Green Swans - The coming boom in regernative capitalism

John Elkington, 2020, Fast Company Press, 248 P., English



  • Innovation und Veränderung

25 years after he introduced the so-called triple bottom line: “People, Planet, Prosperity”, John Elkington wrote another book extending this concept with the keywords “Responsibility”, “Resilience” and “Regeneration”. Especially the last term is essential for his metaphor of a “Green Swan” he uses to describe regenerative capitalism. Swans have an inherent potential for transformation, that’s why he has chosen those animals.

Altogether, John Elkington distinguishes between two main poles: The Green and the Black Swans. To create the first one, the Green Swans – representing regenerative capitalism – it is necessary to plan and work towards ensuring economic, social, and environmental wealth. On the contrary are the Black Swans outlining the actual market situation. They therefore are unplanned, degenerative, and increasingly unsustainable. Elkington states: “Green Swans often evolve as responses to earlier Black Swans problems”. To be more specific, here are some examples given by the author: Black Swans caused the outbreak of the World War 1, the Spanish flu epidemic, spread of meat-based diets and fossil-powered cars whereas Green Swans are understood as cause of rapid rise of environmentalism (renewable energy, green bonds, development of plant-based alternatives to meat) and Green Deals, for instance.

The content of the book is kept simple and sometimes too simple due to the clear and definite distinction between “Good and Bad”. Nevertheless, John Elkington is once again drawing a vivid scenario on how we can support the big transformation needed and what could be our green future.

Tripl3Leader recommends this book as a must read for everyone wondering if capitalism and climate protection can go hand in hand.


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