Creative Capitalism

Page 10 of the reading (E-module 15, CISL) about “Creative Capitalism” proposed by Bill Gates (creating profit while helping the poor) interests me a lot. I was reading Creative Capitalism: A Conversation with Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Other Economic Leaders (written by Michael Kinsley) in the past months. At the 2008 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Bill Gates first presented the creative capitalism idea in which multinationals, the distinguishing feature of the modern global economy, integrate doing good into their way of doing business. Such controversial new idea is discussed and debated by over forty contributors to this book, among them three Nobel prize winner and former American cabinet secretaries. Creative Capitalism challenges the conventional wisdom about our economic theory, a blueprint for the new global economy that is emerging as capitalism caters itself once again to a rapidly changing world.

My fellow cohort classmates would know that I’m passionate about education and is taking a deep dive into the Confucianism world. According to Confucius, “education is for everyone, irrespective of background”. Therefore, education is facing a similar dilemma as the Creative Capitalism idea proposed by Bill Gates, which is, the necessity to strike a delicate balance between profit-making versus social responsibility. Back in 2011, the US Government promulgated the “No Child Left Behind Act” to encourage “education is for everyone, irrespective of background”.

Understandably, similar dilemma and considerations are applicable to healthcare industry especially in light of the rapidly ageing population. How do governments around the world ensure all walks of life, whether the rich or the poor, have access to quality healthcare at affordable rates, is a big policy issue and a focus of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

When 90-year old Mr Li Ka Shing (Asia’s richest man) announced his retirement few weeks ago, he explicitly mentioned education and healthcare are the two areas in which Mr Li and his family foundation would like to focus on post retirement. This echoes what Bill Gates (besides numerous other billionaires post retirement) has proposed and is pursuing.

Education and healthcare are closest to my heart. Very keen to follow how these two industries (globally) evolve to achieve dual bottom-line in the years to come.

 

Education based on Confucius philosophy

My personal leadership opportunity is to promote Confucius learning/education amongst young kids and teenagers in Kong Kong.

I think it matters (because according to Chinese saying) to build a harmonious society, Confucius believes in upholding humaneness (Rén), righteousness (Yì), reason (Lǐ), wisdom (Zhì), integrity (Xìn), respect (Xiào), bravery (Yǒng) and loyalty (Zhōng). These are all important moral values which everyone should learn from early childhood.

Plus I sit on the board of Confucius Hall of Hong Kong Limited (CHHK), a NGO in Hong Kong with over 80 years of history whose mandate is to promote Confucian learning across all walks of lives in Hong Kong.

Along with CHHK, we are rolling out a new K-12 (kindergarten to Year 12) school in Causeway Bay Hong Kong.

Interestingly, Confucian has a strong connection with sustainability!

The Confucian view of sustainability can be seen from three parts: (1) Humans should follow the murmuring of their ‘heart/mind’ and seek to restrict the use of natural resources as much as possible to ‘let every being manifest its mandate to the full’; (2) Harmony with nature is a premise for sustaining humanity; and (3) Finally, taking care of the fundamental needs of the people is a premise for ecological sustainability (Jan Erik Christensen, 2017).

This personal leadership opportunity is ambitious because Confucianism was developed in China over 2,500 years ago thus the younger generation may perceive Confucius beliefs and theories as out-of-fashion.

On the other hand, I think this opportunity is realistic because many celebrities and role-models (ie politicians / business leaders / NGOs) and leading corporates in Greater China and Asia (eg Cheung Kong/Hutchison Whampoa, CP Group) are long-term supporters and adopters of Confucius philosophy.

Best way to judge whether I have succeeded is to survey parents and grandparents of kids and teenagers in 1 year after rollout of the relevant Confucian learning / education.

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Very inspiring article. I hold the same belief as Adam that shared economy is a mega trend and can help address multiple SDGs concurrently across the globe. Having a supportive regulatory regime is vital to groom up-and-coming shared economy start-ups such as JustPark. Notwithstanding that Hong Kong has a close historical relationship with the U.K., Hong Kong’s currency regulatory framework does not allow companies like UBER or AirBnB to operate freely in the city. As an example,
over twenty UBER drivers were arrested by the Hong Kong police (due to absence of hire car permits and third-party insurance) in May 2017. While car pooling in Hong Kong is legal, the Road Traffic Regulation disallows the carriage of passengers for hire or reward without a permit. In a recent survey commissioned by the Sharing Economy Alliance, 70% of respondents in Hong Kong said the government was overly conservative and protective of vested interests in the context of promoting the sharing economy. It rated Hong Kong as lacking behind not only global leaders Singapore and Seoul, but also neighboring Shenzhen and Taipei, in terms of innovation and technology. In contrast, China is a global leader in peer-to-peer lending, accommodation and transport sectors, which largely benefit production and consumption and spur sustainable economic growth. In March 2016, Premier Li Keqiang praised the sharing economy sector and said it can energize the economy as a whole owing to its ability to optimize the use of idle resources. Hong Kong’s new chief executive Carrie Lam has established a Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Unit to actively review related policies and regulations. We are hopeful that Hong Kong can (through construction of “smart city” and public-private partnership etc) catchup and breakthrough on shared economy development.

Sharing is caring

Very inspiring article. I hold the same belief as Adam that shared economy is a mega trend and can help address multiple SDGs concurrently across the globe. Having a supportive regulatory regime is vital to groom up-and-coming shared economy start-ups such as JustPark. Notwithstanding that Hong Kong has a close historical relationship with the U.K., Hong Kong’s currency regulatory framework does not allow companies like UBER or AirBnB to operate freely in the city. As an example,
over twenty UBER drivers were arrested by the Hong Kong police (due to absence of hire car permits and third-party insurance) in May 2017. While car pooling in Hong Kong is legal, the Road Traffic Regulation disallows the carriage of passengers for hire or reward without a permit. In a recent survey commissioned by the Sharing Economy Alliance, 70% of respondents in Hong Kong said the government was overly conservative and protective of vested interests in the context of promoting the sharing economy. It rated Hong Kong as lacking behind not only global leaders Singapore and Seoul, but also neighboring Shenzhen and Taipei, in terms of innovation and technology. In contrast, China is a global leader in peer-to-peer lending, accommodation and transport sectors, which largely benefit production and consumption and spur sustainable economic growth. In March 2016, Premier Li Keqiang praised the sharing economy sector and said it can energize the economy as a whole owing to its ability to optimize the use of idle resources. Hong Kong’s new chief executive Carrie Lam has established a Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Unit to actively review related policies and regulations. We are hopeful that Hong Kong can (through construction of “smart city” and public-private partnership etc) catchup and breakthrough on shared economy development.

The Case for Change

One of the concepts that struck me most vividly at the first workshop, and that I found most interesting when reading more about sustainable production and consumption, was the idea of a “sharing economy”. What I found particularly captivating is the thinking that businesses can focus their activities on fulfilling a user’s needs, rather than providing products or services that they believe users will require.

There have been significant changes to the macro landscape over the past 20 years which have set the scene for the sharing economy to develop. Firstly, there have been technological changes, such as the expansion of the internet leading to the ability to deliver services in new and innovative ways. Secondly, we have seen economic changes, including the financial market crash in 2008. Thirdly, there have been changes to the political environment, including recent developments such as Brexit, and finally social changes, as younger generations…

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Foodtech and sustainability

Fintech and Edutech are buzz words we hear a lot lately. In my mind, foodtech is becoming a major game changer in the sustainable production and consumption world. In recent years, I have been closely following some of the world’s leading food technology companies particularly those producing plant-based meats/eggs. That reminds me about opting for vegetarian dishes instead of beef/steak at Garden Restaurant during our first workshop at Robinson College. Hopefully, more vegetables and less meat can help reduce burden on carbon emissions! First movers such as Hampton Creek and Beyond Meat attempted to provide more sustainable and affordable alternatives to replace similar functionalities in egg/meat across an array of food. Celebrities like Bill Gates and Li Ka Shing are early investors. These startups have pushed global food giants such as Unilever and General Mills to step up R&D in sustainable food (albeit Unilever is already at the forefront of sustainability globally). CEO Tetrick claimed that Hampton Creek’s plant-based products are almost 50% cheaper than conventional chicken egg, which means this type of healthier and more environmentally-friendly food products can be enjoyed by mass market consumers in coming years. Earlier this year, Hampton Creek even announced the plan to develop lab-grown meat. They should be well received by consumers in Asia and Brazil etc given food safety is a hot topic in these geographies. Separately, I believe food and beverage that carry low GI (Glycemic Index) will be increasingly popular too. GI is a measure of the blood glucose-raising potential of the carbohydrate content of a food. Simply put, low GI food can potentially reduce risks of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and obseity which are key healthcare threats in both the developed and developing world. To conclude, consumers can expect to see much more creative + green + inexpensive food products on the shelves of specialty food retailers going forward. Have you tried a Just Mayo egg as yet?