shifts towards a better world, good to scale. "Social issues of great magnitude can only be solved when government, nonprofits, and the private sector work together." (p 25). And, the business can still be profitable, or rather profitable because they are doing good. 

To have a social purpose can be the reason why choose this company to buy from for the customer, whether the customer is another company or an individual who needs a new Teeshirt. On the other hand, as example, I reflect that (in Sweden) it has become very popular to buy products directly from China, to so low price without considering ethics. So I cannot see it is only one direction that everyone buys with ethics/social purpose in mind, not even for middle class.

So many charity organizations exist in the world. "good intentions do not always result in good work", they write. So instead of starting a new charity, if there is any charity that fiths the purpose, try instead to support or cooperate with existing ones (as company or individual).

Another note I have taken, is that WEconomy talks about KPI or other efficiency measurements of the charity/non-profit, which is not always done in traditional nonprofit. Also for charity/nonprofit, they believe it is important to know how much good the efforts do.

When I wrote my thesis "Global Compact as Protector of Human Rights in Business. An Analyse of Ethical Codes with Ericsson as Case Study." several years ago, I read many interesting books in this area. If I had been writing my thesis now, I would have included this WEconomy book in my work. 

I like the phrase "Seven Generations Plan" (p 307), meaning a long-term focus plan for the investments; how do I want the world to be in 100 years from now. When I read this, I come to think of one of the books in my thesis, "Transparency! Det osynliga företaget" by Lars-Olle Larsson. Larsson means that corporate management should maximize profit now – but he wants to change the understanding of now to at least one generation or maybe two, 25 or 50 years, – a prolonged now. And he also means that shareholders should keep their shares for a similar period.

One more quote: Page 114: 
"Want to reinvent your job with purpose? 
Build these traits 
A learning mindset: Learn as much as possible as quickly as possible, and see everthing you do as an opportunity to learn. Remove the stigma from mistakes and errors; they are learning of opportunities. 
Trust yourself: ..."

Oh' well, above are just about a few of the undelines I have in my copy of WEconomy. It doesn't give a full picture of the content at all. But maybe you find some of my notes interesting. And maybe you will read the book yourself!

Henrik Hemrin

#WEconomy #business #businessethics #CSR #CraigKielburger #HollyBranson #MarcKielburger