You want to change the world? Then lobby Coca Cola

by Lorenzo Piccoli

Long story short: Mindo and I have turned one of the room of our house into a B&B. We have had some very nice guests and it is a lot of fun. (By the way: if you want to be our guest, then make a reservation online). Nick was our last guest. He is the CEO of a British company and it was really nice talking with him.

So we were discussing about what motivates you to work. Of course, most of the people want to make money out of their job. This is a perfectly rational behavior. But some people want more: they seek a purpose in what they do, they want to change the world for the better. The question usually is: How do you want to change the world? It is a common belief that if you have such a grand ideal, then you should probably be working for governments, international organizations, or NGOs. Problem is: these institutions are either inherently conservative, too slow, or too weak to produce social change. The private sector, instead – and this was Nick’s argument – has the tools to bring about positive innovation by putting pressures on governments to traduce those innovations into social change. His example: Coca Cola controls a huge percentage of the sugar market in the world. If Coca Cola decides to impose higher ethical rules on the production, then all its competitors will have to follow. And this will put pressure on governments to adapt to the changing standards. So if you have a grand purpose in life, if you want to change the world, Nick says that you should be working for the private sector.