Declaration of Interdependence
Declaration of INTERdependence
The Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. This pivotal document, penned largely by Thomas Jefferson, changed the course of American history. Ironically, not a single of the 13 colonies could have resisted the English crown by themselves. Their celebration of “independence” could also have been framed as a commitment to “interdependence.” Roughly 200 years later thought leaders have come around to form a Declaration of Interdependence.
Think about how interconnected and interdependent you are… as businesses and individuals. Survival really “takes a village.”
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness!
The second sentence of the 1776 Declaration of Independence is perhaps the most famous, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Thomas Jefferson had a way with words, but judging from his duds his outlook may be a little dated.
Since then, people have attempted to update the Declaration, including US Secretary of Agriculture (1933), philosophers and religious leaders in mid-1940’s, Cliff Humphrey (founder of Ecology Action, 1969), Greenpeace (1976), and… In 1975 – 199 years after the original – the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia issued an updated adaptation entitled “The Declaration of Interdependence.” It was more appropriate for the 20th century.
It read, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that the inequalities and injustices which afflict so much of the human race are the product of history and society, not of God or nature; that people everywhere are entitled to the blessings of life and liberty, peace and security and the realization of their full potential; that they have an inescapable moral obligation to preserve those rights for posterity; and that to achieve these ends all the peoples and nations of the globe should acknowledge their interdependence and join together to dedicate their minds and their hearts to the solution of those problems which threaten their survival.”
Wow! Henry Steel Commager had a way with words too.
The 1975 Declaration of Interdependence pointed toward the significance of international law, conservation of natural resources, respect of indigenous cultures, etc. Our thought leaders learned a lot in 200 years, but the learning didn’t stop there.
239 years after Celebrating Independence
When B Corps officially pass the rigorous B Impact Assessment and audit, they sign a more recent adaptation of the Declaration of Interdependence, which focuses more heavily on triple-bottom-line economics and sustainable commerce. It reads:
“We envision a new sector of the economy
which harnesses the power of private enterprise to create public benefit. This sector is comprised of a new type of corporation —the B Corporation — which is purpose driven, and creates benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.
As members of this emerging sector and as entrepreneurs and investors in B Corporations,
We hold these truths to be self-evident:
That we must be the change we seek in the world.
That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.
That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
To do so, requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.”
I’m proud to be an American. I’m proud to be a B Corp. I’m proud of our team and network of support we’ve built in 6 years. I’m proud to live in a city and state that consistently show leadership in social, economic, and environmental policy and practice.
This 4th of July – CELEBRATE INTERDEPENDENCE!