How much do we really value profit in the long run? Is it worth sacrificing our planet’s and society’s future for short-term financial gain?
As an entrepreneur, these are the questions you must ask yourself as we move forward in an increasingly uncertain and rapidly changing world.
With the urgent issues of climate change and social inequality looming, it is more important than ever to consider our actions’ long-term impact and prioritize sustainability and social responsibility in our business practices.
But how can we balance the need for financial success with the need to create a better future for all?
This is the question at the heart of our article as we explore how companies can think beyond profit and create a sustainable future for all.
Can wealth and purpose unite?
The short answer is a resounding yes.
By taking the initiative to become more sustainable, companies can make a real difference in the lives of their customers and employees and the communities they serve.
It’s a cliche but an honest one.
Sustainability isn’t just about reducing energy consumption or using renewable resources — it also involves creating a culture of shared values within your organization, from the highest levels of management to the lowest. This means considering how your business practices affect shareholders, society, employees, customers, and the environment.
And this isn’t just idealism, it’s essential to doing business in the 21st century. Taking steps to build a more just, equitable, and sustainable world can significantly benefit your company, from improved employee confidence and customer loyalty to increased profits and better brand recognition.
Let’s remember that our world is in peril as we witness the devastating effects of climate change and vast social inequality. The weather is becoming increasingly turbulent, wreaking havoc on humans and wildlife; while some suffer from hunger or homelessness, others have far more than their fair share.
The real question is, what can you do?
As John Locke stated, open-mindedness is the ability to break free from convention’s constraints, question assumptions, and embrace new ideas and perspectives.
Locke also believed that people should be open to changing their minds in light of new evidence or reasoning. He wrote, “The mind must be disposed to a readiness to receive any new impressions, and to lay by those it had before.“.
How is this can help you and your business?
An open-minded attitude pushes creative and innovative ideas and unlocks opportunities that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Think briefly about how challenging the status quo could make your business more sustainable.
You can discover opportunities to replace conventional resources with recycled or recyclable materials with little investigation. Plus, you can start reviewing daily operations’ energy and water consumption.
Not to mention your employees.
With an open-minded attitude, you can transform your business into vibrant ecosystems of diversity and inclusivity – creating a better experience for everyone.
Warby Parker’s success is a testament to the value of open-mindedness. The eyewear company ditched traditional models and embraced out-of-the-box thinking, ultimately leading to their groundbreaking buy one give one model, which changed how they did business and positively impacted society.
Also, Warby Parker’s commitment to its community shined in July 2021 when they were recertified as a B Corporation. This certification highlights their dedication to ensuring every action taken is beneficial for the company, customers, and the environment.
So, what’s stopping you?
The enemy within us
We can no longer deny the power of our beliefs, motivations, and behavior in causing immense harm to the environment and our fellow human beings.
For all of humanity’s progress, our own tendencies towards greed, short-term thinking, and exploitation still pose a major threat to our collective progress.
The way forward is no longer business as usual. To truly create a better future, we must look within ourselves and prioritize ethical behavior and sustainability in all of our decisions.
Where do you start?
- It’s essential to make well-informed decisions that have been thoroughly researched for their environmental and societal effects.
- To make your operations more sustainable, create a plan that cuts down on energy consumption and waste.
- You will cultivate a vibrant community of professionals by providing equitable compensation, secure workplaces, and career development opportunities for all employees.
- Encourage carpooling, using electric vehicles or public transportation, and all sustainable options that can help reduce their carbon footprint.
- Let employees tell you what kind of change they’d like to see. Gathering feedback can be a great way to track progress and ensure your workplace prioritizes social responsibility.
These are just some of the steps that can be taken to help create a future that is both profitable and sustainable.
The challenge before us is to ensure that profit does not come at the expense of our planet’s and society’s future.
We end this piece with Leonardo DiCaprio’s quote from 2016:
“Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.”
So, let’s work. Now is a perfect time.