People, Planet, Profit — Good For Us, Good For Business

Business is a force for good. At Blue Beyond, it’s the banner we’ve flown for more than ten years – the first of seven commitments we made in 2006 when Blue Beyond Consulting was formed.

Back then, just a few other companies had committed to People-Planet-Profit, the new triple bottom line. Within that small community, “Business as a Force for Good” stood for hope and change. Yet the thought that creating social value should be a core business objective was certainly outside the mainstream.

Not anymore. As 2016 comes to a close, companies everywhere are seeking to transform their enterprise as a force for good. Thirty U.S. states have legalized new business structures called Benefit Corporations – for-profit companies with social/environmental sustainability written into their bylaws, and unassailable. In the U.K., The Guardian declares, “Sustainable business has become mainstream.”

“Corporate social responsibility has emerged as an inescapable priority for business leaders in every country.”
— Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer, Harvard Business Review

The Evidence That Social Responsibility is A Business Mandate

The United Nations has called on business worldwide to adopt a set of 12 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. 70% of businesses plan to embed the SDGs within the next 5 years.

Today’s most desirable employees choose to work for purpose-driven companies – those who deliver positive outcomes not just for shareholders, but for all stakeholders. The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey finds that 87% of Millennials believe that “the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance.”

6,000+ EU companies seek to “do no harm.” The European Union has instructed large companies to include social impact data in their annual reports. Under the “2014 Directive,” businesses must explain their policies on diversity, social issues and corruption, while citing any risks to human rights and the environment.

For the rest of business, consumer activism via the Internet means transparency is no longer a choice. We love what Alice Korngold says: “Get it right. Everyone can see you.”

Thought Leaders are Calling Sustainable, Compassionate Business Practices The New Norm

The Huffington Post gives this assessment: “The idea of business as an agent of change and a purveyor of positive values is gaining traction and legitimacy around the world. With a growing number of companies taking steps to be more responsible in how they treat employees, communities and the planet, we are seeing business emerge as a real player and solution-provider in the quest to put our world on a better course.”

Employees and customers demand companies who see beyond the bottom line.

Becoming a true purpose-driven company – and reaping the rewards – isn’t easy. There is no straightforward process, no one-size-fits-all superhero cape to slip on. Modern CSR is a far cry from mere philanthropy, and purposeful change requires top-level commitment, integrated messaging/best practices and full organizational alignment.

At Blue Beyond, we partner with clients and help them weave breakthrough concepts and practices into the very fabric of a business. We like to say that organizations don’t change, but people change organizations. As facilitators, we bring people together around a common purpose and help them translate their “Force for Good” aspirations into collective action with real-world results.

The Future We Yearn For. Now Within Our Reach.

Back in 2006, Blue Beyonders chose to foresee a world where business could be a global force for good. Now we celebrate, while a growing brigade of business leaders discover that when they do good, we all do – So. Much. Better.

Note: A benefit corporation is a company created under corporate law – similar, but not the same as a “B Corp.” Next time we’ll examine B Corps, which are companies certified by B Lab to meet certain standards for social and environmental performance.