After spending 2 years co-designing Positive — an ecosystem empowering businesses to transition towards sustainability and regeneration — it is time for me to explore new horizons.
The work we led alongside hundreds of business leaders, dozen of academics and experts has been so enriching. It reinforced my conviction that a new story is within reach with hundreds of changemakers leading the way.
Catalysing a Regenerative Economy
What if tomorrow’s economy could be Regenerative? What if businesses could put back more to society and nature than they take?
This was the challenge we set up when starting Positive back in 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The system was unveiling breaches with a weak economy, some major disruption in supply chains, and individuals forced to rethink their lives. For once, the world as a whole was on pause. Slowing down from the frenetic race against nature and in the quest for never-ending profits.
While pretty much everyone was talking about sustainability at that time, regeneration was only an emerging concept. A few thinkers such as Daniel Christian Wahl were already working on it while most of the world was ignoring its existence. Within two years, regeneration is on its way to becoming the new trend slowly overtaking sustainability concepts — there is still a long way to go before it takes sustainability fades away from the narrative.
Our journey at Positive has been about defining what regenerative business means, how it takes shape, and how its practices can be applied to SMEs. It has taken us on unexplored paths requiring a lot of imagination, collaboration, and research to shed a light on an emerging field.
Positive Compass and resources
As we enter a critical time where business transformation is a must, we decided to release all our resources for free. We decided to put the collected wealth of practices, wisdom, and experiences in service to the many.
All the resources co-created within the Positive ecosystem are now open-source and freely accessible on our website. They aim to empower businesses to transition towards sustainability and regeneration.
1. THE POSITIVE COMPASS — THE FIRST 360° REGENERATIVE BUSINESS METHODOLOGY
The Positive Compass is designed for businesses to become future-fit. With more than 100 data points, and 5 core principles (Purpose, Planet, People, Partners, Places), the methodology helps business leaders and their teams to realise their impact potential. The compass is a dynamic and holistic tool intended as a guide rail empowering you to make change happen. It is an antidote to the failures of ESG and box-ticking methodologies available on the market.
🧭 Discover the Compass and its 5 toolkits to map our opportunities for your business.
2. ACTIONABLE STEPS FOR IMPACT
Working alongside pioneering businesses and experts we compiled a list of actionable steps you can start taking to make business impactful. From Net-Zero, Diversity, Local impact, Supply webs, and Governance, you can find practical steps to lead change. It is an invitation for teams to initiate their journey towards sustainability and regeneration. These practical steps help businesses advance their impact supporting the 5Ps of the Compass.
💡 Discover the Actionable Steps and the 5 toolkits to drive positive impact.
3. TOOLKITS AND ROADMAPS
We designed jargon-free toolkits and roadmaps for businesses to lead positive change. The navigation tools have been developed over several months within our Regen Futures Lab in collaboration with experts, academics, business leaders, and reviewers.
The toolkits include background research, practical steps and case studies for positive impact. They are aligned with the five principles of the Positive Compass empowering changemakers to move towards Regeneration.
The roadmaps invite teams to brainstorm, collaborate, and co-create regenerative solutions advancing their business impact.
🧰 Discover the Toolkits and Roadmaps to advance your business impact.
4. HANDBOOK FOR REGENERATIVE BUSINESS
The Positive handbook sets out a practical pathway for transformational change. This Handbook is full of inspiring case studies of pioneering businesses at the front lines of positive impact. Whether you run a mission-led business or are an aspiring entrepreneur with a big idea who wants to change the world, this is an indispensable guide
Learnings and perspectives
As I set the sails towards a new adventure — while remaining involved in supporting the regenerative business space — I sat back looking at the insights I’ve got during this exploration. Find 5 main points below.
1. RADICAL COLLABORATION IS NOT YET THERE
No one will do it alone. While so many are preaching for radical collaboration, very few are keen on creating win-win-win partnerships. I have witnessed the difficulty of creating fair collaboration in the space. Plenty of organisations and thinkers are joining the space of regenerative business but very few are open to true collaboration. Many are putting their personal interest first reducing the chances of creating impactful partnerships. Using some metaphor from nature, sharks are often roaming around to take over knowledge and expertise from the hard labour of committed individuals.
A real shift is needed to build councils of organisations and practitioners to collectively advance the field. We need practitioners to lead by example by implementing the vision they preach.
2. REGENERATIVE IS BECOMING THE NEW SUSTAINABLE
Everyone starts to talk about Regenerative. This is becoming the new sexy trend for many big corporations and consultants. The field attracts new players not necessarily aware of what regenerative means but keen on selling the concept. We face the risk of diluting its meaning and seeing regenerative as the new marketing lipstick for companies. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it becoming the new buzzword in a few years’ time.
We need coalitions of players to safeguard its meaning to make sure that no one can take advantage of the concept. As an evolving field with lots of unknowns, it is essential to change mindsets and consciousness empowering future leaders to operate from another level.
3. TRANSFORMATION IS STILL SCARY FOR THE MANY
Humans are unlikely to choose uncomfortable options when given the opportunity to keep their usual practices. The same applies to businesses often reluctant to go through deep transformation. Sustainability and CSR are often the easiest way to go as it only requires allocating a few resources as a side contribution. Regenerative practices encompass a whole new perspective seeing the business as a living system operating as part of an interconnected web of life. To be on the journey towards regeneration requires painful and deep transformation. It is, I believe, the only way for businesses to remain operational in the future. The ones not taking the curve today, will either pay the high cost of transformation in a few years' time or disappear from the map.
Becoming future-fit requires courage, commitment, and discomfort. We need to facilitate the transition for businesses by sharing stories of change and creating peer support where business leaders can share inquiries, best practices, and support one another.
4. THE NARRATIVE OF COST IS BROKEN
Business transformation is still too often expressed as a cost for businesses. The narrative disempowers the many showing the dark side of transformation and ignoring the rise of opportunities. The focus is given to barriers (investment, competition, pricing…) and jeopardises the understanding of business leaders to carve a new path. Investing into becoming future-fit is a driver for innovation, team wellbeing, and customer retention. It is the path that can contribute to the thriving of a business. Investing today will result in major savings for tomorrow as well as an advantage for the years to come.
We need a new story to speak about climate change. A story based on inclusive facts, supportive wording, and inspirational solutions. A story empowering businesses and employees to lead change and contribute to a thriving future. We know what business transformation looks like, it is time to make it more attractive!
5. A GREATER FOCUS ON EQUITY IS NEEDED
Equity is one of the greatest challenges embedded within climate disruption. While many still see impact as a siloed approach (ESG & CSR thinking), there is a need to move the needle on what equitable business means. Equity has been ignored for too long and is the core of the transformation we need to see. Without considering the colonial heritage of western societies and its underlying patterns in today’s economy, we won’t get there. The wisdom of local communities and groups is essential to foster regeneration. Place plays a major role to find adapted solutions to local realities.
We need to give a safe and large space to underrepresented groups including indigenous people who have been the guardians of our planet for hundreds of years. Youth and marginalised communities also have to be empowered to participate in co-creating and co-designing solutions. We have to be humble about the change we want to make to ensure that no one is left behind.
Opening up a new chapter
As I set the sails towards new horizons, I would like to warmly thank all the allies who have been supporting Positive on the journey. I am deeply humbled by the connections I’ve made over these past two years and the incredible chance to be part of this collective journey.
I will remain active in the regenerative space. I am convinced that the antidote to our broken system lies in a regenerative and equitable economy. It is only by lifting up and linking up that we will make it a reality.
Until the next time, I wish you a thriving journey where your north star guides you to lead positive change in service to others.