What is the Regenerative Business Prize?


The regenerative business prize is awarded to a business in pursuit of a Regenerative Business Paradigm, as articulated in the seven “First Principles” of Regeneration.

Regeneration is found only in the world of living systems. It offers us a paradigm for understanding life. Machine and other non-living metaphors cause us to conceive inaccurately. Living Systems offer us a set of First Principles that allow us to understand the world as alive and “at work”. A regenerative approach can be accessed through these seven foundational First Principles.

FIRST Principles of regeneration

These First Principles of regeneration are sourced from and contribute to:

  • Wholes: Engage others developmental (persons, systems, businesses, industries) as alive, connecting with their lives as a whole, Keeps all individuals focused on their effect on the whole. Read more.
  • Essence: Exhibiting singularity, working as “one of one” by increasingly bringing forth essence and non-displaceable uniqueness.Read more.
  • Potential: Initiating with potential, the intention and effect to be achieved, rather than existing problems and issues. Avoiding generic ideals, focusing on specific individuals, entities, to realize more of that Essence potential.Read more.
  • Development: Seeking to grow and develop capacity and capability in each and all entities to realize their essence. Development of critical thinking skills and personal self-determination of function, being and will.Read more.
  • Reciprocity: Operating within living dynamic processes, making “fitting” contributions that benefit system health with care for contributions and outcomes for all. Read more.
  • Nestedness: Embedded within greater and lesser systems, each playing a core role in the success of the whole and other nested wholes. Read more.
  • Nodal: Seeking points for intervention that evoke systemic beneficial effects that have
    significance to the system. Similar to acupuncture, where a single point or set of points are recognized as most effective for systemic regeneration. Read more.

Jan Dietrick, Global Honoree of the Responsible Business Prize, shares how Regenerative First Principles have shaped her thinking.

Learn more.

First Principles of Regeneration

Who can apply & what is required?

Who qualifies for nomination?

“Recipients of the Regenerative Business Prize will be businesses with a deep and extended scope of
aspiration to pursue and achieve shifts in one or more industries, show transformation in a social system, work to unravel and evolve cultural paradigms, and leverage governing agreements to give them
new life and meaning.” – Carol Sanford

Nominees must be one of the following:

  • A For-Profit Business in one of six streams: Fooding, Sheltering, Transacting, Adorning, Recreating, Communing (read more.) Process Consulting is not eligible.
  • Has been profitable for 3 or more years
  • A Not-For-Profit who have 70% of revenue from fees for service.
  • Self-nominations are encouraged. Nominators are to work with the nominee to speak with their own voice, and from their own experience.

There are no size, revenue or other requirements beyond those above.

The 2016 jury

Jeffrey Hollender, Founder of Seventh Generation, B Lab, and Sustain Natural

Jeffrey Hollender is co-founder and former CEO of Seventh Generation. He is currently CEO and founder of Sustain Natural, which developed and markets sustainable sexual wellness products.

Lauren Yarmuth, Portfolio Director, Design for Change Studio at IDEO

Lauren is a portfolio director in IDEO’s Design for Change studio in New York. Her work supports purposeful and systemsbased engagement in business, resource management, the built environment, and communities.

Listen to comments from Lauren on being a judge:
Comment 1, Comment 2, Comment 3

Dr. Sarah, Slaughter CEO, Built Environment Coalition, Co-Founder of MIT Sustainability Initiative, founder of MOCA Systems

Dr. Sarah Slaughter is president and founder of the Built Environment Coalition, a research and education nonprofit (501c3) organization. She is also currently a visiting lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

Listen to comments from Sarah on Being a Judge: Comment 1, Comment 2, Comment 3, Comment 4, Comment 5

Pamela Mang, Founder of Regenesis Group, co-author of Regenerative Design and Development

Pamela Mang is a founding principal of Regenesis Group, and a founding faculty member of the Regenesis Institute. Regenesis is an ecological consultancy that pioneered regenerative development, educating businesses and communities in becoming life-generating, co-evolving partners with nature.

Listen to comments from Pamela on being a judge: Comment 1, Comment 2, Comment 3

Manoj Fenelon, Faculty, Pratt Institute and School of Visual Arts’ Design for Social Innovation Program, former Director of Innovation, Pepsico

Manoj Fenelon is an intrapreneur and an “internal activist”, exploring opportunities to create new value at the intersection of business and societal interests. He is a First Mover Fellow at the Aspen Institute, working to build cross-sector, multistakeholder consensus in favor of integrated water stewardship.

Pam Hinds, Professor at Stanford University, Department of Engineering and Managing Science

Dr. Pamela J. Hinds is professor and co-director of Stanford University’s Center on Work, Technology, and Organization in the Department of Management Science and Engineering.

Listen to comments from Pamela on Being a Judge:
Comment 1, Comment 2, Comment 3, Comment 4

John Fullerton, Founder of the Capital Institute, 100% Investment Club

John Fullerton is the founder and president of Capital Institute, a collaborative working to illuminate how our economy and financial system can operate to promote a more just, regenerative, and thus sustainable way of living on this earth.

KoAnn Skrzyniarz Founder of Sustainable Life Media and Sustainable Brands

KoAnn Skrzyniarz is the Founder and CEO of Sustainable Life Media and Sustainable Brands. Under her leadership, the Sustainable Brands community has grown dramatically since it began in 2006, and has become the premier international community of sustainable business innovators

Learn more about the members of the Regenerative Business Jury

SIX essential value-adding processes of life

Material Transforming Value-Adding Business Streams

1. FOODING – Businesses that nourish life, e.g. agriculture, restaurants, food service, food innovation, nutrition.

2. SHELTERING – Businesses that enable transitions across space and time, e.g. planners, designers, builders, ecologists, forest products, remediation, restoration, hotels, workspaces.

3. TRANSACTING – Businesses that enable boundary crossing through systemizing partnering and exchange platforms, e.g. investing, energy, crowd sourcing.)

Spirit Lifting Value-Adding Business Streams

4. ADORNING – Businesses that signify belonging and identity, e.g. art, jewelry, decorating, body as art, cosmetics, garden design, match-making.

5. RECREATING – Businesses that promote wellness and reconnection to personal meaning and expression, e.g. health, yoga, eco-tourism.

6. COMMUNING – Businesses that connect and harmonize humans with higher energies thereby evoking spirit, e.g. sacred ecology experiences, spiritual tourism, regenerative schools.

Congratulations to the 2016 honorees

2016 Regenerative Business Prize for Fooding:
Rincon-Vitova Insectaries — Ventura, CA (podcast)

2016 Regenerative Business Prize for Sheltering:
Manens-Tifs — Verona, Italy (podcast)

2016 Regenerative Business Prize for a Not-for-Profit
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens — Pittsburgh, PA

2016 Regenerative Business Prize for Transacting:
SolarCity — San Mateo, CA ( Podcast)

2016 Regenerative Business Prize for Adorning:
Lush Cosmetics — United Kingdom
W. S. Badger Company — Gilsum, NH

2016 Regenerative Business Prize for Recreating:
Bureo — Santiago, Chile
Herban Feast — Seattle, WA

2016 Regenerative Business Prize for Communing:
Playa Viva — Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Global Honoree:
2016 Regenerative Business Prize Honoree Rincon-Vitova Insectaries — Ventura, CA
Read their nomination.

How Rubric Works – The Matrix of Regenerative Dynamic

The Rubric is an instrument for any business or organization to assess and design their own evolution to working from a Regenerative Paradigm. It is three dimensions which work in a systemic way.

FIRST DYNAMIC: The Rubric offers a comparison of three paradigms which businesses use. Listen to the opening talk of the 2016 Summit (link) to learn more about these three paradigms and how the Regenerative Paradigm is differentiated from Conventional and Progressive paradigms of work. Practices in the conventional and progressive paradigms tend to undermine and distract from seeing the regenerative way of working. Nominations submitted that confuse which paradigm is being used may lose points during the judging process. However, nominators will be allowed to redo nominations in the early stages, as our hope is to increase capacity for discernment between the different paradigms.

SECOND DYNAMIC: No business or person decides to move toward working from a regenerative paradigm and is there immediately. It is a journey. We have attempted to replicate that journey by giving points for being on the journey in order to encourage uplifting of aspirations and capability to stay on a path. Each phase moves the measures and actions to take a greater and greater system into account.

The path is represented by four phases:

  1. Intention (represented broadly in business published statements and planning documents). This may be strongly internally held but externally announced
  2. Endeavors/ Efforts (represented by projects, budget expenditures and cessation of efforts that are conventional and progressive with replacements). This phase is apparent to employees and suppliers, as well as industry observers and customers.
  3. Results (the business experience a return and shift in their market position or customers relationship as a result of endeavors and efforts from the new paradigm.) This includes financial effectiveness but also significant progress on aims and goals of the endeavor. This phase is apparent to stakeholders of the business, including investors.
  4. Effects – when a business has systemic beneficial effects on social and planetary imperatives. (e.g. they help evolve a working democracy, improve social systems like criminal justice or that provide guidance to societal impacts, ecological changes and evolution in their industry’s way of working). This fourth phase is apparent in a very public way, including to institutional watchers. It is recognized by those promoting progress on global imperatives (social and planetary).

THIRD DYNAMIC: Use of the First Principles of Regeneration as planning, design and assessment instruments, increasingly working with them as a system.Read More.

See a video about the first principles.

Scoring – The First Principles are seven distinct perspectives, but also work as an interactive system. We score the points for them separately. On each principle, the four phases are considered. It is also possible to lose points when the practices from the other two paradigms (traditional and progressive) distort or diminish.

2017 Nomination process

Seven Phases to increase depth and preparation

    1. Pre-proposal Submissions: March 1 – April 15
      Smaller concept pre-proposal papers are requested using the pre-proposal form. This step is new in 2017 and is highly recommended.
    2. Pre-proposal Review: April 15 – 30
      Pre-proposal papers are reviewed and returned with written comments to help on the next round. Reviews will fall into three categories:
      strongly encouraged to submit, encouraged to submit, or needs work.
    1. Application Process Webinar: May 5
      Nominators are invited to attend a webinar on the application process. Advice will be given on how to increase scores on the Rubric. The webinar will be recorded and posted for later viewing or review. This is also new and is highly recommended.
    2. Nomination Period: May 1 – 19
      Companies are nominated using the nomination form, describing how the nominee uses principles of regeneration. Self-nomination is highly encouraged. An interview with the business’ founder is highly
      recommended to inform the nomination content. Click here for a rubric to help guide this interview and further outline the prize criteria. Click here for a sample nomination form, submitted by the Global Honoree of the 2016 Regenerative Business Prize.
  1. Semi-finalists & Jury Panel announced: June 5
    Semi-finalists for the Regenerative Business Prize will be announced across each of the six core value streams of fooding, sheltering, transacting, adorning, recreating, and communing. Check this page for the list of our twenty one semi-finalists for the 2016 Regenerative Business Prize. Members of the Regenerative Business Prize Jury will also be announced. Learn more about the 2016 jurists.
  2. Finalists announced: August 18
    Six finalists are announced—one in each of the six value-adding business streams – through a press release.
  3. Global Honoree announced September 25 – Seattle, WA
    The Global Honoree of the Regenerative Business Prize is announced at the celebration dinner and launch of the Regenerative Business Summit in Seattle, Washington.

Fabio Viero said that “even applying for the prize” had a positive effect on the business. Listen to his comments.

stay connected! build capacity! be in community!

Newsletter and Blog

Sign up for our summit only newsletter to stay up to date and get an invite. Plus, check out our blog for more on regeneration.

Regenerative Business Community

We will be offering a series for small businesses, in growth mode, in 2018 in two locations: Northern Europe and Seattle. Dates to be announced in October. Ask for more info at carol@carolsanford.com.

Change Agent Development Series

Learn more here. By invitation only. Request a conversation at carol@carolsanford.com.

The Regenerative Business Summit 2017

The Regenerative Business Summit is created by Carol Sanford Institute

Hold the Dates: Sept 25-27, 2017 in Seattle, WA.

Here you can create the content that will be used within the module.