More to life than profit

Profit margins have long reigned supreme as the benchmark of business success. More recently companies have been taking their corporate responsibility one step, sometimes two steps, beyond their economic bottom line and venturing into the realms of social and environmental consciousness. Those companies are called triple bottom line corporations, and they focus as much on building economically sustainable businesses as on building a firm that is good for the environment and its workers. Some triple bottom line corporations are well known like Toms and Patagonia, but many are smaller companies that are starting out with social, economic, and environmental consciousness at the forefront of their business plan, below are a few examples.

Rhino Foods is a Vermont based producer of ice cream and frozen desert ingredients. Since opening their doors in 1981, Rhino Foods’ owner and president Ted Castle has been committed building a successful company that helps the community they are a part of, and positively impacts the way other companies do business. Castle started Rhino Foods with a definitive purpose, “To impact the manner in which business is done”, and on a platform of unwavering principles to which he credits the company’s success. Some of the legs the Rhino Foods platform stands on are: a commitment of time, energy, and financial resources to improve social and environmental conditions, to establish a relationship with employees and their families to create a bond of trust, and to partner with suppliers so success is aligned between two businesses and not disproportionally to one.

Sometimes it’s simple ideas that make the biggest difference. Green Soul Shoes is an environmentally sustainable shoe manufacturer with one mission: shoe underprivileged children around the world in a sustainable manner. Started in 2008 and currently on the ground in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Peru, Green Soul Shoes works with shoe manufacturers in developing countries to create economical footwear. But what are these shoes made of? That depends on what model you’re asking about. The original shoes were made from used tires, but newer shoes are made from old bits of conveyor belt and rice husks. Green Soul Shoes is constantly trying to reuse different materials to make new shoe models.

Better World Books is another triple bottom line company that was started with a simple, fundamental goal- to promote literacy. Better World Books buys and sells used books through their website, donating a percentage of the profit to initiatives that promote literacy. What began in 2002 as a way for three Notre Dame undergrads to earn some extra money with the selling of their used college textbooks, Better World Books quickly turned into an opportunity to start an impactful business. To date Better World Books has raised more than $10 million for education and literacy programs, donated more than 5 million books to international partners, and kept 40,000 books out of the landfill.

More triple bottom line companies are popping up everyday, but as with any corporation not all triple bottom line companies are good, and not all non- triple bottom line companies are bad. When making any purchase, whether it’s shoes, books, groceries, or a new car it’s important to do your research and understand the fundamentals of that company. Every purchase made is like a vote- a vote for organic fruits or fruits grown with pesticide, a vote for vegan leather or traditional leather. If you use your purchases to vote for sustainable manufacturing or a business with a zero carbon footprint you’re showing your support while making a small, yet positive change.

Did you get your free issue of the Intelligent Optimist?  Click here for a free download.

Solution News Source

More to life than profit

Profit margins have long reigned supreme as the benchmark of business success. More recently companies have been taking their corporate responsibility one step, sometimes two steps, beyond their economic bottom line and venturing into the realms of social and environmental consciousness. Those companies are called triple bottom line corporations, and they focus as much on building economically sustainable businesses as on building a firm that is good for the environment and its workers. Some triple bottom line corporations are well known like Toms and Patagonia, but many are smaller companies that are starting out with social, economic, and environmental consciousness at the forefront of their business plan, below are a few examples.

Rhino Foods is a Vermont based producer of ice cream and frozen desert ingredients. Since opening their doors in 1981, Rhino Foods’ owner and president Ted Castle has been committed building a successful company that helps the community they are a part of, and positively impacts the way other companies do business. Castle started Rhino Foods with a definitive purpose, “To impact the manner in which business is done”, and on a platform of unwavering principles to which he credits the company’s success. Some of the legs the Rhino Foods platform stands on are: a commitment of time, energy, and financial resources to improve social and environmental conditions, to establish a relationship with employees and their families to create a bond of trust, and to partner with suppliers so success is aligned between two businesses and not disproportionally to one.

Sometimes it’s simple ideas that make the biggest difference. Green Soul Shoes is an environmentally sustainable shoe manufacturer with one mission: shoe underprivileged children around the world in a sustainable manner. Started in 2008 and currently on the ground in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Peru, Green Soul Shoes works with shoe manufacturers in developing countries to create economical footwear. But what are these shoes made of? That depends on what model you’re asking about. The original shoes were made from used tires, but newer shoes are made from old bits of conveyor belt and rice husks. Green Soul Shoes is constantly trying to reuse different materials to make new shoe models.

Better World Books is another triple bottom line company that was started with a simple, fundamental goal- to promote literacy. Better World Books buys and sells used books through their website, donating a percentage of the profit to initiatives that promote literacy. What began in 2002 as a way for three Notre Dame undergrads to earn some extra money with the selling of their used college textbooks, Better World Books quickly turned into an opportunity to start an impactful business. To date Better World Books has raised more than $10 million for education and literacy programs, donated more than 5 million books to international partners, and kept 40,000 books out of the landfill.

More triple bottom line companies are popping up everyday, but as with any corporation not all triple bottom line companies are good, and not all non- triple bottom line companies are bad. When making any purchase, whether it’s shoes, books, groceries, or a new car it’s important to do your research and understand the fundamentals of that company. Every purchase made is like a vote- a vote for organic fruits or fruits grown with pesticide, a vote for vegan leather or traditional leather. If you use your purchases to vote for sustainable manufacturing or a business with a zero carbon footprint you’re showing your support while making a small, yet positive change.

Did you get your free issue of the Intelligent Optimist?  Click here for a free download.

Solution News Source

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