In an op-ed in Scotland’s The Herald today, here’s what Scottish Environmental Protection Agency CEO Terry A’Hearn had to say about our work together:
In 1994, business sustainability leader John Elkington coined the phrase the ‘triple bottom line’ of people, planet and profit. Despite it entering the business lexicon, twenty-five years later Elkington wrote an article in Harvard Business Review announcing a ‘product recall’ of his triple bottom line concept.
The concept had become popular. It had helped bring environmental and social issues into boardroom deliberations. It sparked a series of actions by many businesses to improve their environmental performance and contribute to enhanced social outcomes.
Elkington had hoped it would help fundamentally change our economies. It helped us step forward, but not jump ahead. It led to improvements, but not transformation. Elkington had that rare vision to call time on an idea that had been successful, but needed replacing by something new.
Last year, Elkington and his team at Volans launched its ‘Tomorrow’s Capitalism’ inquiry. Alongside global companies such as Unilever, Aviva Investors, Covestro and The Body Shop, SEPA is participating as the only regulatory agency invited to join the project. We are bringing some of Scotland’s innovation into the project and learning with others as we debate and, importantly, test practical ways of creating the future economy and society that will serve us all well.
Last week, the Scottish Government announced an Economic Recovery Action Group. In doing so, the First Minster said “its role will be to advise government on actions to support economic recovery. And crucially it will consider how these actions can contribute to our aim of building a fairer, and a greener, and a more equal society as well.”
SEPA will contribute our ideas from our One Planet Prosperity work with our partners in Scotland and from our participation in Volans’ Tomorrow’s Capitalism inquiry.
As we take a moment to reflect on this 50th Earth Day, it’s clear that the next period can’t be an alibi for inaction. The future is not what it was going to be. As Scotland’s environmental regulator, we will maintain our twin focus: regulating in a way that helps Scotland get through this public health emergency and regulating in a way that helps builds an even better, more inclusive and sustainable Scotland.