Friday, June 18, 2010

Windhorse:Evolution set out 10-point vision

The great stupa at the heart of Uddiyana,
the Windhorse warehouse in Cambridge
Windhorse:Evolution is Triratna’s largest and most successful Right Livelihood business, with an annual turnover of some UK £10m and an impressive record of dana, or generosity, to many Buddhist and social projects around the world.

To coincide with Keturaja taking over as their new Managing Director (see yesterday’s story on Triratna News) they’ve been clarifying their vision and core values, and we’re delighted to reproduce them below.

In addition they’ve a new advert out on Triratna Jobs - looking for men to join them in the Uddiyana (Windhorse) warehouse over the 2010 Xmas period: besides their standard support package, they’re offering a generous £1,000 grant towards an individual’s retreat or study programme.

Keturaja says -

“Over the last six months there has been a lot of discussion about the future vision of Windhorse:Evolution. We have moved out of survival mode and are able to look ahead and ask the questions ‘what is important to us?’ and ‘where do we want to go from here?’ In the Management Forum, we have been exploring this question. We’ve also met with the trustees of the Windhorse Trust to get a broader perspective on these questions, and in January many of us participated in a ‘conversation café’ where we explored these questions.

“I was heartened to see some common themes emerge around which there is a high degree of consensus. We are a Buddhist-led business, which means that the inspiration for our vision has its roots in the wider Buddhist vision for humanity. This is one of supporting the growth and unfolding of human potential - helping individuals to grow in awareness, compassion and insight.

“I want to draw out ten of these key themes that came up again and again in our discussions. They are ten themes on which I believe we can base the future direction and development of the business.

“In presenting these themes I don’t see a great shift in our overall direction. I think what has emerged is still very much true to the founding aims of the business. I am keen however that we are clearer about what our collective vision is and that we are able to articulate it both to ourselves, and to those outside the business – our customers and others in our Buddhist movement.

“Our vision looking outwards to the world is to run a financially successful business, taking less for ourselves, in order that we can maximise the money we give away. We want to run an ethical business that operates with an awareness of our impact on the environment. We want to exemplify the advantages of Team Based Right Livelihood and support the development of similar businesses.

1) Promoting the spread of the Dharma - we give funds directly to individuals and organisations that promote the Dharma and the living of a Buddhist lifestyle. We believe that supporting the spread of the dharma through building a Buddhist Movement is the most meaningful way we can positively engage with the world.

2) Supporting social projects – we give funds directly to social projects that benefit those in the communities from which we source the goods we sell, or to social projects connected to the Triratna Buddhist Community. This approach builds connection and minimises administrative costs, thus maximising the effectiveness of our gifts.

3) Providing ethically traded giftware for our customers – we have a clear ethical code in relation to our suppliers and aim to build strong and lasting relationships with our suppliers. We do not sell animal products and only use wood from renewable sources. We pay a fair price and check the working conditions and wages paid in the factories and workshops of our suppliers.

4) Developing environmental awareness – We aim to be a low carbon business and community, minimising the harmful impact of our business and personal lives on the environment. Many of us live a simple lifestyle with a low carbon footprint. Low levels of consumption, community living and sharing resources facilitate this.

5) Incubating/supporting new Buddhist businesses – we want to support other Buddhist businesses that share our values. We try to help in a number of ways like sharing the business learning we have gained.

Our vision for our windhorse:evolution community not only involves creating supportive conditions for personal practice but also providing an opportunity to engage in collective practice. We believe this helps us work towards becoming more selfless.

6) Providing a context for spiritual practice – we believe that in the context of meditation, reflection and study, ethical work can be a dynamic driver of spiritual growth. We aim to support individual spiritual development by providing supportive conditions for personal practice and by building team contexts for more intimate collective practice.

7) Promoting Buddhist ethical values within the business – we encourage the development of an ethos in the business that is inspired by Buddhist ethical precepts. We recruit staff, both Buddhist and non-Buddhist, who resonate with these values.

8) Caring for our staff - we aim to create a working environment characterised by friendliness, openness in communication and honesty. We aim to create an ethos where everyone can be heard and their point of view taken into consideration. We want all staff to feel fairly treated and their needs taken into consideration.

9) Promoting learning and development - we offer a range of on-the-job training. We have a training manager who offers personal coaching and training workshops, especially to managers. We aim to create an environment of on-going learning and development.

10) Building a friendly Buddhist community – we offer the opportunity to work (and live - if desired) with likeminded people providing a basis for deep and longstanding friendship. We offer a wide range of community living situations for Buddhists. The business aims to support a wide range of activities that are not directly work related e.g. choir, yoga, and the pantomime. We welcome the cultural diversity that comes from an international workforce.

May 2010

He speaks a little more about this in a short interview recorded for Triratna News:



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