Welcome to my introductory series on Sustainable Business.
Before I explain what is a sustainable business in another email to come, or show you examples of sustainable business in practice, we need to start with why sustainable business matters.
My answers might not be the answers you’d expect.
The Race (isn’t) to Meet Consumer Demand
No, it doesn’t matter that businesses adopt “sustainable practices” so that they can meet consumer demand.
Even though trends show consumers are caring more and more about how businesses are impacting the environment.
That reason isn’t BIG enough.
Businesses must be sustainable because we need to change consumer demand faster.
We need to change culture faster.
Because of the resources at their disposal, brands have the power to dictate culture.
A savvy advertising campaign, a visionary CEO…they can dictate what’s cool, what’s admirable.
If businesses and business people can lead and say that it’s not okay to take home a profit unless the people and the planet are taken care of first…
What could that do for our culture?
What might be different about the state of our world if businesses said that THE PEOPLE and THE PLANET are more important than profit?
What if we all truly began to believe that it wasn’t money that made the world go round’ but it was the planet and the people on it that spun it?
A World with (Truly) Sustainable Business
Business is not the solution for everything.
But, business can be an incredible solution for many things.
As much harm as business is doing, it’s equally possible that business could do good. Serious good.
And if a business can’t stop doing so much harm…should it exist?
The truth of it is, we are in an “all hands on deck” situation.
We aren’t acting on the climate crisis fast enough.
Capitalism has amassed a great deal of resources for a few, but not for enough of us. There’s no reason that Elon Musk’s net worth should be near $300 Billion and Bezos’ per minute earnings well exceed what the average American earns in a year.
While at the same time, near 700 million people globally still live in “extreme poverty.”
And so, it’s not just about business. It can’t be “just business.”
Because the world…
Perhaps if a business can’t turn a healthy profit without exploiting people and extracting from the planet, then maybe they just can’t be in business.
And so who does that leave to “do business?”
That will be the subject of the next essay, where together we will define what is a sustainable business.
Have any questions or comments? Leave a comment below and let me know.
➡️ P.S. — Want to dive deeper and discover who are the businesses and business people setting a new standard for how business can and should be done?
Be sure to check out Grow Ensemble’s latest Ensemble 10 Collection: Examples of Sustainable Business in Action.
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I’m Cory Ames. I’m a writer, podcaster, social entrepreneur, and the Founder of Grow Ensemble.
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