: Magazine : Back
Issues : Spring 2005
: Between Blue and Yellow
Between Blue and Yellow
The Power of Ones
By Phil Storey
One thing became clear
on November 2nd in the U.S., for those of us working toward sustainability:
the cavalrys not coming. At least for the near future, the
federal government is unlikely to provide leadership in the pursuit
of environmental responsibility. So where does that leave us? Well
the drivers seat. All of us, together.
Of course, significant challenges also present powerful opportunities.
Our interview with business guru C.K. Prahalad introduces us to
some innovative business concepts based on this principle. While
large multinational corporations have tended to view poverty in
the developing world as an intractable challenge, Professor Prahalad
identifies huge business opportunities in serving those at the bottom
of the economic pyramid. The power of this market comes not from
per capita spending, but from its sheer numbersfour billion
people worldwide. And Prahalad sees the power of the market flowing
both waysempowering the poor as it generates profits for corporations
and unlocks amazing innovation.
I am convinced that when it comes to sustainable business practices,
there is similar power in the many of us whose efforts are individually
modest. Collectively, we will change the world. A few years ago
I read an article about the swarm intelligence of ants.
Individual ants are dumb, but colonies of ants are remarkably intelligent.
Through feedback from thousands of simple decisions by individual
ants, the colony manages itself with amazing efficiency.
I see the development of sustainability in the corporate world much
the same way. The leadership of visionaries and pioneers is essential
to our progress, providing inspiration and a conceptual framework.
But in the end it is the trial-and-error efforts of thousands of
usand ultimately millions and even billionslearning
from each other, replicating and refining promising strategies,
that will change the world. I see green@work as part of this process.
As we share new ideas and case studies with you, and you share your
successes and lessons learned with us, we will improve and grow
As the new editor, I look forward to being part of this process.
I have followed green@work since its first issue, and always
looked forward to the stimulating and valuable content in each one.
After five years of enjoying the magazine as a reader, Im
excited to join with our new publisher, Guy DeSilva, and most importantly
with you, our readers, to build on the strong reputation of green@work
and make it increasingly valuable to the pursuit of sustainability.
Just as the worlds poor will soon move global markets and
set new business standards, as Prahalad predicts, together we will
create an increasingly healthy and sustainable world of commerce.
Whether or not we get leadership from our governments, we are already
on our way to changing the world.