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Mapping Maturation Pathways & Building Bridges to an Integral Economy

Image Credit: Tyler Lastovich

Part Ten in a 10-Part Series by Reporting 3.0. See previous parts below.

“If you don't know where you're going, you might not get there,” U.S. baseball icon (and meister of understated irony) Yogi Berra famously stated. This quip accurately describes CSR / ESG incrementalism, which heads in a direction without a clear destination. By contrast, context-based multicapitalism (as advocated by Reporting 3.0) provides not only a clear destination, but also a timeline for tracking the rate of progress needed – across multiple, interrelated dimensions.

Bill Baue and Ralph Thurm
will discuss
Blueprinting the Future
of Reporting, Accounting
and Data Management

at New Metrics '17.

But even with strong navigational tools such as this, sometimes the journey seems like one of those movies where the camera pans back to reveal a painted background scrolling by behind a character running in place on a conveyer belt. Similarly, we see the pursuit of sustainability solely at the micro (company) level as a Sisyphean task (slightly different metaphor, same message), seeing as our current economic operating system explicitly excludes broader social & ecological systems from the equation (can you say “externalities”?) To exit this perpetual Groundhog Day loop, we need to transform the economic system design from monocapitalism into regenerative & distributive multicapitalism, as a means of reintegrating Commons-based capital resources into the economic equation.

Walls, Chasms & Bridges 

This is one of the early lessons emerging from the Reporting 3.0 Beta Testing Program, in a pilot project mapping material sustainability issues of a leading global consumer goods company onto the R3 Strategy Continuum. The company’s sustainability goals – broadly considered amongst the world’s most ambitious – continually “hit a wall,” aiming for sustainability but not regeneration or ‘thriving’ on the horizontal axis, and similarly falling short of triggering a new, multicapitalist economy on the vertical axis. And while “a wall” is the go-to metaphor for an obstacle, we believe it’s more apt to consider this obstruction as a chasm, which is invisible from a distance and only becomes visible upon closer approach.

Click to enlarge.
Figure 1: Reporting 3.0 Strategy Continuum

Indeed, it requires a mindset shift to even perceive this gulf, as most efforts in our field neglect to acknowledge the economic system entrenchment that rebuffs micro-level sustainability efforts from taking hold at the macro level (like Sisyphus watching his rock roll back downhill). The explicit goal of the Beta Testing Program is to pilot R3 Blueprint Recommendations, but the metaphorical goal is to build bridges across this gorge (and spur the mindset shifts needed to even see it). On the near side, foundational pylons are being erected by incrementalist and micro-level sustainability efforts. What’s needed now is the courage to catapult across the crevasse to construct the pylon towers on the far side – and the bridge between – in order to span the gap.

Maturation Pathways

The lower right quadrant of the R3 Strategy Continuum represents the destination of thriving organizations in an economic system whose markets incentivize prosperity by nurturing human wellbeing & fulfillment and resilient, well-balanced ecological cycles. So, one of the first R3 Beta Testing Program pilots plots Maturation Pathways from current performance (typically in the upper left quadrant of incremental improvement) through the mid-line of sustainability (contextually defined) and across the transformation chasm into the lower right quadrant of regenerative thriving in a new, multicapitalist economy – or what we in Reporting 3.0 call an Integral Economy for its holism.

Click to enlarge.
Figure 2: Reporting 3.0 Maturation Pathways

The process of mapping these Maturation Pathways clearly identifies the limitations of individual action – crossing the chasm requires collective effort in order to create “new, level playing fields” to reform the current doctrine of competitive advantage that cripples solo sustainability efforts. And the next step of enacting the Maturation Pathway calls for piloting the R3 Integral Materiality Process, a customized Deming (Plan-Do-Check-Act) Cycle that triggers breakthrough innovation to transition to <2°C business models that generate true future value in new markets of transformed industrial, economic and societal ecosystems.

Click to enlarge.
Figure 3: Reporting 3.0 Integral Materiality Process

In order to support these Beta Testing pilots, Reporting 3.0 has launched a series of other Programs, including the following:

  • Advocation Partners Program, for advisory organizations contributing legwork on pilots – current partners include BSD Consulting (global), Center for Sustainable Organizations (US), Simply Sustainable (UK), Sustainability Advisory (UAE), and Tellus Institute (global);
  • Academic Alliance, for educational institutions providing research to test R3 hypotheses;
  • Governments & Multilaterals Program, for providing the public-sector support needed to spur the needed economic system design change; and
  • Investor Program for allocating capital toward these market transformations.

In addition, the Reporting 3.0 work ecosystem is advancing two more Blueprints (following in the footsteps of the Reporting Blueprint and Data Blueprint reports released at the 4th International R3 Conference at KPMG Amsterdam in May):

  • Accounting Blueprint, led by Cornis van der Lugt, with Working Group participation by ABN AMRO, ACCA, Aegon, Kansai University, KPMG, SASB, The Crown Estate, UNCTAD, UNEPFI, and the World Bank (among others), which is preparing to release Exposure Draft 2.0
  • New Business Models Blueprint, led by Bill Baue and Ralph Thurm, with Working Group participation by B Lab, Fairphone, Flourishing Enterprise Innovation, Organizational Capital Partners, Preventable Surprises, Sustainability Advantage, TU Delft, University of Hamburg, University of Vermont, Volans and Waka Waka (among others), which is preparing Exposure Draft 1.0.

Ultimately, R3 believes in a highly collaborative, pre-competitive approach for spurring the kind of scalability necessary to resolve the unintended consequences of flawed economic system design, and to spur the emergence of a regenerative, distributive, multicapitalist economy.

Table of Contents: Reporting 3.0 10-Part Series on the Reporting Blueprint & Data Blueprint

As an internationally recognized expert on sustainability context, online stakeholder engagement, and sustainability communications, Bill Baue designs systemic transformation. He's co-founder of a number of companies and initiatives:

  • Sustainability Context Group, a global community of thought leaders… [Read more about Bill Baue]

    Ralph Thurm is a leading professional in sustainability strategies, operational sustainability, sustainability reporting, sustainable innovation and behavioral change for sustainability. With more than 25 years experience working for major corporates, industry federations, governments and NGOs all over the world, Ralph…
    [Read more about Ralph Thurm]

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