Profit, Sustainability, And Social Good Are Not Mutually Exclusive

Spread the love

Call it a mix of conscious capitalism, shared value, and corporate social responsibility, but a new outlook, that of having a deeper societal mission, has become a key component of businesses breeding goodwill and loyalty for their brands. The numbers prove it.

Global marketing research organization Nielsen recently reported that 55% of people around the world are willing to pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.

Also, 67% of people around the world prefer to work for companies that demonstrate corporate social responsibility. Not only are socially conscious entrepreneurs and companies favorable among consumers, but they are also securing a competitive advantage in attracting a certain type of employee—engaged, energized and accountable.

Today, it’s everyone’s responsibility to protect the environment and give back socially, and that means corporations too.  By shifting focus away from the sole purpose of profit maximization and viewing their business as part of a larger ecosystem, firms can maximize value for all stakeholders including the broader community, suppliers, and the environment.

Companies, even startups, can make choices that resonate with customers. The food industry, for example, is feeling a tectonic shift as people are choosing to know more about what they are eating.

Take Greek yogurt for example. It once represented 1% of the US yogurt industry. But the entrance of Chobani, with all its good practices, appealed to consumers who wanted an option other than those filled with sugar and additives.

Today, Greek yogurt has grown to represent 40% of the industry. This is also happening with other industries. Tesla is making a big impact on the automotive sector with its range of electric cars.

Doing good doesn’t necessarily need to be just through social impact. Many businesses have thrived because their main purpose for existence solves a problem for people.

Companies like Whatsapp, bought by Facebook for $22 billion, made it much easier for people to connect with each other locally and internationally in a much more affordable way. 

On a personal level, people working at companies can do good by giving their time towards a cause such as mentoring others who can benefit from their knowledge and experience.

At my organization, we see many successful entrepreneurs and executives give back by mentoring upcoming entrepreneurs scale up their businesses. This benefits everyone since companies that scale up, stimulate the economy and become the largest job creators. This also builds a network that benefits everyone involved.

Of course, doing good to employees in the company is equally important. This can be in the form of empowering and appreciating employees. To give a regional example, when Turkish entrepreneurs Nevzat Aydin and his co-founders sold their business Yemeksepiti for $589 million in 2015, they allocated $27 million to the 114-strong staff, which amounted to an average of $237,000 per employee—a great example of achieving success and then multiplying it by supporting the next generation.

The opportunities for good are many and varied, in every organization, but it is a paradigm best practiced from the top down. The businesses that spend money and effort where it will make a positive difference rather than solely seeking to maximize their personal gains will have more engaged employees, loyal customers, and natural profit generation.