“Accountants will save the world.”
President and CEO
World Business Council for
"The MultiCapital Scorecard is the most important book on accounting in decades.”
Founder, Lex Ultima, and
President-Elect, Benefit Company Bar Association
Our Theory of Change
Our vision of Certified Sustainability Zones (CSZs) is based, in part, on what the ecological economist, Herman E. Daly, first described in 1977 as Steady-State Economies (SSEs). Both SSEs and CSZs are policy models for sustainable commerce, but the similarity ends there. Unlike SSEs, our vision of CSZs addresses a broader range of social, economic and environmental issues and not only the environmental consequences of an economy.
In order to make this possible, CSZs measure and report the effects of their activities on not just natural capital, but on all other capitals of importance to human (and non-human) well-being: human capital, social capital, constructed capital, and economic capital. Thus, CSZs are multicapitalistic in their orientation – indeed, they are deeply grounded in multicapitalism, the polar opposite of today’s growth economies in which most governments and economic policy makers still cling to monocapitalism: the pursuit of growth in only one type of capital (economic), notwithstanding its effects on all others.
What CSZs are primarily concerned with, then, is the preservation and maintenance of capital stocks and flows at whatever levels may be required to ensure human (and non-human) well-being. What this will generally mean is that the inhabitants of a CSZ must collectively live within their ecological means (of natural capital), while also taking steps to ensure the sufficiency of the others. Thus, what is directly measured in CSZs are its inhabitants’ impacts on vital capitals and whether or not they (the impacts) have the effect of preserving and/or maintaining such capitals at levels required to ensure human (and non-human) well-being.
That is why in a CSZ, multi-capital-based performance accounting is so important, and why we agree with Peter Bakker of the WBCSD when he says, “Accountants will save the world” – and with Donella Meadows, too, who once wrote, “People can’t respond to information they don’t have” (1998). To be sure, humanity’s mainstream accounting systems systematically deprive us of information about the full effects of our own activities and must therefore be reformed. We simply cannot manage performance in the new economy using accounting tools forged in the old one. New tools, methods and metrics are required instead, and that is what the CSZ program has been designed to do – provide new tools for the new economy: multiple capital accounting and Aggregate Capital Sufficiency.
No other certification program does this, and yet it must be done if we are to have any chance of achieving sustainability in the conduct of human affairs!
Learn more about the CSZ concept here Certified Sustainability Zones and Why We Need Them and here Arguing the Case for Certified Sustainability Zones