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21, September 2022


There’s a saying that you should ask forgiveness, not permission. It’s meant to remove the fear. To inspire a ‘fail fast’ attitude. "Don’t worry if it doesn’t work. Just pick yourself up and go again!"

Which is great. And has many merits. But the thinking falls down when you apply it to the planet.

For decades, business asked neither forgiveness nor permission. It pursued the idea of infinite growth at the expense of all else. Then business got a little bit more conscientious and started asking forgiveness – while, some might argue, continuing with business as usual. Offsetting (or balancing) is crucial, but is also largely a collective apology to the planet for all we’ve done to harm it.

Today it's time to turn that saying around and start moving towards permission, not forgiveness.

That’s what our appointing Nature to our board is intended to do. By bringing Nature into the conversation before, not after, we can make better informed, more responsible decisions. We are given the opportunity not to make mistakes, and to work with Nature in a wholly more constructive way.

It’s about opening up a dialogue, hearing all perspectives — not only human perspectives, but those of the natural world too — and accepting that there may need to be compromise.

Asking for guidance is half way towards asking permission.

But none of this would have been possible without the Rights of Nature movement. If Nature has no rights, no legal standing and no personhood, how can we ask it anything?

Which is why we consider the Rights of Nature as fundamental to the health of our planet going forward and intrinsic to our own business operations. It’s also why we’re asking all businesses to do as we’ve done, and recognise those rights within the constitutions of your companies. Head over here, and we’ll tell you how.