Michael Lenox, Vicky, Kathy Potty Hayes discussed on Taking Care in Business
This is taking care in business. A podcast dives into the topic of corporate social responsibility from many different perspectives host. Kathy Potty Hayes is an expert in CSSR and philanthropic giving and her co host Vikki. Bolson is the founder and CEO of Bulletin Group A unified marketing company. That was also the first B. Corp Certified Company in Indiana Cathy. Vicky became friends and equally passionate about CSSR when they first worked together several years ago. Join them as they talk about why it is always worthwhile to take care in business. Hey Vicky Hey Kathy how's it going? I am great. We have a special guest here today. I know I only have fewer days left with her. So I'm excited I everyone. I'm Grace Vicki's oldest daughter. Yes so she just graduated early from Oberlin. Crazy at went by so fast at least for me why it was early but it still seemed like it went by really quickly. So what are you going to be doing now? Grace so for the spring I'm going to be wolfing Worst stands for worldwide opportunities on organic farms and different countries. Join and you get a membership. So I'm actually going to Hawaii I'll be starting at like a hostel for scientists and then going to an actual farm and then a community that's trying to be one hundred percent peaceful so I'm really excited and roof is the organization that I you know. I told you she had done Puerto Rico and and so we've reached out to move and if anyone who knows wolf is listening we want you on our podcast. Yes we do. Yeah so anyway. She's she's leaving next week and as She's a fan of the podcast. I tell her all the time yes I love it. I actually helped research on before Kathy and Vicky decided to do a podcast. They were maybe going to write a book and I was like podcasts. Are Really taking off so I'm glad this is what you guys are doing. It's awesome I think she cast okay. Well she's one of those millennials that really cares about our earth and so I'm going to ask you a Walker as I introduce our guests. I'm nasty okay Do you think business can save the Earth? I do? Okay good I I agree and so And I just wrote Chitchat and then I said I think we'd agree that a lot of today's environmental and social issues are driven by irresponsible. Business practices and on this podcast. We highlight people and companies that have chosen to use. The power of business is a force for good so I love the of the Book Can Business Save the Earth? I mean wow. This might seem like a rather haughty topic but with decades of research behind it and as faculty member of the Business School at the University of Virginia. Michael Lenox Dell's into this topic from a practical standpoint. For instance in one of his chapters. He writes business cannot save the Earth without consumers choosing sustainable goods and services from available alternatives. Right I love this. I mean to me that means businesses and consumers need to be intentional in their purpose practices. How do we transition to a sustainable future? This is a big topic. But I'm excited to have Michael here today to dive into it and take a bit talk a bit more about what we can glean from his book and at the end of this episode will even tell you how you can win a copy of it. So stay tuned to the end Hi Michael How are you today? I'm doing well. Thank you for having me your welcome. We're glad to have you here. Yeah delighted so how did get the inspiration to write this book so This is work that I've been doing going back really to even the early nineteen nineties but long been interested in environmental issues I studied as an economist and got very interested. at that interface between business and sustainability. And so this was really a labor of love that kind of grew out of work. I'm doing for the past twenty five years you so you are a professor at Uva What talk about The class that you that you teach and the Just your impression of the overall Generation of students that you're teaching right now yes so. I teach primarily are NBA Teach Business Strategy and I would say that you definitely have seen a greater awareness About environmental issues and sustainability I think this is a generation. That definitely cares deeply about these issues. I think also pragmatic they. They WanNa talk about solution How how do we address things like climate change? These are obviously critical issues that we all are facing but they are facing as well and so I think they want to understand you. Know How do you leverage is in this organization to help Help solve some of the challenges. We face well. I know that's an area that my daughter is really concerned about whenever we have conversations at home about politics or the earth we just get so fired up Ryan Grace. Yeah I think it's just Crazy that we haven't been talking about this as much In the past like that. It's just now really becoming the forefront of the conversation to me by. I'm happy that I'm at that age where I can be part of the solution I'm curious do your students have a sense of hope or are they kind of experiencing Eko anxiety. I think you know as as more and more data comes in and more and more stories come in especially around climate change. I think it's hard for all of us to remain optimistic. I'm very optimistic by nature and and I do think there are no possibilities here for addressing the issues we face. It's incredibly daunting. If you think about something like climate change we basically need to decarbonised the global economy by roughly twenty fifty or so and that is a very tall order. That's you know. Potentially one hundred percent electric vehicles one hundred percent renewable energy or the Euro carbon-emitting Electrical generation and you kind of go down the list so it is incredibly daunting but at the same time You know I think there are solutions here and on the horizon. I think there's greater political will though it's still not where it needs to be an clearly just kind of general kind of societal sentiment is kind of turning more and more attention to these issues couldn't be going to be any sooner. I think that businesses are great communities To make people feel like they're not alone in the issues that were trying to solve that as we argue in the book you know a lot of them are hate him. Business markets are going to be part of the solution the way acknowledges find their way into the into our homes and into the marketplace and they're going to have to be part of the solution so Michael. What kind of strategies do you think business could employ in terms of trying to out how they can plug into? You know saving the Earth you know if you think about kind of evolution and in business and environmental issues over the last twenty thirty years. I think there was an earlier time period where it was really just about combined. It was all about what regulations were said and how they would respond to them. Very legalistic interpretation. I think as time went on there was a recognition that there were some opportunities here both in terms of consumers who demand green products in terms of creating efficiency and your operations by addressing way streams. And the like that you create. I think the the current World Generation. We're moving into is one has to recognize that there are opportunities in terms of new products and services. And I do a lot on kind of disruptive technology like that there are wholesale ways to rethink. How you deliver value that can be more sustainable And again I take a lot of focus on technology but again you can think of electric vehicles rise renewable energy Or just in general you know kind of burgeoning set of green technology. You said something to me that I wrote down that really resonated with me and it was your strategist challenge. Remember that part of our conversation. Can you just explain that to our listeners? I think it's really. It's a great starting point. Yeah this is something we teach in our first year. Nba Strategy Classes. This Perhaps simple idea that valuable competitive positions valuable competitive strategies firms emerge out of the intersection of The values of the Organization. The opportunities market is creating and then the capability of your station. I think sometimes there's a tendency to maybe downplay the values But it's absolutely critical. There's a lot of discretion in business. There's a lot of discretion even publicly traded firms to choose where you put your attention. What market you plan and ultimately what values you bring to the marketplace and I think sometimes we We don't talk about that enough And emphasize that enough for business that they have discretion in choice here about who they are and I think that people my age really care about the values of the place that they want to work Do you think that something that you've seen change and your students that they're carrying more about the businesses values Absolutely I think you know. There's such a war for talent. These days to in beating technology companies and others They understand that that you know people are looking more than just the paycheck. They're looking for the quality of life company that worked for the purpose of that company. All of those. I think have lead companies to understand that you know. These aren't just nice to have. These are critical to their functioning able to express that values and how they're trying to live by them. What did he say when Because sometimes I get this like if I pop out. My you know reusable. Strada restaurant or you know I pick up some litter in the parking lot of the grocery store and I get looks from people who feel like we're not going to save the world with your little action. What do you? What do you say to someone that Reacts THAT WAY TO SOMEBODY. Who's trying to do something to help? Yeah you know one of the big kind of perspectives. We have in our book. Is this idea that you have to view it as a system And business markets operating a larger kind of social political system and so at the end of the day when you have a large complex system It's very hard to design the system or to kind of force it you know with. Just one kind of lever to make things happen and so one of things we talk a lot about is that you have to really be thinking of all the available levers available and so that means you know the only way you move the system forward is actually through a whole bunch of smaller changes There there is no silver bullet. We talked quite a bit about the book. It's going to solve these issues. It's GonNa have to take the concerted effort of millions and millions of different actors. Pushing little levers available so then to move the system towards sustainable future So probably true. You're not GonNa Save the Earth by you know. Just switching your straws. You eventually but again. No one has the one lever. That's going to change the whole system so so we all have a responsibility and a role to play and in terms of Creating attractive products to sort of this changing market. How do you feel like businesses responding to that? I think I think there's a couple of ways to think about it. I think we've long had smaller Market Opportunities for Green Products Green conscious.