Daniel Goleman, the famous psychologist and author of Emotional Intelligence, says we are engaging the wrong part of the brain by focusing on the negative impacts, and that rather than focusing on our negative footprints, we should set our sights on the collective good that we can do. In the area of sustainable development, for instance, as defined by the Brundtland Commission back in 1987 at the United Nations World Commission on Environment and development, we can promote “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
Today many of the efficiencies and new markets becoming available to business can be opportunities to save money on the bottom line, and the new markets created can deliver new types of value to citizens. This is a fundamental shift, one that is full of opportunities for business innovation, profit and leadership.
Think for example about the company Buzzcar. Founded by Robin Chase, it’s a car-sharing company with a twist. She used the right part of her brain when she devised a company that rents other people’s cars out to neighbors and people who need a car for a couple of hours or days. If you’re a car owner and it sits idle occasionally, you can register your car and make some money. According to the Buzzcar website, there are currently 11,863 people sharing 1,468 cars in France. The sharing of such physical goods lowers the costs of using them, pollutes less and does our planet good.
This is definitely one idea that shows how thinking out of the box, using the right part of the brain, can produce gains as well as profits in a more environmentally friendly and sustainable way.