In David Korten’s 1995 classic book, When Corporations Rule the World, he talks about the three-legged stool of people, government, and business and how an ideal society is the one that achieves a working balance between the interests of these three entities (parallels to the triple bottom line should be clear). To allow any one of the three to achieve dominance is to tilt towards anarchy, socialism, or some kind of feudal hyper-capitalism that subverts the needs of the many to the whims of the privileged and well-connected few.
I don’t think I need to point out which of these states of imbalance we are closest to today, though there are forces at work, pulling on each of these legs, vying to readjust the balance, or, as it were, to tilt it even further.
I found a relatively minor news item last week encouraging as an example of how things actually could work in just such a balanced society. It involved a major multinational corporation, a state government and a number of citizens groups and individuals in an incident in which an agreement was reached that resolved a conflict between the interests of the corporation and that of a group of people, who, as it happens were concerned about protecting the environment and the health of their children. It was an agreement that I believe was ultimately a win-win.
The story actually goes back to 1986, when the state of California passed Proposition 65, which came into law as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act. The law requires businesses to notify the State of California if their products contain any of a number of toxic substances contained on a list specified in the law. The substances might include additives or ingredients in pesticides, common household products, food, drugs, dyes, or solvents used in manufacturing or construction, or emitted as byproducts.
Read more at Triple Pundit.
Images and credits: Dupont and blog.newsok.com