Yesterday I was at the Green Festival 06 in San Francisco. Over the past few years this annual appointment has changed considerably: the business side of the green movement is growing and is attracting more attention. The environmentally friendly business is gaining respect from the business community and proving to be a viable business model. One visible example of those transformations is the organic food market: according to the Organic Trade Association, in 2005 the US organic industry grew 17% reaching $17.6 billion (PDF document).
In this transition from the niche markets to a fully developed business model for a sustainable economy, some people are starting to look into the core rules of our current economic system to see if there is space for improvement. Peter Barnes is one of those people. Peter is a successful entrepreneur and also a writer. His new book, “Capitalism 3.0: a guide to reclaiming the commons” is exploring new ways to protect the shared resources of the planet. He suggests to reclaim the commons, like the oceans and the atmosphere, with the institution of stakeholder trusts. Those institutions should be in charge of managing and protecting our shared resources with the major goal of passing them in the best possible shape to future generations. The profits generated by the management of the commons should be shared among the entire population, the same way Alaskans share the profits coming from oil. This will force businesses to account for the usage of resources, like the environment, that now are basically free.
I’m not sure Peter's approach can be successfully implemented as it is described in the book, but I like his idea that we can evolve the basic rules of capitalism to reach the goal of sustainability.
What's your opinion?