Robin Chase on Peers Inc

Monday, November 02, 2015

18:00 - 21:00

On the 2nd November we gave our stage to a remarkable person. Someone who cares deeply about the challenges facing society, who has founded and sold many successful businesses, and who offers an inspiring new way of seeing the world. Robin Chase shared her “Peers Inc” philosophy, and explained why a window is emerging to change the way we use resources.   

Robin was named in Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World. She sees enormous excess capacity in our economic system, and believes that internet-based platforms can scale transformative change at exponential speed. It was her reason for co-founding ZipCar, which sold for $500m in 2013, and BuzzCar, which sold in 2015.

This new way of organising economic activity turns scarcity into abundance. It explains why ZipCar cars are used for 50% of the time, whilst most personal cars achieve just 5%. Why Uber is majorly disrupting the taxi market, why Airbnb has more room than the biggest hotel chain in the world, and why TripAdvisor is changing the travel industry.

In his interview with Robin, Axel Threlfall explored what this means for big businesses. With many CEO’s concerned about what will “Uber” their business, what can turn it from threat into opportunity? We covered areas such as;

  • Why linear approaches to climate change never work
  • Why the Peers Inc model has inbuilt exponential power
  • How to look for excess capacity and turn it to mutual advantage
  • How to tackle business model obsolesce by inviting peer-generated innovation
  • When it make sense for Goliath to buy David

Robin’s book, Peers Inc, has received great reviews and we’d recommend reading it. Her article in Wired Magazine summarises her argument. 


Axel Threlfall Reuters

See bio

Robin Chase Zipcar

See bio
Round Tables

“Ubering” sustainability?

Robin Chase argues that linear solutions to societal challenges are doomed to failure, but that a peer-to-peer world offers exponential change. Airbnb and Uber derive strength from combining excess capacity with digital disruption. Who are the winners and losers in this world, and which platforms, coalitions and initiatives offer most promise?

Write UP

Table 1a
The roundtable shared views about their personal experience of using services modelled on the sharing economy. These are some of the reflections:

Better human experiences. When we stay in Airbnb, we get to know the hosts, talk with them, and learn about their interesting culture. When we ride with Uber, we also tend to engage more with the drivers. This human experience, more than a cheaper price, is the main reason why we enjoy the sharing economy. The added benefit is the added value of using excess capacity.

More collaborative. When we stay in a hotel or ride a regular taxi and the service disappoint us, we complain or sue. While in Airbnb & Uber, customers get less clarity about the service level agreement. The bright side? “Instead of thinking to sue them or destroy them, we are willing to give input so they can improve their services. We build this together.”

Greater emphasis on opportunity cost. You used to be happy to let your friends stay in your spare room for free when they were visiting. But after joining Airbnb for several months, you find out that you can earn decent money from that room. Next time your friends ask to stay there, you start to think about the opportunity cost.

It’s us, 50 years ago. The shared economy is similar to traditional communities. We used borrow things from our neighbors; we stayed at a friend’s house; we offered rides to strangers. Now this is done on a smartphone.

The sharing economy comes in many forms, and sometimes its services fail. Streetbank, a website set up for community sharing of domestic items has has morphed into a network to give away unwanted domestic stuff.

The Restart Project – don’t despair, just repair – helps people learn how to repair electronic goods and other domestic items. This reduces waste and helps in the design of less wasteful manufacturing processes.

Table 1b
Key points:
Collectively working together to solve unique problems and sharing resources
Growing businesses are technology based and technology is driving growth. Technology underpins this growth and needs to be simple enough to understand.
We can’t change the fundamentals of working, we need to change how we engage and push the pace of change this way. Adopt new changes and be more open.
Rich retiring age population are those with the most money and time
Sharing light – that’s what collaboration is about
Intellectual sharing has a large role to play in solving problems, e.g. CAGGLE – an online platform that puts issue to a wide range of readers to solve

Resisting change
As change gets faster and people resist change how do we prevent ‘losers’ in these changes?
Habits are stopping us making changes

Role of the government
· If it’s popular, they will vote for it
· Companies are coming up in the face of legislation

Ideas for using excess capacity
· Distributed power – using localised power and sharing in the local community
· Clothes sharing
· Goods and electricals
· Real estate – renting space to bike owners
· Water and food waste
· Linking time, money and health as excess capacities in the older and younger generations e.g. students living with older people with no rent and spending time with them

Can big business respond?

Many sectors, from banks to car companies to hotels are under threat from new peer-to-peer business models that have inbuilt societal benefits. How should incumbents respond? Can they fight back with their trusted brand? Should they tackle their legality? Should they offer products as services? Do acquisitions make sense?

Write UP

- Not only “can” big businesses respond, but “should” they respond and “how should” they respond?
o The collaborative economy of child and baby equipment has not been cracked
o Big businesses could provide access to services and the stuff parents don’t want to own
o But do we want that service from Toys’R’Us? Doubt as to whether we want to engage with these brands; could a start-up be more appealing?
o This could solve a huge problem with space and with the changing needs/wants of different aged children.

- Hire cars and queuing
o When a family disembarks a flight and heads to collect their hire car, the likelihood is that they will have to wait between 40 minutes and 2 hours before they can leave or are even attended to.
o Apart from being irritating, it poses a major difficulty if waiting with young children.
o Would another form of car-sharing solve this problem? What is stopping holidayers having immediate access to vehicles?
o Recent pushes by big businesses to harness the power of social networking has seen some big success stories. Transparency, exposing the brand and being talked about; the honest approach can lead to very positive results.

- When big businesses open up…
o B&Q opening power tool rental – which wasn’t hugely successful – did the B&Q brand image stand in the way of success?
o M&S has used its size and expertise for huge campaigns, “Spark Something Good”
o Instead of owning it exclusively, any other company can now join – M&S recognises that it will amplify their impact.

- Purposeful attacking
o UBS has internally built its own programmes designed to attack their own software as an external might.
o Incumbents shouldn’t fight back, it is short-term, futile and harming society.
o EG – Hotels putting spare rooms on Airbnb
- Big companies focus on incremental innovation and not disruptive innovation
o Transferwise has successfully cut out banks for transferring money abroad and utilising peer-to-peer transferals – saving huge bank fees.
o Big businesses are fearful of the huge risks inherent with disruptive innovation

- Freeing up data
o At Zoopla, all data is available for anyone, at any time, for free.
o As a result, many start ups and apps have been born by using their data.
o The process sparks the opportunity for innovation and Zoopla is free to, and has the funding to, home in on new talent.
o By pushing their data out Zoopla has immediate and easy access to a new generation of innovators.

- The conversation is changing
o Covestro, a crop science company, recently spun of from it’s buyer.
o Going forward they are putting sustainability at the heart of their business model leading to a totally different conversation with investors.
o Their employees are fully behind them, the company works bottom-up as well as top-down.
o They are not only thinking of the company – thinking of a collaboration with their clients.
- Circle of economy
o Timberland – leasing boots, this also locks out competition.
o Patagonia – “don’t buy this jacket” – encouraging people to look after what they already own, to repair/reuse/recycle.
o Toy companies – looking at how to make a toy last. Given toys last a long time physically, how can the life of the product extend? How can the toy evolve with time?
- Humans as energy resources
o Gyms and footballs – people creating electrical energy through exercise

YES big businesses should fight back with their trusted brand -
NO they shouldn’t tackle legality
YES they should offer products as services
YES acquisitions make sense
Trusted brands should pressure the government to free up peer-to-peer business and to do it in the right way, responsibly. The aim should be to most efficiently use up excess resources.
One final thought: “Pricing carbon would solve a lot of problems and will be the biggest lever. It’s immediate and involves everyone…”

Decentralised energy

As the way that organisations interact with the energy grid changes, we explore the end game. To what extent is the notion of being purely a consumer changing? How big an opportunity is demand response for business and society as a whole? What new technologies could make a peer-to-peer, decentralized world possible?

Write UP

Examples of peer to peer sharing of energy
A virtual power plant. Which works through demand side management. Using diesel assets and the back-up assets and sold to the national grid. Automated demand response platform is used leveraged to get hold of people’s excess capacity. So we avoid demand at peak time and we shift it to other times.

Decentralised energy
The whole point of decentralised energy is that it is 1) clean, and 2) local. So both these parts need to be defined. Nuclear isn’t clean. Fracking isn’t clean. Decentralised needs to mean renewable. We need to be thinking of decentralised in this way. Not decentralised diesel etc.
National grid has a dash board which tells us where the energy comes from but some energy is decentralised so it doesn’t come up. Solar generation never gets onto the dial because it is all used up domestically.

Energy Storage
Lithium iron storage batteries are not quite there yet. The price has to come down but they are still too expensive to be viable. $2000 dollars to buy one for your house. Storage will come into play into the next 3 years. So looking at solar vs nuclear you need to consider the price of storage too.
You need to balance the generation – combined team of wind and solar and storage. That’s the only way it’s a renewable solution.

Linking to Peers Inc
Thinking of us as peers. What about energy efficiency in our own homes? How do we take Robin’s model and on mass retrofit homes so that the demand will be lower. Bringing demand down is important before we create the energy, and think about decentralised energy.
It is difficult to use Robins’ examples when we are so reliant on the government support for new technologies. Take solar for example, gov subsidies prop up the industry and have now been removed. 87% cut on solar feed in tariffs. The gov has put only 7 million aside for solar which is relatively tiny.
Decentralised energy is moving fast but isn’t moving fast enough to prevent climate change, so something exponential needs to happen. However, the cost of solar coming down so quickly. Solar use is doubling every 2 years. 1% of the world energy is made from solar at the moment. This is growing exponentially and the price is reducing 20% every year. So it is moving fast.

Big 6 passed renewable prices straight to the consumer which gave them a bad reputation. The polluter should pay

Reducing demand - Smart meters
Example of innovation is Smappee – you plug onto the home fuse board. And it measures the consumption of each device in your house. Then it collaborates your data with people in similar houses so you can compare this open data. It’s a bit of an energy diagnostic. Energy needs to be made simpler for the consumer. It’s a marketing challenge. To make the user experience easier and more appealing.
Honeywell have a smart meter- individual radiator control. Not just room. Like hive, nest. Then we take the peers inc model and we need to get this everywhere. This is part of decentralised energy. We have to reduce demand. Demand could be 30% less if people were more efficient.
Baywind energy co-op - What about the wind farm model where one turbine is town sourced? Well last week they removed tax breaks for community funded wind tax breaks, so again, we are reliant on the government.

A world of excess water

How can we marry up excess water and areas of need? We'll discuss the on-going work on abstraction reform, water licence trading, and multi-sector assets being created to integrate water management between public supply, agriculture and environmental need. Will any of these work? What role will technology play?

Write UP

- Water doesn’t hit the bottom line of companies yet
- Because water is still cheap, individuals also don’t pay attention (ex: friend turn on shower letting hot water run to heat her apartment)
- Water is a regulated industry and there is pressure to keep the pricing low (Anglian)
Usually work on 5 year investment cycle, cant invest in reservoir for the future because budget and prices need to stay the same today
Deregulation will increase competition

- Change is coming to the commercial water industry
Will be able to buy from any water retailer in future, not geography based.
Upstream reform: for example- farming operations
Future supply network
- Water recycling will come into effect
- Water security will be improved

Key Takeaways
- Implementing water efficiency is cost saving
Data/visibility of actual situation can help you act upon it
§ Water data is still largely unavailable
- Big potential for disruptive technology around storage/distribution

CSR is dead. Long live CSR?

The VW scandal raises serious question about the role and skillset of those in sustainability / CSR teams. Lord Browne has argued that CSR is dead, an exercise in putting lipstick on a pig that fails to address real risk & opportunity. Do you think it is right to call time on CSR, and what are the skillsets of a new generation of effective leaders?

Write UP

· CSR is a PR sideshow. It is also poorly defined; publishing lots of CSR reports in and of itself is redundant
· CSR is on life support. CSR departments’ work in companies such as VW work seems to have been rather peripheral because they couldn’t stop basic functions of the company going in the wrong direction; their use is limited. CSR can be doing good work but the system as a whole is vulnerable to the actions of a few limited individuals
· When the most responsible are most successful and the laggards less profitable and we all try to out-response each other then true success will follow. We are a long way from there
· The opposite to CSR is the facility management team flagging up energy consumption. Both teams have all the facts but get ignored on a regular basis

Long live CSR
· There is a future where CSR isn’t required because businesses have purpose inbuilt, but at the moment it is a necessary transition form
· CSR needs to evolve, it is not dead but may not be called CR in the long run, it has to move across all areas of business and embed itself. This is happening but we are currently seeing some teething pain
· CSR serves to empower and engage employees in the firm, using corporate platform to empower people on the issues they face; inspire employees and clients that you are different
· CSR manages to put targets in CR reports and get them past the Board to “force” the company to achieve them. In this way it gets work done
· Integrated CSR in companies such as Lego that are replacing the whole product material with something more sustainable

Lessons learned
· VW scandal: lessons learnt? Stock price fell over an emissions scandal which is an important result in itself. On the converse it hasn’t impacted immediate sales according to the Washington Post, which is interesting because consumers may not be “caring so much”, though it may be too soon to analyse results as some of the sales may have been locked in. The potential long-term damage is potentially business ending due to impending lawsuits in the United States; it is a very significant problem for VW. Also some VW cars drivers are becoming embarrassed to own these cars. Interesting example of how CR can be seen as a non-CR issue anymore. If VW fails it’s a clear business case for action
· Employees as crowdsourced CSR: What is the reaction within CSR when the scandal broke? Hopefully there was a sense of outrage
· VW also made an impact in other business areas, for example Samsung investigated by energy testing charities whether its rigging its energy efficiency TV tests. Many looking for the “next VW”: for example in the area of green buildings and EPC (energy performance certificates) which are poorly developed without rigorous methodology. Tenants could turn around and argue an apparently A rated building is F rated and demand compensation
· Significance of CSR to smaller companies: how easy is it is for them to enter the space, how can they embed sustainability into everything they do? Can start ups change customer mentality? Many successful start-ups embed CR as core business principle. Agenda is spearheaded by the Etsy-s and the Uber-s
· Emerging trend: Net Positive as an interesting way to measure culture and define how we measure success

A circular world

For many, the circular economy provides the ultimate framework for evolving business models that connect with the environment. We’ll identify some of the emerging innovations, from technologies to business models, and ask if the market already has sufficient incentive without new legislation. 

Write UP

- Lack of engagement and decision-making at community level
- Benefits don’t translate to those who need it most
- Lack of trust is a barrier to implementing some solutions (e.g. ‘internet of things’)
- Slow pace of peer to peer transition
- Corporate inertia and resistance to innovate
- Lack of knowledge of potential solutions
- Political inertia and resistance to innovate
- Lack of knowledge of potential solutions
- Students not taught to innovate and think creatively

- Develop solutions that appeal to the masses without eroding lifestyles
- Strike balance between editing out bad habits/ products through regulation and generating consumer demand for more sustainable choices
- Create enabling environments to make behaviour transition easier
- Peers Inc. model gives visionaries given the power to stay visionary
- Communication of solutions/innovations to a much wider platform
- Embrace risk from top down (CEO)
- Governments must develop strong policy and strategy on Circular Economy to give business the confidence to act/ invest
- Communication of solutions/innovations to a much wider platform
- Universities should be given the freedom to teach students to innovate
- Students become agitators

Final thoughts
- Solutions are already there, we need to tailor them to audiences and reduce risk aversion/fear of change
- The next step in innovation is not about the technologies, it’s about creating the right business models to adopt them, and developing innovative cultures and networks
- Education and transparency are important to build momentum, and keep it
- Correct pricing is key – capture the externalities to maximise economic viability of the Circular Economy

A revolution in environmental standards?

Even before the Volkswagen scandal, big questions were being asked of environment-related standards. The sheer number, including DJSI, AA100, GRI and ISO, raises compatibility questions. Some feel they hinder innovation by taking up valuable time. Are they ripe for revolution, and what role should companies play in it?

Write UP

What environment related standards have you implemented / aware of?
Lots! Many examples were provided of environment related standards and rating schemes such as BREEAM, LEED, Energy Performance Certificates and ISO 14001. There are environment-related standards that are specific to particular sectors, for example rating schemes for the real estate sector including building material certificates and in fashion and clothing relating to supply chain management.
There are regional and global schemes where some are mandatory to participate in, due to regulator, industry body or customer requirements and some are voluntary. It is not always clear what constitutes a standard, for example GRI and the UN Global Compact as these tend to provide principles rather than specific requirements.
What are you opinions of these standards? What are the positives / negatives? What experiences have you had?
There was agreement that standards provide benefits:
• They can make you more competitive e.g. in order to win contracts, some suppliers state the organization must have certain standards in place.
• They can drive continual improvement particularly when compared to doing nothing.
• It provides a common language amongst those who are involved with standards. This understanding is often international.
However, standards are not without fault. Arguably one of the biggest issues is that standards are only as good as the certifiers, verifiers or assurers. Examples of incidents where standards have failed due to inadequate assurance programme includes the Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013 which killed more than 1,100 people as a result. Furthermore:
• Some individuals are after certificates i.e. badge collecting
• The integrity of the auditor can always be questioned when the auditee is the customer!
• Standards can be expensive to implement and maintain; and
• Standards can restrict innovation and improvement as bureaucracy takes over and it focuses on obtaining the certificate.

How can they be improved individually / collectively?

Standards and auditing of standards has not kept pace with social media and ‘Peers Inc’. The process is very traditional and could possibly be disrupted by online platforms that allow peers to review and provide assurance of company and product performance.

There was much discussion about how standards can be improved:

• Using online platforms to provide feedback on the environmental or social performance of an organisation .g. something similar to AirBnB or Tripadvisor feedback platform
• Developing mechanisms that allow workers, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders to discreetly raise good and poor practice
• Develop more third party / NGO assurance programmes that are completely impartial. How can these be financed? Can corporates finance into an arms-length fund?
• Can we report performance more regularly as technology continues to develop? For example real-time reporting of energy.
• Engage and educate customers and consumers regarding standards
• More industry wide schemes that provide assurance of contractors / suppliers once and share the results with numerous customers e.g. safecontractor and Achillies
• Can there be a consolidated list of all relevant environment standards.

Ultimately do customers and consumers care about standards? One of the group members gave an example with regards to the News of the World which when publishing its last edition sold in large numbers even thought it had been in phone hacking.

Data: the big opportunity?

Many argue that data is the business opportunity our time, but to what extent is it an untapped opportunity for corporate sustainability? We’ll hear an example of how LED lights are being used to gather air quality data, and explore how sustainability experts can use big data to accelerate their agenda. Is anyone doing this well?

Write UP

The discussion started with examples of data collection, in particular by using “excess capacity”
• LED Lights, which may be termed a network themselves, are now being used to monitor air quality
• CCTV cameras monitor customer reactions: smile or frown
• Outdoor lights monitor traffic to help guide ambulance to routes with the least traffic
• Building management systems- usually you have to buy new systems every time there is an upgrade, however now you can just update them, just like your apple phone, hence using an already purchased asset instead of replacing it
Additional examples in regards to new technologies helping consumers to make smarter decisions and reduce their environmental footprint, included:
• Smart metres – monitor consumption and reduce consumption, resulting in less carbon emissions
• Switching to LED lights helped to reduce the energy consumption and hence carbon footprint by 85%
• Freight transport: monitor fuel consumption
In general, a lot of data helps to identify trends and can, for instance, help to mitigate risks by predicting failure rates and triggering early interception.
It was pointed out that data sharing is important in order to create transparency. More access to data means empowerment. For example, the smart metre shows the consumers its energy consumption in real time and empowers the consumer to make smarter/better decisions.
On a bigger scale, cities are becoming smarter by collection more data and sharing this data to invite peers to identify innovative opportunities for improvements and efficiencies. Bristol is currently Europe’s’ greenest city and is continuing collecting and sharing its data.
However, data sharing comes with its challenges. Companies want to protect their IP and consumers worry about security and privacy. However, a shift can be observed, such as in the pharmaceutical industry.
One attendee shared the difficulties faced when asking departments/facilities internally to collect data on energy consumption, waste generation and other aspects. Other attendees recommended to identify and communicate the benefits of the data collection such as legal compliance, license to operate, competitiveness (reduction of energy consumption helps to reduce costs which mean a cheaper product offering), cost reductions, external reporting (reputation). It is helpful to explain to employees what the data will be used for and present some case studies to get the buy in.

Measuring social impact

Most business decisions are made today with very limited understanding of the social impacts, reflecting a belief that credible measurement is challenging. We’ll test this assumption, and ask whether a growing evidence base is opening the door to better decision-making. Do Uber and Airbnb offer better social footprints?

Write UP

Question 1. What are we already doing to measure social impact?
• Anglican Water: we take some notice of social impact, particularly when things go wrong, but would like to examine a more complete picture.
• Tate & Lyle: at the moment, social impact is focused on ideas, money and success. We need to try and separate the ‘social’ from the ‘social economic’ – often impact is found out later, and almost completely unexpectedly.
• Shell: trying to help the oil industry innovate based on ethical social practice
• Virgin Group: believe that they currently have a positive social impact concerning relations: both internal (e.g. employees) and external (e.g. clients).
• Grant Thornton: currently provide advice to businesses, but still have a lot of work to do (Prince Charles did say that accountants would save the world!)
• Food Agency: allow people to shop on-line and collect their goods locally, thus shortening the supply chain and having both social and environmental impact. This impact is not measured, but communities report feeling closer.
• Global Action Plan: currently trying to enact behavioural change regarding the environment. It is important to have social and economic impact as well, as this is often easier for the public/stakeholders to engage with.
• Accenture: trying to translate social impact into business (e.g. monetary profit). Currently working with the World Economic Forum to monitor changes in impact.
• Ikea: implementing a framework to monitor social impact worldwide, alongside charity donations and driving the ‘actual’ living wage campaign. Currently delving into more specific areas to better understand and increase their knowledge of social impact – what does it mean?
• TH Real Estate: involved with responsible property investment. Social value is a ‘buzzword’ in their industry, replete with a more concentrated focus on health and wellbeing. This requires information that they are not normally used to accessing or sharing, but with new projects, they might be able to capture data concerning social impact (e.g. new jobs created, community response). Would like to know what their social and environmental impact is worldwide.

Question 2. Why should corporates be interested in social impact?
• There is a perception that business only has impact for important people.
• Leadership often wants to know what is effective (usually very complicated!).
• Companies require a strong figure to find the wider social value of their work.

Question 3. Is there a niche to explore social value?
• Most organisations report having ambitions for growth, but there is a lot of unemployment in the current social climate.
• Social impact tends to rely on face values (e.g. taxes, work figures) – we aren’t that objective.
• If there was a social ‘revolution’, who would pay the minimum wage? People used to rely on entire families working, to produce a living wage.
• In ‘revolution’, people often find ways in which they can be valuable (e.g., rise in service level jobs).
• If you work in the public sector, social impact in an essential metric.
• In accountancy, knowledge is power – social impact analysis provides a competitive advantage.
• This allows us to address a need within the sector, which is increasingly measured by ethical output.

Question 4. Can social impact move beyond the public sector?
• Yes: it fits many businesses.
• You can either incorporate social impact because you have to, or naturally want to show impact.
• Currently, most management is driven by profit (and it always will be) – they need to be more willing.
• Unfortunately, at the moment, 95% of social compliance is ticking boxes.
• Some companies are bringing metrics in (e.g. bonuses based on sustainability and footprint) – but this requires rigour, and is a lengthy process.
• Social impact measurement is frequently seen as a cost, long term, and this will matter to an organisation’s bottom line.
• Data helps to show how much this will cost.
• There is often a disconnect between the programme and its actual impact – we need to be careful that we are ‘actually’ measuring and reporting social impact. It should never be used as just a front.
• Unilever uses their products to create social impact: water purification brings communities together, allows them to do positive things with the water, and furthers social impact – a ‘virtuous cycle’.
• We need to take a holistic, not individual view.
• Social impact also relates to staff internally (e.g. pay, spirits, leave etc.).
• It is difficult to measure impact on the ground, as there is no uniform measure.

Question 5. How can we measure social impact?
• It is very data driven, but we tend to use very little evidence to claim impact.
• We have to balance stories vs. numbers (e.g. helping unemployed people who would easily get employment anyway, vs. helping those who have no chance at all).
• Social entrepreneurship is growing due to ‘millennials’ – as is the ethical consumer market.
• With riches, people tend to have more interest in social impact.
• For example, real estate is currently looking into the social value of offices, which is difficult as they have very little community interaction.
• We need a unanimous framework for social impact, which factors in environmental and social impact.
• The real risk lies is monetising social value (e.g. car companies letting dangerous cars stay on the roads, because the lawsuit risk is lower than the recall cost).

Question 6. Do we have our act together with social impact?
• It should not be a corporate matter – shareholder interest brings monetary investment. This requires behavioural change.
• Can we force people to change the way they view social impact (e.g. a dictatorship)?
• New ideas and approaches are slowly evolving, but is this fast enough?

Final observations
• How do we classify social impact?
• We measure what we can measure.
• We need a baseline to ensure that we are detecting the minimum social impact.
• We need more transparency about measurement
• We need to ensure that the government is as honest about social impact as we hope to be.

Natural Capital: an innovation tool?

Companies that start to properly account for their environmental externalities will often find new solutions. These can range from new technologies to revenue streams. What examples do the table find most inspiring and why? Is it time to take natural capital from the risk agenda and into the innovation team?

Write UP

• Example: Daimler Chrysler involved local farmers to source coconut fibres for headrests
• More sustainable, cheaper than outsourcing

• Natural capital as metric system “reductionism”
• Lack of investment and knowledge
• Innovation = risk? → move focus, embrace innovations

Red flags:
• Interrelated issue of usage of natural capital and their consequences
• Urgency of understanding of dependency on natural capital

• Long-term relationships might be more beneficial than short-term
⇒ Can be achieved through natural capital analysis
• Necessity to look at natural capital from positive side, e.g. competitive advantage, new products
• It could be a comparison tool, e.g. externalities from old tech vs. externalities from new tech
• Not just an accounting framework but a MINDSET
• Natural capital costs can give information, generate knowledge sharing
• Could be used as tool for investment allocation → connect right people with each other

Venue Detail

Bank of America Merrill Lynch: King Edward Hall

King Edward Hall | 2 King Edward Street | London | EC1A 1HQ


Bank of America's offices are a very short walk from St Paul's tube station (Central Line). Exit the station at Cheapside/Newgate Street. Go past the BT centre, with it on your right-hand side and take the first available right down Edward Street. Continue down this road for 80m and the entrance to the venue is on your left-hand side.

Do not go to the main reception desk at their offices when you arrive. You are looking for an entrance that leads you directly into the King Edward Hall.
Who's Attending