Ecological civilization isa new cognitive revolution of mankind
Keynote speech by Ms. Wang Ping, Founder and Chairperson of China Social Entrepreneur Foundation(YouChange) at Eco Forum Global Annual Conference2017
April 2017, the United States
Ladies and gentlemen, Good morning!
It is mygreat honor to be invited by Dr. Cobb to this forum and deliver a speech forecological civilization today.
I would like to share my opinions and thoughts on eco-civilization, alsoelaborate our participation in this great movement.
Where is the root? - Change the cognition
Recently, the book Brief History of Humankind caused shocksto many. It tells us a very simple truth that history of mankind is thedevelopment process of human cognition and is caused by the cognitive changesof man. Cognitive revolution contains a lot of stages and forms our historicalleaps. Its result is what we see ourselves today, and related to our cognition.According to this book, the secret for Homo sapiens surpassing animals and theearly other humans lies in their social behaviors and closer cooperation. Thecognitive revolution begins with the imagination for a better future. A commonimagination will lead to a common faith and belief. So, by changing the storyand the recognition, we can change the way of cooperation. The tipping pointseparating history from biology is this very cognitive revolution. It begins fromthe agricultural revolution to the later series, including the industrialrevolution. These imagined stories form the law, the declaration, the system,the norms and the faith of a community. So originally there were no paths inthe world that we see today, and paths generate from men’s walking.
Old Cognition: Individualism and Capitalism
In the past 300years of industrial civilization development, inspired by industrialtechnology, organization and system innovation, human intelligence andcreativity were deeply developed and fully released. While huge material wealthand spiritual wealth were created, there were a large number of socialproblems, such as environmental pollution, depletion of resources, wealthpolarization, conflict, war, and so on.
We believe thatthese social problems are the inevitable products of the inherent contradictionof industrial civilization.
In the socialrevolution dominated by industrialization and big machine production, there areat least three endogenous structural contradictions:
First, thecontradiction between the growth of material wealth and the supply of resourcesand the carrying capacity of the environment,
Second, the contradictionbetween the rational pursuit of the individual and the overall development ofthe society,
And the third, thecontradiction between the nations and the human community.
The threecontradictions are historical and logical, leading to the disorder of therelations between people, nature and society.
Why are there thesecontradictions?
I think fundamentallyit is a problem at the cognitive level. Simply speaking, the value is toosimple and single minded.
Mankind experiencedthe dark middle age. At that time, the personal value was denied. As itdeveloped to the industrial civilization, the personal value played aparticularly big role in promoting social progress in the early stage. However,with the continued development of industrial revolution, the recognition ofmost people has been completely ossified. It seems that there is only onevoice, one universal value and one universal truth, which is pursuing economicdevelopment and wealth expansion only.
The existing economicrules are developed by winners of the market competition. The goal of the rulesis simple, which is maximization of the interest of shareholders. What is thevalue behind this story? Individual value is prior to common good. The resultof Matthew Effect is that the stronger is always the winner and the winnertakes all. This is the rule of the animal world and social Darwinism.
The superstructuresuch as laws and political system also maximize the economy development and theprotection of vested interest group. Thus, majority of people who has no sayingon his own interest is ignored, and such ignorance leads to two worlds inparallel and causes a great contradiction. Especially the populism rising afterthe financial crisis in 2008, as well as the international terrorism are theexpression of the social discontents. Financial instruments and technologicalmeans are becoming the accelerator to create these contradictions/conflicts.
The current balancesheet based on financial accounting standards has become a common standard andlanguage for industrial civilization. It has promoted the rise of industrialcivilization but also has become the reason and force hindering the furtherdevelopment of industrial civilization, because it totally does not take intoaccount or reflect any external cost and external value. The single equilibriumin the economic and financial aspects results in the social and ecologicalimbalance, and this imbalance will eventually lead to economicunsustainability.
The above defectionsare endogenous in the industrially civilized society, so it cannot be resolvedin the framework of industrial civilization itself.
To solve the problem,we need to find the root. We cannot just do some case-by-case improvements butneed to find a subversive theory. From the perspective of alternation ofcivilization, ecological civilization is a new cognitive revolution. It shallcall for new values and evaluation criteria.
New Cognition: Social value as the ecologicalcivilization of value
Ecologicalcivilization must regard the thorough change of the disorder of the relationsbetween people, nature and society as the fundamental goal. It is a new form ofcivilization that respects the ecology itself and is in line with theecological principles. Therefore, such a civilization pays more attention to thewhole society instead of just individuals, lays more emphasis on diversityrather than standardization and underlines openness rather than closeness, andhighlights on social synergy much more than on market competition. These basicprinciples of ecological civilization are those of the community of destiny ofhuman being and also the basic principles of the great harmony society that ourmankind has long been pursuing for.
In the concept of value, we believe the valuethat respects the eco-system itself and in line with the ecological principlesis the social value. “Social value” consists of two words, “social” and“value”, indicating that the aim of social value is to value the society as awhole. From the ethical perspective of social value, the social-valued societymust be the sustainable society. And its view of freedom, equality anddevelopment shall also serve this purpose.
We believe that social value should express thefollowing principles:
1. The principle of integrity. Social valueregards the well-being of all mankind as its goal, and any individual ororganization in the human community can benefit from it.
2. The principle of initiative. As social valueis the common well-being of all mankind, each person and every organization inthe human community shall be willing to take the efforts to promote the overallwellbeing.
3. The principle of innovation. Humancivilization is always achieved through innovation. The problems, such aspoverty, health care and aged care problems, all need our innovative thinkingand innovative methods.
4. The principle of consistency. An obviousdrawback of industrial civilization is to solve the old problems by creating anew one, such as the paradox of so-called “development in economy first andimprovement of environment afterword”, the so-called dilemma between efficiencyand fairness and the so-called separation between aim and its approach. Allthese are derived from the stereo type of either/or and lack of coherence. Butin the eco-civilization, the synergy of all actions and all parties isrequired.
From the above, we can see that social value isnot only the value guidance for social welfare as the interest for all, butalso includes the requirements for the individual and organizational behaviors.It contains not only the concept of the value but also the systems and rules aswell as the comprehensive development of human being, the harmony of thesociety and the intergrowth of man and nature.
Newcognition: How to implement ecological civilization – 3A
After years of thinking, research and piloting,YouChange has created a set of 3A social value assessment system. The systemcan be used for the social value assessment of various types of organizations,including governments, enterprises and social organizations.
The assessment system evaluates and analyzes thesocial value of an organization from 3 aspects: Aim, Approach and Action. In theory, Aim addresses the range of thepublicity, urgency, and fairness of targeted social issues, Approach definesthe innovative and systematic solutions and Action measures the effectivenessof management and execution of an organization. These are key factorsdetermining the “quantity” of social value: The stronger the publicity, urgencyand fairness of the social issues are Aimed; the more innovative and systematicsolutions are Approached; and the stronger the effectiveness of management and executionare Acted, the higher the result of social value is achieved. Assuming that theability of execution is the same, the quantity of social value created can beassessed through a direct comparison between social issues aimed and solutionadopted.
3A is a systematic framework based on the studyof organizational behaviors. Just as the Balanced Score Card, which transferthe performance evaluation into the action, on the basis of organizationstrategy, instead of the traditional financial metrics. 3A will be able toassess the social values of an organization through the analysis of its Aim,Approach and Action. In this assessment framework, there are 3 layers ofindicators: The first layer consists of Aim, Approach and Action, and thesecond and third layers will vary according to the different types of theorganizations evaluated. Currently, this evaluation system is being used for evaluatingenterprises including start-up companies, listed companies, governments andsocial organizations.
3As not only provide a framework for social valueevaluation but also becomes a strategic analysis tool for organizations. At theAim level, analysis can be made on whether the corporate strategy reflects themission and vision of the enterprise and whether the enterprise's endowmentsand resources match the established strategy. At the Approach level, analysiscan be made on whether the business model and the operation and managementmodel support the strategy. At the Action level, the strengths and weaknessesof the organization's execution can be measured and analyzed.
Another most important feature of this frameworkis the emphasis on the consistency among the indicators. The consistencyperspective refers to that the three indicators must be interlinked. Forexample, between Aim and Approach, it will be emphasized to do the right thingin the right way, and the real value and impact must be verified through theresult of Action of an organization.
（Example：A evaluation framework based on socialinnovative enterprise as the goal示例：一个基于社会创新型企业为目标的评估框架）
At present, we can see a variety of evaluationsystems different from the traditional balance sheet appeared in the United States and Europe. For instance, Benefit Corporation (B-Corp),etc. are trying to measure the impact and value of an enterprise organizationincluding economic and a non-economic factors. But the biggest differencebetween 3A standards and these existing evaluation systems, is that 3A isalways mission-driven that is the most fundamental interests of mankind - more justice,more efficient and more sustainable development.
Just as people are not living for eating, buteating is for living. The survival of enterprises in the era of ecologicalcivilization is not just for profit, but profitability is the condition forenterprises to create social value. What we want to do is to drive people’scognitive changes through the advocacy of social value and the implementationof 3A standards. Although not all people have such values, changes will still occurwith the changes of assessment standard. Our aim is to promote such a greatcognitive revolution of the ecological civilization.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The United States is a new country relatively,but on the pinnacle of industrial civilization; China is an ancient country andis having a great rejuvenation. Many people of insights in these two countrieshave realized some endogenous obstacles and contradictions of moderncivilization. Dr. Cobb is one of the most insightful among these people. Inoted that such an impressive international forum has been continued for elevenyears. Please allow me topay our highest tribute to Dr. Cobb, the forerunners in this revolution.