John Elkington wants to take sustainability exponential. No pigeon steps on his watch.

As a pioneer of the sustainability movement for over 30 years (since before the concept was born), the prolific author and Chairman/ ‘Chief Pollinator’ of think tank and advisory firm Volans is responsible for coining the well-loved business phrases ‘breakthrough capitalism‘ and ‘triple bottom line‘ (people, planet, profit) – which he has since recalled.  Today his team are focused on the ‘locked-in syndrome’.

As his partners on Project Breakthrough, a site brought to you by the UN Global Compact, together we showcase the people disrupting entire industries to show you how to think differently.  And now it’s John’s turn in the spotlight.

“Our species tends to do its most interesting innovation when it’s backed into a corner. And we’re entering into a U-bend in history. The question is, can we get from that almost inevitable trajectory as we move towards 9-10 million people around the world to a very different set of trajectories which would take us to a better future? I believe we can and that is what we call breakthrough.”

►The Godfather of modern sustainability chats to the Atlas:

John is also Honorary Chairman of the consultancy SustainAbility, which he co-founded in 1987, and has written 19 books. His latest is co-authored with Jochen Zeitz, former CEO of PUMA and now co-chair, with Sir Richard Branson, of The B Team. The book, entitled ‘The Breakthrough Challenge: 10 Ways to Connect Today’s Profits with Tomorrow’s Bottom Line comes full circle from John’s 1997 ‘Cannibals with Forks’, where he first introduced the Triple Bottom Line concept. He also has a wonderful blog, which we’re big fans of.

Buckle up and break through

Buckle up and break through

All videos were produced by Atlas of the Future for Project Breakthrough (United Nations Global Compact/ Volans). Check out our other videos here. Photo credit: Paulo Varella, Photoart