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The Declaration of Leadership
Jamais Cascio, 7 Apr 05

decofleader.jpgSustainability Sundays contributor and WorldChanging Ally Gil Friend spoke this week at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club. His talk had the somewhat staid title "Business and Sustainability: Risk, Fiduciary Responsibility, and the Laws of Nature," but from all accounts, it was very well-received. Joel Makower (another Sustainability Sundays contributor and WorldChanging Ally) was there, and let's us in on Gil's big idea: the "Declaration of Leadership" for sustainable business.

The Declaration itself is a colorful and well-constructed document -- I have a hardcopy given to me by Gil in front of me now -- and the text itself is stimulating and even a bit provocative. Gil hasn't put a downloadable copy on his site yet, but Before Gil got a chance to put a copy on his website, Joel went ahead and typed in the text. You can read the whole thing over on Joel's site; here's a taste of it:


  • The well being of our economy fundamentally depends on the services from nature that support it;
  • Business activity has a profound impact on the ability of nature to sustainably provide those services;
  • We are committed, as business and community leaders, to the well being of both economic and ecological systems, of both humans and other living things;
  • We believe that these goals are compatible (and where they seem to be incompatible, we are committed to finding better ways to do business that make them compatible).

    We envision our company, suppliers and customers, and our community doing business in ways that:

  • Preserve, protect and ultimately enhance the living systems -- of this region, and the planet -- that sustain our business and the larger human economy;
  • Provide ever greater value in meeting the real needs of our customers, suppliers and communities;
  • Meet human needs in the most efficient and economical means possible, in order to include the greatest percentage of humanity.
  • The Declaration is a clear statement of what it means to run a sustainable company. Nothing listed is outrageous or radical, yet as a whole it describes an outlook on business which would be revolutionary if -- when -- widely adopted. I look forward to Gil giving us more details about the Declaration in an upcoming Sustainability Sundays post, and over at his own weblog.

    (UPDATE: As noted above, Gil tells us in the comments that he has now put a PDF of the Declaration on his website. Check it out.)

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    Thanks for posting this, Jamais. The PDF of the Declaration is now available at

    I hope to have the audio posted (it needs a bit of editing) some time next week; please check back to that same URL.

    We'll have poster-sized printed versions available soon as well. Please check back.

    Posted by: Gil Friend on 8 Apr 05

    Great document to generate a perception of sustainability. I made a print and put it on the wall of the architects office where I work.

    Posted by: Maurits on 14 Apr 05



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