I am at the beginning of a project. I’m trying not to preconceive what this will tell me or others – I’m just looking to find answers to questions. I anticipate that the answers I get will bring more questions. I’m hoping to talk with smart people, read good sources and think and write about the implications of the perspectives I gain in the process.

I’m doing this because the question of stakeholder value is something I come back to again and again – perhaps mistakenly, I use it as a prism for things I find challenging. I use it to question how leaders or those with the power to make decisions do so without thinking about the potential impact on others or where and how we live. I think we’ve embraced an interpretation of capitalism that’s unsustainable and we must stop.

It’s easy to blame the government and regulatory structure, or say it’s all Wall Street’s fault – the government needs realignment and greed doesn’t get us far. Maybe that’s where all of the answers lie, but I’m not sure that’s true. I don’t think moving one lever will put us in a place where affected people (and by extension our environment) will be considered as part of decision processes. The truth is that we’ve allowed ourselves, at all levels, to divide action from impact. I think like many that CEO compensation is a runaway problem, but I also think that there are resonant challenges at the daily, local level – relentless consumerism placing production and disposal in a never-ending loop. My challenge will be to organize the this project with that belief – tackling it might be like swallowing an elephant.

I have disclaimers, lest I sound like a hypocrite. I’m in the muck with everybody else. I work in marketing, drive to work in the city and not everything recyclable lands in the right bin. People have been laid off at my work, and I’ve been part of those decisions. I think that this project may prove that we need to make big changes that I’ve not made myself.

We’ll see how this goes. More anon.

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