Is this world better off because your business is in it? – is the question posed by former Unilever CEO Paul Polman and sustainable business expert Andrew Winston in their latest collaboration ‘Net Positive: How Courageous Companies Thrive by Giving More Than They Take’.
Published in October 2021, the seminal book is a must-read for business leaders, CEOs, politicians, and activists intent on enforcing corporate sustainability and doing their part to reset our planet’s current trajectory.
Unveiling 50 years of corporate dogma, ‘Net Positive’ makes a compelling plea that businesses should (and can) boost their bottom lines by protecting the environment and contributing to their communities.
For the first time, Polman and Winston reveal key lessons from Unilever and numerous other pioneering companies, enlightening readers on how they can maximise profit while fixing the world’s problems (instead of creating them).
To thrive today and tomorrow, companies must take a “net positive” approach, giving more to the world than they take.
But what does this mean exactly?
Told through the delivery of practical and visionary stories, Polman and Winston are critical of current business leaders, and the lack of cohesion and collaboration across the private sector, government and civil society.
To move into the territory of positive impact, the pair cite the importance of actively rejecting our current economic models in which the overuse of resources, unfettered consumption and inequitable wealth distribution is the norm.
Moving away from shareholder primacy and the time-old habit of valuing profit over the planet and its workers; are also important steps in standing up for a more equitable world, which Polman and Winston claim will encourage governments to do the same.
Corporate courage unlocks political ambition, which is exactly what is needed at a time where the technological and scientific thought required to transform the world is abundant, but action from world leaders is slow and inefficient.
‘Net Positive’ combines Paul Polman’s corporate wisdom from years of authentic leadership within successful, net positive businesses, with Andrew Winston’s academic prowess in the field of sustainable business management and corporate megatrends.
As a four-time author, inclusive of his wildly popular collaboration with American environmental lawyer and policymaker Daniel C. Esty, ‘Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value and Build Competitive Advantage’, Winston is recognised as a global expert in business strategy.
Polman and Winston weave together their experience to provide a vastly more hopeful and ambitious vision of the future of business than one could imagine.
The freshly published book attracted glowing reviews, most notably with Sir Richard Branson referring to ‘Net Positive’ as “a wonderful rallying call to business leaders all over the world to step up to the greatest opportunity, + responsibility of our time”.
Packed with wisdom on how to improve the environmental and social impact of any business, ‘Net Positive’ will spark revolutionary and transformative thinking.