Incorporating Gross National Happiness (GNH) in corporate governance could lead to sustainable economic wellbeing in the corporate world.

At the seventh International Conference on GNH of Business in Thimphu, chief communications and sustainability officer at AJE group, Jorge Lopez Doriga said that the time has come to implement a new economic system that focuses on how corporations could collaborate to achieve sustainable, balanced and significant results.

He cited an example of an AJE sustainable project at Machu Picchu, Peru, a UNESCO cultural heritage site and its transformation into a sustainable city in Latin America.

The city was at risk of waste produced by more than 2,000 tourists visiting the citadel of Machhu Picchu every day. The waste could not be processed due to lack of machinery. He claimed that the AJE group donated a compacting plant to process the waste and later started a biodiesel plant to use vegetable oil produced from homes and restaurants in the City of Machu Picchu.

He said that the group has been adopting the GNH model but the bigger purpose was to develop into a corporation that is at the service of the environment.

Pablo Leporati from Argentina shared about the challenges involved in creating awareness of the GNH concept.

“We come from the historical process of having a military dictatorship that uses information against the people. We have to face a lot of factors- we have unions, presidents and lot of middle and small enterprises which consist of more than 50 percent that don’t have the holistic concepts of coexisting with nature and sustainable culture,” Pablo Leporati said.

While it is important to create awareness on the wellbeing of the people, he said that for Argentina, the question is more important than answers. “Questions trigger the way we think. We would take the responsibility to spread the cause,” he said.

Lilia Khousnoutdinova from the Czech Republic said that the launch of GNH assessment tool was what her team was looking forward to. However, she said that the implementation of GNH concepts differs.

“The GNH concept here in Bhutan is a state policy while it’s not the intention or the agenda of our government. It is gathering of individuals, companies and nongovernment organisations that create a network that we are interested in to practice better governance,” she said.  “The concept existed before but it was in the form of ideas used for better business practices.”

Her first GNH-based study in the Czech Republic and its implications on business conducted based on the four pillars and nine domains found that the men in her country are happier than women; the educated and healthy people are happier than the unhealthy and less educated individuals.

A total of 179 participants, which include politicians, business owners, CEOs, academics and students from across the world dealing with GNH concepts are attending the international conference that ends today.