Making money for money’s sake is no longer enough. For your business to survive, you need to be sharing what you make, somehow, whether it be in time, human resources or actual cash. Businesses that give back are given more airtime than anyone else, and if you’re not thinking about how to create these closed loops with what you do, then you’re missing the most vital ingredient essential to the survival of any 21st century business - big or small.
For people to want to engage with you, you need to be factoring in the triple bottom line - people and planet, as well as profit. You need to be genuinely looking after your people, you need to be putting back in more than you take when it comes to resources, and you need to factor in global and local community when you consider the impact your business is having on the world around you.
The world of consumerism and consumption is changing. Better choices are becoming available, so given the option between you and your competitor, if you’re polluting, or focussing your results purely on shareholders, while he is planting trees, enrolling his team in coaching and development, or making sure every person involved in the supply chain is fairly and proportionately paid for his or her contribution, who do you think Ms Jo on the street is going to go with? 21st century business has got heart and soul, not just as lip service, but meaning it for real.
Thankfully, there’s a new kid on the block who can help us navigate where to go as the world tries to better itself. They’re called BCorp and they want to help make business a force for good.
When a business becomes an accredited BCorp, this means they have passed an assessment that says they are a good business who cares about more than just the money. It is a stamp of approval, and if you see that someone you’re out to engage with is a registered BCorp, you know you can trust that this is a bona fide business doing good things - giving back, closing the loops and generally contributing to making the world a better place.
The new BCorps are our beacons of change. They are the sign that things can be better, and they are the tools with which we can take part in that change.
Look for the BCorps, look to consume only from BCorps, and if you’re going to start your own business, this is a set of guidelines you could well afford to make central to your entire design.