Luiz Seabra,  “Seu Luiz” for the Brazilians, is one of the most successful business leaders in the world. He is the founder of the large and influential Natura Cosmetics, which he started in the 70s in a garage in what was to be the rich heart of Sao Paulo. The company counts today on over 1,5 billion people selling its products, which are produced based on ethical, social and environmental principles.

But I must say that whenever I meet him the first thing that comes to my mind is not his business. My first thoughts are that this man probably meditates, is connected to the powerful energy of life and lives somewhere “above” us all. So, it is somehow surprising for a moment that one of the first topic in this conversation is about innovative steps Natura is taken investing in the symbiotic EcoPark in the Amazon region: “Pure alchemy!”, he says.

It has been some years since we last met and I came this time because I want to know, among other things, which societal and business trends are attracting his attention, in a Brazil full of corruption scandals, contradictory social movements, immense social and environmental problems, as well as a constantly challenged democracy. Seu Luiz always knows where to go, even in the dark. For me he is a kind of an Astrolabe.

He said that Brazilian businesses and institutions, in general, are not adapting well to the new context – the planet’s limitations, technological breakthroughs and urgency for transparency: “there is still a lot to be done, in all sectors, at the profound sustainability level.”

Then we discussed the importance of creativity and imagination in our times, when new solutions are a must, and that systemic thinking is what enables them. We talked about the fact that the future will depend strongly on the engagement of those who envision a “better, democratic world in resonance with the planet” on many levels.

His hint to leaders is to engage for a sustainable future and be surrounded by creativity.

“The imagination and creativity of business and political leaders can be enlarged by exercising systemic thinking and systemic feeling, the only way to surmount the lack of vision in our times. Additionally, philosophical education could, as in the past, contribute to shaping an urgently needed, more altruistic way of thinking.”