Innovate or Perish: Redrawing the Business and Social Landscape

From Stephen Huddart’s latest OSBR column:

We’re at a moment when the boundaries of capitalism are being reshaped.”
Michael Porter, June 28, 2010

Economist and business guru Michael Porter was in Montreal last week as the guest of Sustainable Prosperity, to speak about the “Porter Hypothesis” he developed 20 years ago. The hypothesis posits that, contrary to the naysayers who hold that economics and environment are mutually exclusive domains, strict environmental regulation of the economy generates an innovation effect that triggers the development of new technologies and improvements that confer competitive advantage on companies and countries.

For the assembled Deputy Ministers, CEOs, and researchers, plus thousands more tuned into a webcast, the evidence was clear. Governments and companies applying this hypothesis are leading value creation in the global race to build sustainable economies. They do so in at least three ways. First, on the principle that pollution + waste = inefficiency (and liability: hello BP!), they make companies more efficient. Second, they use collaborative policy development to foster market-leading technology clusters. Third, they preserve natural capital.