Reports, Articles & Guest Blogs

Sometimes through my consulting collaborations, sometimes with my own pen and voice, my thinking appears in different publications. Some pieces are business-oriented, exploring the shift to a regenerative economy, corporate transparency and reporting, or other sustainability topics. 

Other pieces are more wide-ranging, going deeper on the theme of trees and people as part of my book research, or touching on relevant topics where my point of view and experience can add to the dialogue. On this page is my latest publication, as well as additional samples of my work. I welcome your feedback.

Update: Co-Authored Blog  
Overdue: The next Copernican mindset shift

How glorious to be part of one of the great growth industries of this century, the sustainability solutions sector. 


Even before the $12 trillion-a-year market forecasts for 2030 produced earlier in the year by the Business & Sustainable Development Commission, it was already clear that the current era is likely to prove to be, as a colleague put it recently, one last lash of the dragon’s tail. But as the fossil-fueled dragon tries to ward off the mass stranding of its treasured assets, it is also increasingly clear that sustainability itself is ripe for disruption.

Read more …

March 2017
 Article   
Rearranging Solar Systems

I can only imagine how people first reacted to Copernicus when he claimed the Earth revolves around the sun. Heliocentric? Pff! What’s with this guy?
 

It turns out that assimilating new evidence and realigning one’s fundamental beliefs is difficult for most people. Yet it’s becoming apparent to me that our ability to shift worldviews when presented with new data is essential to solving society’s biggest challenges. 

Read more …

March 2017 
 Article   
Loving Emergency

In the land of systems thinking there is a principle called “emergence.” It refers to the interaction of the parts of a system, whereby characteristics arise that cannot be found in any of the system’s individual parts.
 

In other words, something new forms. 

Read more …

February 2017
 Article   
Do They Know It's Christmas?
Remember Band Aid’s 1984 hit single, Do They Know It’s Christmas? You might have heard it playing recently, as this fundraising jingle still gets a lot airtime alongside Elvis’ Blue Christmas and Brenda Lee’s Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. And then there’s John and Yoko’s Happy Xmas (War is Over)Read more…
January 2017
 Guest Blog Post  
Characteristics of a Regenerative Global Diet
We need to create, prepare and consume food differently. In every part of the food value network, we need to create system value, not system decay. In an earlier post, we established that today’s food system is falling short. What, then, do we propose as an alternative? How can we heal our food system and what can and should a healthy food system look like? Read more …
November 2016
 Article   
Why What’s Happening in Ethiopia Matters to Everyone Now
(No, this is not a pitch to send money, food aid nor to join a celebrity sing-along)
You might have picked up fragments of troubling news out of Ethiopia recently. Perhaps you saw the crossed arms of Olympic silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa in the men’s marathon, noted as a gesture of solidarity with protesters in his home country. Maybe you heard about a bunch of people (52 is the “official” count) dying in a stampede Read more…
October 2016
 Co-Authored Report   
Breakthrough Business Models:
Exponentially more social, lean, integrated and circular 
A new paper from Volans for the Business and Sustainable Development Commission offers a practical guide to create new forms of financial and extra-financial value for healthier, safer, and better-educated populations. It argues that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a much more radical agenda than most business leaders have yet realised. Read more…
September 2016
 Blog Post  
Embracing Awkwardness
From economists to politicians, from consumers to scientists, plenty of people agree that the current approach of many businesses is not sustainable.
We’ve talked about the sheer obviousness of this point, as have many other thinkers and doers working on this challenge. But when it comes to discussing this with people responsible for key decision within these companies, it is frankly a bit awkward. Even for consultants like us who are engaged specifically to talk about this stuff, it doesn’t always feel okay to come right out and say it. Read more…
February 2015
 Co-Authored Report   
Sustainability Incorporated:
Integrating Sustainability into Business
Many companies claim that sustainability is embedded in their DNA or sits at the heart of their business. The reality is that very few corporations have fully integrated or embedded sustainability into their business models.
The need for integrated sustainability is urgent; in order to address today’s pressing global issues such as resource scarcity, climate change and inequality, the private sector must integrate environmental and social considerations into every business decision. 

Read more…
December 2015
 Blog Post   
Time to Call a Spade a Spade
Reporting on an unsustainable business model
As I was reviewing the selections for “best report” for Corporate Register’s 2015 Reporting Awards I found myself thinking, enough is enough. The most recent round of finalists includes British American Tobacco (BAT).

Read more…
December 2014
 Blog Post   
The Future of Transparency: Trust B Trumps Trust A
Is reporting providing Trust A when what we need is Trust B?

On a recent in-flight experience, the airline’s CEO started off the safety video by saying in smoothly scripted terms that his company wants to make every passenger’s experience enjoyable and safe. Really? We had just stood in the jetway as “excess” carry on baggage was rerouted to be checked, after having waited at the gate as “an excess” of passengers were asked to forgo their seats in return for a voucher due to overbooking. These are admittedly First World problems, but they’re not enjoyable. Does the CEO know that his words are more likely to trigger irony than trust?

It reminded me of what happens in the sustainability reporting. 

Read more…

February 2013
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© 2018 B. Lorraine Smith