The business sector has much to contribute to addressing social issues. It can bring financial support and expertise and customize products and services. It can harness its core competencies and business assets to create lasting societal and business benefits. But perhaps most importantly – customers are beginning to demand this change.
It is a simple concept. Sell a pair of shoes today, give a pair of shoes tomorrow. “Shoes for a Better Tomorrow” quickly became “Tomorrow’s Shoes” which then settled into TOMS, with a simple and powerful promise — a better tomorrow.
A new approach in marketing is called “profitable good” and it involves shifting from the current mindset of “doing charity” (because that’s what good corporate citizens do) to thinking about social impact that has a direct positive impact on the bottom line.
At Patagonia a view towards social outcomes, rather than charitable giving, drives bottom line results
Actions most companies would never dream of taking because they are so counter to common business practice, have been wildly successful for Patagonia because at their core they embody the idea of “profitable good,” namely, embracing profit and purpose to drive a better bottom line.
According to Unilever CEO, "if you want to exist as a company in the future, you have to make a positive contribution. Business needs to step up to the plate.”
A living wage would not only have a positive effect on employee well-being, which improves productivity and reduces employee turnover; it also would increase the buying power of citizens, which is good for the economy and the company itself.
The idea of achieving a competitive advantage while experiencing the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping to solve a social problem is the promise of “Shared Value”, a phrase coined three years ago by Michael Porter in the Harvard Business Review.
The benefits of a simple metric are clear; every day employees in our company can tabulate and understand their collective impact towards a variety of social initiatives.