Leading in Changing Times: Breakthrough Capitalism

“Transforming capitalism is about more than shifting corporate behaviour. It requires a change in cultures, governance systems and tax regimes and this takes time” - John Elkington


Key parts of western-style capitalism appear to be in breakdown mode, yet change-as-usual strategies are also failing to address the nature and scale of the challenges.  It’s time for breakthrough innovation, breakthrough business models, breakthrough investment, breakthrough policy-making and, fundamentally, breakthrough mindsets and behaviors.

The coming shift in focus from incrementalism to transformation means that we must build new relationships between unusual allies, create better maps of the current system and of key leverage points, engage in strategic conversations about the critical barriers to change (both evident and hidden) and acquire first-hand experience of the innovators experimenting with tomorrow’s business models.

John Elkington has been researching and consulting at the intersection of business and society for nearly 30 years; he actually coined the expression “triple-bottom-line” to characterize companies that accounted for their financial, environmental, and social impact. He believes that instead of waiting for big companies and big government to solve our problems, a new breed of innovators is in the process of creating a ‘Do-It-Yourself’ revolution. Join this unique session and hear about John’s perspective on the emergence of new forms of thinking and leadership.


John Elkington, Founding Partner & Executive Chairman, Volans
John Elkington is a world authority on corporate responsibility and sustainable development. He is currently the Founding Partner & Executive Chairman of Volans, a future-focused business working at the intersection of the sustainability, entrepreneurship and innovation movements. He is also co-founder of SustainAbility (1987, where he is a non-executive member of the Board) and of Environmental Data Services (ENDS, 1978).

John has written or co-authored 18 books, most recently The Zeronauts: Breaking the Sustainability Barrier, published May 2012. He is a Fast Company blogger and a columnist for a number of publications, including chinadialogue (China), CSR Wire (USA), Director Magazine (UK), Monday Morning (Denmark) and Nikkei Ecology (Japan) as well as other media. John also writes a weekly column for the Guardian Sustainable Business website.

In 2008, The Evening Standard named John among the ‘1000 Most Influential People’ in London, describing him as “a true green business guru,” and as “an evangelist for corporate social and environmental responsibility long before it was fashionable.”

In 2009, a CSR International survey of the Top 100 CSR leaders placed John fourth: after Al Gore, Barack Obama and the late Anita Roddick of the Body Shop, and alongside Muhammad Yunus of the Grameen Bank.


20 March 2013, 12.30 to 13.30 CET

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  • Elise Magnenat

    Manager, Business Education, WWF International
    T: +41 22 364 9225

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