Loving Dragons: Golden Agri Resources Gets it Right

Years and years of fighting dragons hasn’t yet stopped deforestation or many other ills. We’ve successfully ‘dragonised’ a lot of people, many companies and brands and yet here we are in Pooville. Judging people in this way leads to shame. Shame gets people’s attention and can work to raise awareness, get discussion started, but it leads to a very human call for punishment. When it comes to really changing, that has serious limits.

Searching for that “Something else”? It Starts with Beauty

If we can see the beauty in the smallest of snails, the invisible bacteria and protozoans that surround us, just the thought of a wilderness we will never see, in the sunrise or sunset, in the furrowed brow of an exhausted soul torn by war, by poverty or even greed, might we not act in a way that better protects them? That loves them? If we can pause a moment and strive to appreciate the beauty in everything around us, surely we will approach our relationship with it, with ourselves and with each other in a completely different way?

Is purchasing eco-labelled products a concrete, accessible entry point for the average Joe?

I just can’t bring myself to advocate that consumers search for ecolabels. That just reinforces the status quo, business as usual approach that in my view urgently needs to change. The trouble I have with ecolabels is that some of them are OK, especially when done well. But they can also be highly misleading, promoting for example the idea of sustainability when workers are so disgustingly exploited.

With Lorinda Jane of Palm Oil Investigations

I think Lorinda is terrific because of not only what she’s achieved with Palm Oil Investigations but because of the way she’s gone about it, the way she started. I’m big on Values and Lorinda jumped into the crowded and sometimes unpleasant NGO Orangutan conservation space with both feet and a commitment to make a difference. I believe she has.

The Limits of Shame: Time to shower with your enemy?

Might NGOs more effectively engage with senior managers, CEOs and Board Chairs? I’ve seen time after time the power of relationships based on trust. Achieve trust and watch change explode, perhaps still not as quickly as we need given the mess we’re in but certainly much faster than relationships built on shame. Time to build bigger showers.

What will I do with this life of mine?

Today is the Winter solstice and we have a rare full moon awaiting us on Christmas day. 2016 lies beyond so it's not a bad time to reflect on the year past. More importantly, it's time to ponder the decades ahead. Our (in)action today will frame the nature of the world we and our fellow species inhabit in the future.

And then there was Jeremy Goon

It was very easy chatting with Jeremy. When people are open and ready to discuss challenging issues with disarming honesty, chats flow. Like my discussion with Jesslyne Widjaja, after talking with Jeremy I was left hopeful for the future. We do need a strong, viable palm oil industry but we urgently need it to deal wholeheartedly with the sustainability issues embedded in its way of working over the last 30 years.