What Changing the World Looks Like Up Close and Personal

It is a paradigm like no other. Where cause-driven businesses collaborate with their communities to change the world.

And if you doubt this premise, then you weren’t there.

I’m talking about our very first workshop on the Benefit Company movement.

You see, just two weeks ago, my business partner and I talked with 16 curious entrepreneurs at Portland’s HatchLab PDX about the “why” for becoming a benefit corporation. About how doing good for people, planet and profit is what’s energizing businesses of all shapes and sizes and creating impact in 34 states and counting.

Around the conference table that day there was a soon-to-be chocolatier. A software company engineer. And web services firm entrepreneurs all engaged and asking most excellent questions about the hard-to-ignore statistics presented to them.

Stats like:

  • Nearly 66% of global online consumers across 60 countries said they are willing to pay more for products and services by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact. (Nielsen 2015 study)
  • 70% are willing to pay more for products and services of companies with corporate social responsibility programs. (Cone Communications 2015 study)
  • 88% would be more loyal to a company that supports a social or environmental issue (Cone Communications 2017 study)

Our unwavering belief is that this small group at the workshop is a microcosm of what is sparking the marketplace.

Which is to say, business people committed to doing good for people and planet because it’s not only the right thing to do. It’s the right thing to do for their business success.

Let’s be clear. This is not just some theory on our part. In our State of Oregon, there was a 50% jump in businesses opting to become a Benefit Company from first quarter 2017 to first quarter 2018 with the number growing from 1200 to approximately 1800. Our bet is that there is a similar growth in 33 other states.

Imagine that: proof that many enlightened businesses are not just committed to their bottom line. Rather, they’re measuring their success against the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit!

As we debriefed from our 75-minute workshop, we could not help but be moved by the people seated in front of us that afternoon. Whether they’re going to market vegan chocolate truffles or web-shaking apps, forward-thinking business people can do more than just create customer pleasing products. They along with their collaborative stakeholders can also create a positive social and environmental impact on the planet.

And what, may we ask, is more world changing than that?

If you'd like to see if your business is ready to become a benefit corporation, just take our free 12-question "sniff" test and find out right now.




Tom Hering