Arianna Huffington, Richard Branson of Virgin airlines cum Virgin Galactic commercial space program and Jochen Zeitz, Chief Sustainability Officer at Kering and founder of the Zeitz Foundation for Intercultural Ecosphere® Safety are definitely in lockstep with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. Quinn has a taskforce in place to make Illinois the state in which to incorporate social enterprise companies (Here are links about social-enterprise, “B” corps, and L3C .) As far as I am concerned, it’s timely and totally necessary. Plan “A” ain’t working. That is business as usual, GREED NOT NEED. Arianna and her group are suggesting a plan B. Perhaps it should be called a plan “P” for "prioritize people and planet alongside profit". I love it!
There has to be something in the wind when Wal-Mart investors are sticking thumbs in the eyes of leadership about slumping sales and protests by workers, bribes in Mexico and overall corporate image decline. They are demanding the company clean up its act. People of the ultra-rich strata like Warren Buffett are asking to be taxed at a higher rate. The idea that higher tax rates will stifle investment and productivity, in Buffett’s words, “is bunk”. Is it possible that a change is going to come? It would be better to have a change coming from peaceful alterations from plan A rather than out and out revolution. I’ve been thinking that any day people would be hanging out of their windows screaming they are sick of this #!#t and aren’t going to stand for it anymore. This was an inspired vision except too many people don’t have a window to hang from. As my mother would say people don’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of.
Kudos to Arianna and other team members (The “B” team is pretty impressive, Muhammad Yunus, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, Indian businessman Ratan Tata, Kering CEO Francois-Henri Pinault, United Nations Foundation CEO Kathy Calvin, Sudanese-British telecommunications entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim, Brazilian social entrepreneur Guilherme Leal, Zimbabwean businessman Strive Masiyiwa, the Arison Group's Shari Arison, Broad Group China Chairman and Founder Zhang Yue, and Nigeria's Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala) for taking a stand for us in the shrinking middle and those sliding to the bottom and even more importantly for the planet that is being decimated as a byproduct of corporate quarterly earnings.
At the end of the Arianna Huffington piece about the “B” team I found this “So please join the B Team and help us accelerate that shift by putting the spotlight on business leaders at the forefront of this movement and connecting them with each other.” May I suggest a couple of things? Reach out to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and task force leader Marc J. Lane. In fact, how about meeting with those of us in the trenches trying to find resources to start workers’ cooperatives, L3C corps and other forms of social enterprise? Some of us know how to fish. We just need a pole and hook.