Creating and Promoting Values

February 16, 2021 ~ Written by: W.B. “Bud” Kirchner
Approx. Read Time: 16 Minutes

“We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.” – Longfellow


On the back of several articles written on various approaches to dealing with what we have categorized as ‘full catastrophe living’, I find myself stepping back and looking at current events from the perspective I am most familiar with – business.

In other words, how has this current situation affected business – particularly from the perspective of Kirchner Group’s priority of “creating value while promoting values”? Collectively and individually, each and every member of our group lives their life and career consistent with our ‘why statement’. Our reputation in this regard was recently highlighted in a Forbes article: (

Beyond our actions, we have been active in promoting these ideas for many years via our Business Brain Model platform:

How are things going?

“Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.” – Augustine of Hippo

creating values

So – with this, you can imagine how we feel when we see these recent headlines from credible sources:

I quote two excerpts from the last article above (LA Times) to illustrate the ‘big picture’:

“In a report for the sustainability group Future Earth, a survey of scientists found that extreme weather events, food insecurity, freshwater shortages and the broad degradation of life-sustaining ecosystems have the potential to impact and amplify one another in ways that might cascade to create global systemic collapse. A 2019 report from the Breakthrough National Center for Climate Restoration, a think tank in Australia, projected that a rapidly warming world of depleted resources and mounting pollution would lead to a largely uninhabitable Earth and a breakdown of nations and the international order. Analysts in the U.S. and British military over the past two years have issued similar warnings of climate- and environment-driven chaos.”

“Of course, if you are a nonhuman species, collapse is well underway. Ninety-nine percent of the tall grass prairie in North America is gone, by one estimate; 96% of the biomass of mammals — biomass is their weight on Earth — now consists of humans, our pets and our farm animals; nearly 90% of the fish stocks the U.N. monitors are either fully exploited, over exploited or depleted; a multiyear study in Germany showed a 76% decline in insect biomass.”


“People don’t care about how much you know until they first know how much you care.” – Zig Ziglar

As is often the case, desperate times (per this world) cast a light into the darkest corners of society. In this case, I am thinking about the world of business.

Having (hopefully) illustrated that we still have a long way to go, I thought I would illustrate two approaches – one academic and the other business. I suppose you could say the following review has a foot in each of theory and practice. I provide an example of the ‘leading edge’ in each category.

Academia has some ideas

“To educate a person in the mind, but not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” – Theodore Roosevelt

While I generally try not to go too deep into “academic” literature, they can sometimes create context for presenting the ‘big picture’ including cause and effect.

In this context, I direct you to an article focused on one of the many salient points – CEO greed.

(CEO Greed, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Organizational Resilience to Systemic Shocks by Miha Sajko, Christophe Boone, Tine Buyl (#11)

I encourage you to read the article, but given it is some 40+ pages (welcome to academia), I will share a few salient points via quotes as follows:

“Reflecting on the devastating consequences of the 2008 global financial crisis (GFC) in his address to General Motors employees, President Obama (2009) condemned the corporate “attitude that’s prevailed in Washington and Wall Street . . . for far too long; an attitude that valued wealth over work and selfishness over sacrifice and greed over responsibility.” Echoing this sentiment, both scholars and the media have suggested that the unbridled selfishness of top executives may be detrimental to the livelihood of organizations and to the welfare of broader society.”

“We explore how CEO greed shapes firms’ stances toward corporate social responsibility (CSR) and how this, in turn, affects firms’ resilience to systemic shocks, of which the 2008 GFC was a prime example.”

“As the insatiable acquisition of wealth is a hallmark of greed (Wang & Murnighan, 2011), we suggest that the willingness of greedy CEOs to invest in CSR will be especially sensitive to different types of pay instruments, such as bonuses and restricted stocks.”

“We build on recent findings from research on CSR that suggest that stakeholder engagement is a defining feature of resilient organizations.”

“On the basis of these insights, we expect that, due to low CSR investment, firms led by greedy CEOs will experience greater losses in the short run, as manifested in a drop in these firms’ stock price in the immediate aftermath of a systemic shock, and they will need more time to recover.”

Business has some answers

“It’s not hard to make a decision when you know what your values are.” – Roy E. Disney

The following is consistent with the thesis I have proposed many times – namely that business not only has a social responsibility, but it is uniquely suited with relevant skills and experience to address many of our social ills.

One of the best “new” ideas is well described in the following article: Amsterdam Is Embracing a Radical New Economic Theory to Help Save the Environment. Could It Also Replace Capitalism? (Time) (#6)

I have taken the liberty of categorizing direct quotes of what I consider salient points from the above:


  • “They reassess the impact of the existing economic system.”
  • “Is it actually making us healthy and happy? What do we want? Is it really just economic growth?” (This is a quote from Jennifer Drouin from the above article)
  • “Theory of “doughnut economics.” Laid out by British economist Kate Raworth in a 2017 book, the theory argues that 20th century economic thinking is not equipped to deal with the 21st century reality of a planet teetering on the edge of climate breakdown. Instead of equating a growing GDP with a successful society, our goal should be to fit all of human life into what Raworth calls the “sweet spot” between the “social foundation,” where everyone has what they need to live a good life, and the “environmental ceiling.” By and large, people in rich countries are living above the environmental ceiling. Those in poorer countries often fall below the social foundation. The space in between: that’s the doughnut.”
  • “Good quality of life, but without putting more pressure on the planet than is sustainable.”
  • “Marieke van Doorninck, the deputy mayor for sustainability and urban planning, says “I think in the darkest times, it’s easiest to imagine another world.”
  • “It requires stakeholders to decide what benchmarks would bring them inside the doughnut—emission limits, for example, or an end to homelessness.”
  • “Goal of getting “into the doughnut” should replace governments’ and economists’ pursuit of never-ending GDP growth.”
  • “Economics is a social science, not a natural one. It’s invented by people, and it can be changed by people.”
  • “In July, Raworth’s DEAL group published the methodology it used to produce the “city portrait” that is guiding Amsterdam’s embrace of the doughnut, making it available for any local government to use. “This is the crisis,” she says. “We’ve made sure our ideas are lying around.”


  • “Some conservatives say the doughnut model can’t compete with capitalism’s proven ability to lift millions out of poverty. Some critics on the left say the doughnut’s apolitical nature means it will fail to tackle ideology and political structures that prevent climate action.”
  • “ Raworth acknowledges that for low- and middle-income countries to climb above the doughnut’s social foundation, “significant GDP growth is very much needed.” But that economic growth needs to be viewed as a means to reach social goals within ecological limits.”
  • Still, some economists are skeptical of the idealism. In his 2018 review of Raworth’s book, Branko Milanovic, a scholar at CUNY’s Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality, says for the doughnut to take off, humans would need to “magically” become “indifferent to how well we do compared to others, and not really care about wealth and income.”

Case Studies

  • “Copenhagen’s city council majority decided to follow Amsterdam’s example in June, as did the Brussels region and the small city of Dunedin, New Zealand, in September, and Nanaimo, British Columbia, in December. In the U.S., Portland, Ore., is preparing to roll out its own version of the doughnut, and Austin may be close behind.”
  • “ Anyone wanting to build on Beach Island, for example, will need to provide a “materials passport” for their buildings, so whenever they are taken down, the city can reuse the parts.”
  • “The city arranged collections of old and broken laptops from residents who could spare them, hired a firm to refurbish them and distributed 3,500 of them to those in need. “It’s a small thing, but to me it’s pure doughnut,” says van Doorninck.”
  • “Citizen-led groups focused on the doughnut that are forming in places including São Paulo, Berlin, Kuala Lumpur and California bring the potential to transform their own areas from the bottom up.”


“You never change things by fighting against the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.” – Richard Buckminster Fuller


  1. Ben BainSEC Says It’s Investigating Stock Mania for Potential Misconduct
  2. Denise ChowDoomsday Clock remains at 100 seconds to midnight — perilously close to catastrophe
  3. Vanessa Fuhrmans – Where Are All the Women CEOs?
  4. Christopher Ketcham and Jeff Gibbs – Op-Ed: Collapseologists are warning humanity that business-as-usual will make the Earth uninhabitable
  5. Rick MoyleCorporate greed soars but workers are grounded
  6. Ciara Nugent – Amsterdam Is Embracing a Radical New Economic Theory to Help Save the Environment. Could It Also Replace Capitalism?
  7. Akane Otani –  Wall-Streeters Founder Reckons With Legacy Amid Stock-Market Frenzy
  8. Reuters StaffChurch of England head says EU vaccine stance undercuts its ethics
  9. Greg RosalskyEconomics Still Has A Diversity Problem
  10. Dominic RusheJP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon is paid $31.5m after decrying income inequality
  11. Miha Sajko, Christophe Boone, Tine BuylCEO Greed, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Organizational Resilience to Systemic Shocks
  12. University of DelawareCorporate greed: That gut feeling you have about your CEO is spot on

Business Brain Model articles:

  1. Is There Any Explanation for the Way We Act? Part 1: Review of Past Perspectives on Ethics and Values in Business
  2. Is There Any Explanation for the Way We Act? Part 2: Latest Insight from a Lost and Found Situation
  3. Takers – A Result of the Imp of the Perverse – Part 1
  4. “Takers”- Adding Another Perspective to the Discussion
  5. There Is A Special Place In Hell For Takers
  6. Makers & Takers: Why Can’t We Get This Right
  7. Creating Innovation: A Recipe for Innovation Stew
  8. Human Nature As A Cause
  9. Financialization As A Symptom
  10. Is There Something Wrong with Our Wiring?
  11. Positioning Between the Poles: Is right really right and wrong really wrong?
  12. Two Steps Forward – One Step Back

About the Author: W.B. “Bud” Kirchner is a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist with more than 50 years of business success. He is not a scientist or an academic but he does have a diversified exposure to neuroscience, psychology and related cognitive sciences. Generally speaking, the ideas he expresses here are business-angled expansions of other people’s ideas, so when possible, he will link to the original reference.