In September 2018, we began a series on the role of enterprises in constructing the common good and we have already published various articles — of analysis, feedback and personal testimony — on this theme in Futuribles 426, 427 and 429. Employing an admittedly different approach, the thinking presented here by Hélène Le Teno addresses the issue of how businesses can avail themselves of the context of an increasing scarcity of resources we are seeing today to trigger a change in the economic model.
Hélène Le Teno reminds us first what this move into an era of scarcity consists in, and why the physical limits of our planet require us to look again at the way we produce. She stresses the limitations of an economic growth that would tend to ignore the constraints of the biosphere and the need to orient ourselves toward a genuinely sustainable development model. In her view, we now have to “do better with much less” and create a situation in which the economy’s main actors — enterprises — can reason along these lines and find ways to develop in a “transition economy”. A shift occurred in the United States and Europe with the emergence of the notion of “benefit corporations/companies”. It is essential now that new accounting and financing mechanisms — some examples of which Le Teno presents here — are developed, to enable economic actors to leave “extractive capitalism” behind and shift to a common-interest capitalism.