Walking the Talk
Joan Antoni Melé:
Human Dignity Is Fundamental to a New, Better Economy

Translated from Spanish — view original interview here.

Ahead of his keynote next month at the third and final Sustainable Brands Buenos Aires event of 2017, focused on “Redefining the Good Life,” we spoke with Joan Antoni Melé, former Deputy General Manager of Triodos Bank in Spain and Vice President of the Triodos Foundation. In January 2015, Melé resigned his position at Triodos to promote ethical banking in Latin America and devote himself fully to informative work on issues of a more conscious economy, sustainable businesses and securities education, working closely with Triodos Bank as an advisor.

Although in the 21st century we have more scientific and technological knowledge, with more economic resources than ever before in the history of mankind, the social and environmental conflicts that we have today require that we make a deep reflection about human beings, of their essence, their dignity and the meaning of life. Only then we will be able to rethink the bases for a new society in which we can all live in a dignified and harmonious way.

How do you think it will help to redefine the bases for a new coexistence?

In the last decades, the way of doing economy, of making companies, of carrying out business has not respected the human being, nor human dignity; and of course it hasn’t respected the planet, which is part of this human dignity. If we rediscover that dignity, what do we have to maintain and give to the businesses, we will discover that some of the companies will continue doing good or even better, but we will also see people working with motivation, and the world will start changing. Thousands of companies are already doing it, so it’s not a utopia and it’s not a theory: It is something that is already working.

What is the role of brands in this scenario?

The role of brands is fundamental, because brands are creating trends all over the world. They create fashions, and they make millions of people follow them, based on advertising campaigns or public figures from the cinema and sports to seduce people. Once brands discover that if they bet on ethical, sustainable change, they bet for human dignity, they will create a worldwide trend of this. They will discover that the ethical can also be fashionable.


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