By Hans Hassle and Oren R. Lyons

Most of us would agree that mankind is not taking care of Earth and ourselves in the best way we could. Social, environmental and political development are all heading in directions no-one can fail to see, and no-one could wish for.

Economics has played a major role in creating this situation, and will continue to determine future directions. Political power is fighting to regain influence, but we already know the economy, or at least the major part of it, is driven by corporations. Today, many of the world’s largest economies are corporations, not nation states. This situation confers enormous responsibility on the owners, their boards and their managers, a responsibility that comes with being the dominant institution on the planet.

In this world of ours, greed, short-term strategies and fear are strongly supported by the system, the voluntary rules we play by. As an example one can reflect upon the fact that among the very largest world markets are the markets for weapons, narcotics, tobacco, sex, and environmentally disastrous fossil energy.

There is no way we can continue business as usual, if we want a liveable future for mankind. And we should never forget that we do have a choice.

We need to see corporations that are not only fixated on money. We need to see corporations going beyond even the
environmental and broader sustainability imperatives. We need to see corporations built from a deep sense of responsibility for the common good. This means a core business that is good for society, as well as democratic and transparent organizations that are able to balance commercial success with idealistic principles.

Our contribution to this necessary change is PLANTAGON, a new and modern kind of company with maximum competitiveness, building on good corporate citizenship, transparency and democratic values.

The basic principle is to combine and balance commercial and value based driving forces in one organization, exploring how to make money while doing good and using the power of money and public support to achieve benefits for society in general, over and above economic progress.

PLANTAGON ́s mission is Functional and ecological food directly to western consumers or starving citizens of the third world. To bring this about we will introduce the Plantagon® greenhouse that will dramatically change the way we produce ecological and functional food. It allows us to produce ecological with clean air and water inside urban environments, even major cities, cutting costs and environmental damage by eliminating transportation and deliver directly to consumers. This is due to the efficiency and productivity of the Plantagon® greenhouse which makes it economically possible to finance each greenhouse from its own sales.

The quite simple innovation is to use the full volume of the greenhouse, growing in storages. The less simple but wise idea is to adjust the construction, shape and technology of the house mainly to what the plants need – not human beings. After maximizing what is good for the plants, advanced technology is used to help human beings take care of the plants in a rational way.

Parallel to the company we founded a non-profit organization with the same name as the company. The non-profit organization owns 10% of the company and nominates 50% of its board members. Membership of the non-profit organization is open to everyone who supports its objectives, and the company has no influence over it.

The company and the non profit organization are legally bound to support each other and commit to implementing the Global Compact and the Earth Charter in their Articles of Association and founding documents.

It is not only financial but also social compliance with the Articles of Association that is reviewed at each Annual General Meeting.

We call the PLANTAGON model a “Companization” – two different legal entities in one organization working for the same cause: One profit-driven, commercial organization (PLANTAGON International AB) and one non-profit organization (PLANTAGON Non-profit Association). The word Companization symbolizes the two driving forces within the organization as a whole – profit and values.

We admit we are after money. We admit we want to influence public opinion. We are therefore transparent about how we will use these two powerful resources and we demonstrate that we are prepared to share this power with everyone.

PLANTAGON integrates our mission, our promises and our values into the organization ́s whole structure; from our Articles of Association to how we organize our ownership to give our stakeholders influence and power over our actions.

This may be the first time in the business sector that social responsibility, transparency and sharing are demonstrably valued at the same level as financial engagement.

This may be the first opportunity to influence a large company from the inside without being an employee, a manager or an investor, but by being socially engaged in supporting its mission.

This may be the first company to show that sharing rather than greed leads to financial success.

About the authors

Oren R. Lyons
Oren R. Lyons
Professor Oren R. Lyons, Faithkeeper, Onondaga Nation, New York State. Member of the Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. Oren R. Lyons is recognized not only in the United States and Canada but internationally as an eloquent and respected spokesperson on behalf of Native peoples and has received numerous honors and awards. He is a sought-after international lecturer and participant in forums, focusing not only on American Indian traditions, but Indian law and history, human rights, environment and interfaith dialogue. Prof. Lyons is the author of numerous books including Exiled in the Land of the Free; Democracy, Indian Nations, and the U.S. Constitution; as well as Voice of Indigenous Peoples (1992), and Native People Address the United Nations (1994). Oren R. Lyons served as the Chairman of Plantagon International AB from January 2008 until May 2016. He is now Chairman of the Plantagon International Association Board of Directors.
Hans Hassle
Hans Hassle
Hans Hassle has more than 30 years of experience in the business sector and for 15 years served as CEO of Swedish communication agency Vision and Reality Communication AB in Stockholm. Since 1986, Hans has been a pioneer of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and together with his wife Karin Hassle runs his own management company evolution? AB. He developed early strategical tools for Corporate Citizenship and Brand Management analyzing values and daily practices connected to brand strategy. Hans was appointed by the Swedish Government to the Ethical Committee of Karolinska Medical Institute in Stockholm (Regionala Etikprövningsnämnden vid Karolinska Institutet). evolution? AB runs social business in Burma, invests knowledge capital in social enterprise, educates leaders in sustainable leadership as well as assists organisations in implementation of the Companization governance model. In 2012, Hans Hassle became an official member of the World Entrepreneurship Forum and joined the Forum’s Think Tank as one of 88 members. Hassle was in 2010 and 2011 nominated Sustainable Leader of the Year by the Swedish Association of Environmental Managers and In 2012, he was awarded CEO of the Year, Sweden by European CEO as well as put on the World Finance 100 list in 2012. Hassle is co-author of the Global Compact Research Report Sweden published by UN Global Compact in 2004 and Author of the book “Business as Usual is over”, published in 2012. Hans Hassle served as CEO of Plantagon International AB from January 2008 until May 2016. He is now Secretary General of Plantagon International Association. 2016 Hassle was appointed member of ADC Forum Advisory Council.
Interview about the book “Business as usual is over”.
Read Hans personal blog “Business As Usual is Over“.
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