Impact Statements

Call it evolution. It’s funny, when you think about it: corporations are obligated, by law and by generally accepted practice, to issue numerous “reports” on their “performance”. But unless your definition of performance is a ninety-seven bladed razor enriching a tiny number of already very rich people, economic performance is often limited to the purely financial. The result is that corporations can call all the following, and more profitable: obesity, climate change, fear, anxiety, fracture, polarization, and, of course, just plain pointlessness–and the net result is that the relationship between profit and progress, people and prosperity, is fundamentally broken. But maybe there’s a simple, practical way to save the relationship between people and prosperity. Why aren’t corporations asked to issue impact statements: statements that disclose the real human impacts–positive and negative–that they have on people and society; not merely watered-down CSR reports–but disclosures about whether or not–and by precisely how much–an organization’s activities have resulted in real human prosperity? If the above sounds like science fiction, here’s a tiny secret: tomorrow’s radical innovators are already asking them to.

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