For many entrepreneurs and business owners, it’s not enough to simply focus on the profitability of the business, they want to make a meaningful difference. In the following article, we highlight six of the most popular ways businesses are using to make their impact and be a meaningful contributor to the wider society.
It’s important for businesses to go green, not just to save the planet, but also to appeal to customers who care about the environment. There are many steps that businesses are taking to reduce their carbon footprint, including encouraging their employees to practice “green commuting”, going paperless by storing their files in the cloud, reducing their electricity consumption by using more natural light, using renewable energy sources to power their buildings, organising green challenges, initiating recycling programs, buying their supplies from other green businesses, and involving environmental consultants when making decisions that could have significant impact on the environment.
Big businesses support micro-businesses by providing them with funds, resources, and services. There are many online programs through which businesses can give money, services or other resources to microbusinesses. Thanks to the support that they receive from businesses, many microbusinesses end up transforming the lives of poor families or even entire communities. On top of all the good that it does, supporting microbusinesses helps improve the brand image of companies and businesses. People are more likely to buy products or use the services of a given company if they know that some of the money they spend goes into helping disadvantaged communities and families.
Supporting Higher Education by offering Scholarships
There are many students who need help paying their way through college or university. Businesses are helping young people achieve their academic goals by providing them with scholarship opportunities. They do this by organising essay contents and other competition and then awarding cash prizes to the most deserving students. By providing scholarships, businesses get to raise their profiles among young people who could potentially end up working for them or buying their products or using their services in the future. Providing scholarships is a way for businesses to give back to the communities that support them, by investing in the education of their young people.
Businesses are running many social enterprises for the good of their communities. A social enterprise is any venture that exists to achieve a social mission, which could be anything including providing clean water for the poor or providing gainful employment to young people. Social enterprises generate revenue, but they are not primarily focused on making profits. They are different from charities because they have to make enough money to sustain themselves so that they don’t have to rely on outside funding. When social enterprises make profits, all the money is reinvested into the enterprise so that its services can grow and reach more people.
Backing a Cause – raising awareness and possibly funds
Businesses are backing worthy causes by raising awareness and providing funds. Businesses are in a unique position to be able to help non-profits because they have the expertise and the resources needed to make significant impacts around the world. Businesses are partnering with non-profits to create initiatives like The Audacious Project. Because of such projects, non-profits are able to raise the money they need to execute big ideas that make real differences in poor communities. For example, The Audacious Project supports the One Acre Fund, an initiative that has enabled millions of African farmers to boost their food production by introducing them to modern agricultural practices. Because of this initiative, rural farmers in sub-Saharan Africa are able to feed their families and communities, and this has had a real impact in combating world hunger.
Businesses (especially manufacturing industries and factories) are increasing their sustainability by changing the way they manufacture their products. They are doing this by using renewable resources and by developing new production processes that are less harmful to the biosphere. Some of the best impacts are made when businesses find out what’s important to their staff and have them on board with whatever practice is chosen. Which is what happened for Ray Anderson and you can watch his inspiring story in this video. Interface, the American carpet company that was founded by Ray Anderson, aims to eliminate any negative impact that it has on the environment and make its business completely sustainable.