Meet B Team Leader Guilherme Leal

11/17/2017
Leal Q&A

What inspires you?

My inspiration comes from helping to tackle the tough problems we face today and seeking transformation. We are in the middle of the most serious environmental crisis, there’s still huge inequality prevailing in many parts of the world and unconscious capitalism keeps increasing degradation. Is it possible to change this? I believe it is. What inspires me is this belief and the possibility to contribute to it.

Which B Team challenge or initiative are you motivated by most, and how is your company/organization helping to lead on the issue?

I’m very enthusiastic about the Born B movement. We need a broad and deep transformation in the way we do business, which includes making it function to achieve social and environmental goals, not just financial ones. What’s a more effective way to do this than to start from beginning? By creating a community of entrepreneurs that adopt triple bottom line models, perhaps someday these values and practices will become mainstream. Natura is trying to contribute to this goal, sharing its learning and experiences as the first publicly traded B Corp in Latin America and one of the world’s largest.

What convinced you to take on this challenge? Why do you believe that it cannot be achieved without business engagement and leadership?

Capitalism brought many improvements for humankind since industrial revolution — not without a high toll for the  environment and society, as we all now know. Thinking about the challenges we have ahead in the world, we cannot overcome them without the power of businesses to innovate and create better lives. I believe businesses are not only important tools to create the future we envision, they are fundamental.  As is true for many instances in life, balance is key. We need engaged and conscious business leaders to thrive. That is why initiatives and movements like Born B, Conscious Capitalism and B Corporations are so important. So what convinced me take on this challenge is the belief that we can leverage positive impact in the world through business.

What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned on this journey?

An important lesson is that the big changes we seek will not be promoted by a single country, sector or organisation. We need to work in partnership and try to build convergence, to focus and help people and institutions come together around common interests. Transformations do happen when you are able to unite agendas and build commitment around them.

What advice would you give to a young entrepreneur seeking to start a new company today?

The drive to create a company is deeply connected to the aspiration of attending personal needs and generating wealth. Let’s not deny it. However, if one can do that while understanding and addressing the needs and wills of society as a whole, the stakes of feeling more rewarded and personally satisfied are even higher. 

If there is one big change you could make in the world today, what would it be?

That all people understand we are interdependent and must take care of each other and society as a whole to build the foundations of our own happiness.

What one thing would you change to help more companies go further, faster, towards sustainable business?

I would change the concept of success in business. Focusing on financial earnings has only led us astray from creating healthy capitalism. Companies must measure their impact on society and the environment to succeed beyond the bottom line.

What is the first thing you read every morning?

I read the headlines of the three most important newspapers in Brazil (Estado de São Paulo, Folha de São Paulo and Valor Econômico)

If you were given an extra day next week, how would you spend it?

Given only one extra day next week, I would try to “empty the cup”; to permit myself new feelings, relations, insights, and whatever else is new other than scheduled appointments. I would create space to let serendipity emerge. 

This interview is part of a series to help you get to know the B Team leaders, what they are working on and what they are passionate about. You can read Richard Branson’s interview here, Yolanda Kakabadse’s interview here, Sharan Burrow’s interview here, Bob Collymore’s interview here, David Crane’s here, Christiana Figueres’ here, Arif Naqvi’s here, Arianna Huffington’s here and expect a new one each month.

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