We are living in a time of acceleration. Technological change is advancing at an unrelenting pace. Shifts in the climate are becoming more dramatic. Democratic institutions and cultural values are being increasingly questioned.
Despite the apparent newness of these trends, these problems are not new. They are old, sometimes ancient, and deeply enmeshed in our systems and institutions. So, although this acceleration is troubling, it isn’t the real problem. The acceleration just makes the actual problems more visible. The acceleration is just letting us witness the flaws in the system, which were there from the beginning, faster.
It is the choices made by those living today that matter.
We’re starting from behind, weighed down by a long history of the choices of past generations. To counter these flaws and remake our systems, the solutions will have to be just as fast and emergent. It was the choices of other humans that brought us here today. But it is the choices made by those living today that matter — we will either perpetuate these problems and propel them into the future, or we will fix them and choose to make a better society.
To realize change, we need ethical leadership. We need strong voices and fearless visions from leaders both large and small. We need credos that put sustainability on par with, and sometimes above, profit. We need companies where diversity isn’t an afterthought. We need institutions that teach the coming generations to interrogate and challenge the flaws in our systems and to investigate how they can be solved. We need the voices of passionate youths, the heirs to our successes and failures, to shape the future they will inherit.
Boma is a global network of local partners. We are working to define and support new standards and innovations when it comes to ethical leadership and systemic change. Our purpose is to make positive change actionable and accessible for everyone and to help individuals and organizations discover what they can do to create a more sustainable future.
Here are the specifics of what we’re doing:
Our summits and conferences are geared towards sharing ideas and research — towards bringing together great minds to innovate new solutions. We are committed to promoting cross-disciplinary cooperation and bringing people together from across the socio-economic spectrum. A percentage of tickets at all Boma events are reserved for young entrepreneurs and given to students free of charge, putting them in the room with government leaders and CEOs.
Aside from our summits, we bring people together through dinners, social events, and more. In Paris, for example, Boma France is hosting a series of debates on the most pressing issues of our time across the public libraries of the city.
The goal of our events is to never to merely talk about change. Our goal is to facilitate and create sustained action. Walking out of a Boma event, energized and full of new ideas, we want to make sure everyone has an actionable plan and access to the tools and people that can help them immediately put these ideas into use.
We aim to make sure that every attendee can and will take action. Sometimes that means connecting green entrepreneurs with like-minded investors, contacting congresspeople, or helping each attendee walk away with a personalized action plan related to a global challenge.
Boma’s mission is global. We’re seeking to create an international coalition of partners, drawing together businesses, governments, students, non-profits, universities, scientists, and entrepreneurs. However, our approach is local.
What does that mean?
There will be no one-size-fits-all solution to the many challenges humanity faces. Some ideas will fail. Some will only work in one community or one region. But some solutions will be scalable. If we’re going to change the trajectory of our world, we’re going to need all of these solutions — and Boma is going to seek out the scalable ones, nurture them, and share them across our global network.
Though Boma’s journey is just beginning, we’re pursuing this goal from many angles through our seven country partners.
An integral part of Boma’s success is our Global Braintrust. Members include founders and academics, artists and inventors, writers and thought leaders. This diverse group of brilliant thinkers from around the world designs and calibrates Boma’s agenda in real-time. Their recommendations guide our work. Their knowledge and ethical considerations are used to maximize the impact of our gatherings and educational experiences.
Their expertise means Boma is uniquely placed to be an agile agent of change: in many disciplines, in many communities, and in many countries.
When Boma was conceived, one of the most important questions was whether its mission would be best fulfilled as a for-profit business or a non-profit organization. They both have their virtues: a for-profit structure would be more agile, more financially independent. A non-profit allows for more inclusive programming and community outreach. In the end, we decided to reject the binary and created both.
Boma’s for-profit arm encompasses the Boma Institute and our Country Partners. The former focuses exclusively on executive trainings and corporate programs that are aimed at producing ethical leaders and organizations. The latter focuses on a wide range of experiences that foster local and global cooperation (through partnerships, investments, joint ventures, etc.). All Boma Country Partners will be registered as B-Corporations, meaning they have committed to rigorous standards regarding transparency, environmental consciousness, and social responsibility.
Meanwhile, Boma’s non-profit arm works to support programs for students, offer educational opportunities on for underprivileged and underserved communities, and provide tools and templates for people who want to begin their own movements. Keep an eye on our website for more information as we launch our Boma Communities, and find out how you can be involved.
Notably, every entity in the Boma ecosystem is committed to positive impact and works towards meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
The right investors are crucial to the success of sustainable businesses. If the company and its stakeholders are at odds, if the tension between exponential profit and sustainability is manifest in this relationship, neither can flourish. Besides which, given the hierarchical nature of the relationship between company and stakeholder, it is the sustainable goals that are likely to be compromised and discarded.
Investors will always have a strong voice in our businesses, and so choosing those voices should be as intentional, as deliberate, as every other choice we make in creating our companies. That's why Boma has been particular about choosing its investors. Everyone invested in Boma is committed to our values. They push us towards sustainability, push us towards ethical choices, and push us towards an inclusive vision of the future.
The change required in our systems is, fundamentally, one of values. We must rethink the concepts of loss and profit as it pertains to a company’s impact on the community and world. Profit should not only refer to the financial aspects of our businesses. Profit should include the morale, quality of life, and the health of workers. It should include the environmental impact. And it should be this “ethical profit” we strive to accumulate and this profit that we boast about in boardrooms. The future depends on it. if you have other ideas about how we can better balance profit and purpose, or would like to partner with us on this journey, please get in touch.
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