In a political season replete with shallow and evasive discussions of policy 175 business leaders will be gathering Friday with top policy leaders and thought-provokers to explore the products, practices and policies that can drive invention of a more sustainable, competitive economy. I am talking about the Fall Summit of the Progressive Business Leaders Network (PBLN).
What’s the difference between this group and business as usual? Everything, we hope. For one, it is mainly principals – CEOs and entrepreneurs, C-Suiters from all sorts of companies. They are the prime movers of change in their businesses and industries, and if educated and empowered by each other and by exposure to the topics and processes that matter, they can contribute lots more positively to public discourse than they do.
The US Chamber and the range of industry councils are hardly the only voice of business. Our goal is to meet the need of pushing progress-oriented voices of business into the public discourse and the political/policy making process.
What do we stand for as an organization so far? Our policy agenda is on our website. PBLN Supports Cape Wind, putting a price on carbon emissions, universal healthcare, global payment, the affordable housing and smartgrowth development laws, and massive investment in greenhouse gas reduction, especially in buildings and transportation. We are looking at other issues for the days ahead including revenue policy in general.
There is a huge appetite among top executives (the innovation economy, or whatever you want to call it) to engage meaningfully with the biggest issues facing society and the economy. We need that untapped resource as a society – in ways that are frightening even to think about.
We argue that the three engines at the ready to spread the inventive ideas of these leaders are their products, their business practices and their positions in matters of public policy. All three of these categories is encircled by a conversation about principles. What do you stand for as a business? What are you committed to outside of pure profit making and taking? What does your business vision add to the world around you that we actually need and how are you accounting for the impact you’ll have on the world while producing it?
Tough questions, brave leaders tackling them. I say bet on them in a world where we cannot afford for them not to win.