CEO Today - June 2022

business revenues, plus the climate crisis and continued racism have exacerbated social tensions and anxiety. During the height of the pandemic, Vancity offered zero interest working capital loans for small businesses; reduced credit card rates to zero and waived ATM fees for individual customers; bought back foreign currencies at full value from customers whose trips were cancelled; raised $8 million to support local groups helping to reduce homelessness; and created a Unity Term Deposit to support people directly impacted by COVID-19, raising $200 million in 30 days. Vancity also analyses and discloses the greenhouse gas emissions related to loans and investments it finances; gives financial services to disadvantaged people who are outside the banking system; and is committed to DEI, aiming to have 40% of its leadership team comprised of LGBTQ, indigenous, people of colour, and people with disabilities. Bridge Institute Bridge Institute is an organisation that works with an ecosystem of partners from business, government, and non-profits to build peaceful and inclusive communities by helping solve intractable problems (violence in societies, solutions for COVID-19, sexual assault, the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals…). It provides tools to help people close social gaps and work collaboratively. They exemplify how to bring together organisations with divergent backgrounds and competing interests to create meaningful societal value. Their work is exceedingly difficult. As an example, they were asked to help in a country where social conflict and ongoing strife created deep animosity among different groups. In one of the groups was a young person whose father was killed during an uprising. He sought to avenge his father’s death through violent retribution. Bridge Institute was able to get the parties to openly discuss their tensions, focusing on the social beliefs and political factors that encouraged a culture of violence. The process took time, but the parties were committed to finding a resolution. As they gained familiarity, they were increasingly open to the benefits of adopting a non-violent, peace-building mindset, ultimately easing tension between the groups. The young man is now an advocate for peace and non-violence. Skånetrafiken Sweden’s Skånetrafiken is a regional public transportation authority that is radically altering public transportation services that is also leading to demonstrated social benefits. It is an amalgam of different government agencies and local transport firms in the country’s Region Skåne that are working together to become 100% climate-neutral and completely reinvent the urban-travel experience on public buses and trains for its citizens. Buses have reduced their climate emissions by 90% by running on renewable fuels or electricity, closing in on their 100% target. Eco-friendly materials are built into each bus. Nearly 470,000 daily bus trips are made on 14,000 routes, totalling 170 million each year. The carefully planned locations of bus stops in urban residential areas combined with clever public service messages has significantly increased public transportation usage and correspondingly reduced people’s dependence on cars, a vital change since one car emits the same amount of greenhouse gas as 243 train trips, or 107 bus trips. One bus can transport 64 passengers, equivalent to approximately 49 cars. People are walking more to get to the bus stops, too, supporting personal health andwellbeing. The increased use of Skånetrafiken’s public transportation and easily accessible public stations is encouraging people to travel to different parts of the region, expanding their appreciation for and understanding of other communities. Each of these organisations is using new approaches to create societal good as experienced by their stakeholders. They are not repackaging the same old thing for a new year. They are radical brands that are making a positive impact, offering compelling lessons from which we can all learn and benefit. THE DISRUPTORS About the Author John ADavis is an award-winning academic, business leader and author of Radical Business: How to Transform Your Organization in the Age of Global Crisis published by Emerald.

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