The new capitalist

Tania Ellis is founder and managing director of a company with an unusual name, 'The Social Business Company', which provides consultation to companies on corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Ellis, who is of Danish-British extraction, also wears another hat, beautifully. She is author of the famous business book, The New Pioneers.

The book, which has been translated into Thai, focuses on new trends in business such as the Grameen Bank initiated by Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus and progressive corporate projects, like General Electric's "Ecomagination", that mixes social contribution with business and makes a profit.

"In this book, I show companies and entrepreneurs that today it is possible to create solutions to global challenges and do business at the same time. You can do good and you can do well," she said while in Bangkok last month for the book's launch.

Like other fellow writers, Ellis is an avid reader. Her favourite books revolve around her work on sustainable development.

Her first choice is Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, by Janine M. Benyus. "This is one of the most interesting books I have read. It is about how we as human can learn from nature. For centuries we have been trying to dominate and control nature. We have been exploiting resources of nature. But the concept of Biomimicry is about taking and making nature your mentor.

"What we can learn from nature and develop product and solution based on principle of nature. It is wonderful book and in line with whole concept of sustainability."

The other is Future of Money: Beyond Greed and Scarcity, by Belgian economics professor Bernard Lietaer. "In this book, he explains what money is. Because we kind of focus on money as material value creation. Actually, money is a social innovation and I also write about it in my book, so I was inspired by his book. What he said is that the current monetary system that we have is unsustainable because capitalism needs to have two legs and the current version is only one leg. That current version of capitalism creates competition and it is not sustainable in itself.

"The other leg, for example, reflects in the concept of micro loan. It [the concept of micro loan] is social economy, it is reinvesting profit. So it is actually that whole mindsets of social entrepreneurs are exploring and putting into practice what actually is the other leg of capitalism. Comparing with many years of operating with financial gain as bottom line, now companies additionally operate with social bottom line or environmental bottom line. Suddenly, capitalism has more legs and together it becomes sustainable. Very interesting reading, indeed. He goes back to many thousand years back to old communities on how they were exchanging, what kind of money they used."

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