Product, Service & Design Innovation
The Power of Positive:
New eBook Explores Concept, Practice of Net Positive Movement

A new eBook encapsulates the key learnings of a recent week-long digital ThinkTank (virtual dialogue) conducted on the Convetit online engagement platform, which grappled with many of the thorny questions emerging from early practice of Net Positive business.

Hairshirts, Rattlesnakes, and Shoelaces: Toward a Net Positive Movement was edited and curated by Convetit co-founder and Chief Engagement Architect Bill Baue and ThriveAbility Foundation co-founder Ralph Thurm, and produced by Sustainable Brands.

“Perhaps the most striking takeaway from the eBook and Virtual Dialogue is the inspiring, motivational quality of the Net Positive framing (as captured in ‘The Power of Positive chapter), turning on its head the ‘hairshirt’ associations of sustainability,” Baue and Thurm write in the Introduction. “The positivity of Net Positive bodes well for selling the concept internally (built on the foundations of a robust business case) and externally (assuming Net Positive avoids the perception of greenwash by embracing a context-based approach to sustainability thresholds as the dividing line between Net Negative and Net Positive.)”

The eBook is broken into 4 main sections that explore how to:

The eBook informed a half-day workshop at the New Metrics ’15 conference earlier this month. Facilitated by Baue and Thurm, it featured speakers from the two major consortia of Net Positive practitioners globally — Zoe Le Grand of Forum for the Future’s Net Positive Group and Greg Norris of Harvard’s Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise (SHINE) — and representatives from Net Positive practitioners The Crown Estate, Dell and Dassault Systemes.

“We see ourselves working with a broader community of practitioners who are seeking to redefine how business creates holistic value for stakeholders and society. This weeklong virtual dialogue on Convetit helped connect that community across time and space in ways that are difficult if not impossible to achieve using traditional methods,” wrote Claudine Blamey, Head of Sustainability & Stewardship at The Crown Estate (which sponsored the dialogue and eBook) in the Foreword. “And the digital ThinkTank engendered a robust dialogue and healthy debate on how best to advance the concept and practice of Net Positive. This emerging practice of online engagement pulled together diverse players with passionate perspectives that resulted in synergistic learnings that fueled forward momentum of the Net Positive Movement.”

Also sponsored by Natura, the eBook features expert commentary from experts such as Mick Dalrymple of Arizona State University’s Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, Glenn Frommer of the Global Reporting Initiative, Mark McElroy of the Center for Sustainable Organizations, Eric Olson of BSR, Geanne van Arkel of Interface and Bob Willard of the Future-Fit Business Benchmark.

“This eBook, which captures the power of positivity embedded in the nascent Net Positive movement, exemplifies the spirit of the New Metrics conference: It’s a candid examination of the promise and potential pitfalls of this new way of measuring the positive benefits of business,” said Sustainable Brands founder and CEO Koann Vikoren Skrzyniarz. “We encourage all our member companies and the broad corporate sustainability community to use this eBook as a launching pad for exploring how to build Net Positive business models.”

The eBook is available for free download here.

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