Interview with Cathie Lewis – Are “Net Positive” companies a solution to inequality?

In this video, Dr Claudelle and Cathie Lewis discuss stakeholder capitalism and whether its principles are appropriate for our world today. Is stakeholder capitalism both desirable and viable? The discussion explores the fairly recent concept of a net positive company. What does it entail and how may it be applied in society. Is it time to renegotiate the social contract business has with society. Should we move to a scenario where the majority of companies are net positive? Is it even possible and where would the greatest resistance come from?

Cathie Lewis is the Founder of Earth Energy, an ESG and climate change consultancy firm. She is an admitted attorney and conveyancer and a fellow of the Chartered Governance Institute of Southern Africa. She holds an LLM: Law of Contract, LLM: Corporate Law and MSt: Sustainability Leadership. She has over 25 years of experience in the fields of corporate and commercial law, governance, ethics, integrated reporting, sustainability, ESG and climate change.

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Outsourced morality

It is incumbent on each of us to constantly evaluate whether our moral compass is still pointing to our true north. We need to continually ask ourselves whether our actions are informed by our own beliefs that we carefully considered, before we concluded that they are fit to be used in our moral compass. How certain are we that we are not just believing what we are because those around us believe it? Or, that we are believing what we are because those who we have crowned with a halo believe it? Applying one’s own mind is paramount if we were to avoid the temptation of outsourcing our morality to others.

Fear can be your friend or your enemy

Whether we like it or not, we were not designed to be fearless. Fear is an emotional response connected to a basic need we all have – to feel safe. In the evolution of the human brain, this had been encoded for a very good reason. Our fear response is designed to trigger an action from us. If it’s a lion, we run. If we were to convince ourselves that we should not show fear and stand our ground, the stand we take is probably going to be immaterial to a starving lion. His fear that you may also be a threat, would most certainly be overridden by his fear of starving to death. Human beings are in any event rather defenceless without our modern weapons.

Know your rhythm

It is important that we work with our rhythm instead of against it. That is a sure way to increase our productivity. In the last number of months, I have started to notice that the number one issue I am dealing with among my coachees is burnout. Often that is because of a lack of understanding of what their rhythm is. We look after ourselves as leaders because we need to give those we lead the best version of ourselves. Selfcare is part of our leadership responsibility.

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