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An Investor's Lesson to Entrepreneurs
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Finance Basics: 1
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Basic Accounting: Financial Analysis
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What drives you to be good at your job?
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Digital Marketing Psychology to Transform Your Business
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Leadership with Passion through Kokorozashi
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Technovate in the Era of Industry 4.0
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Product Life Cycle
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Most companies today recognize the value of adopting sustainable business practices. That said, going green and embracing a social business model is often easier said than done. Depending on your current model or budget, setting impactful sustainability goals may not seem feasible.
But actually, it is.
The belief that companies have to choose between corporate social responsibility or profitability is quickly being debunked as more and more social businesses find their way onto the Fortune 500. Robin Lewis, cofounder of mymizu, discusses what it means to be a social business and how any company can contribute to a more sustainable future.
What is a social business?
A social business is a business that integrates both business practices and principles with the compassion and passion required to create a more fair and just world. It’s kind of like combining the business acumen and the business savvy of a CEO with the passion and the compassion of an activist.
And when you combine those two things, that’s when we get real magic.
Can social responsibility be profitable?
There are a lot of major companies out there who are doing really positive things for the environment and for society at large. Just one example would be Tesla.
Tesla’s mission statement is to accelerate the transition to a sustainable future. And they’re currently valued at over a trillion dollars. While there are many companies who are having a net negative impact, who are up there in terms of the Fortune 500, there are also many companies who are doing incredible things and who are continuing to grow into this new economy that we’re building.
Can any business become sustainable?
So one of my favorite sayings in Japanese is pinchi wo chansu ni. You see a problem and you turn it into an opportunity. And a lot of the conversations I hear right now about sustainability and sustainable development focus on the problem. “Ah, we have a lot of work to do. We have so many things to solve,” and so on, which is true.
But on the flip side, from a business perspective, this current time that we’re in, this unique moment in history where we’re facing really unprecedented problems, is also the biggest growth opportunity in human history in many ways. And that includes things like clean tech and green energy.
There are so many areas that are now booming where we can add value and we can contribute to what’s happening. There are ways to shift, and I’ll give you one example.
There was a famous company in Scandinavia—I won’t name the company, but they were originally one of the biggest oil producers in the region. And they shifted completely to one of the biggest wind energy companies in the world. And it’s the same. You have the same expertise. Of course, there was a lot of transition during that time, but suddenly you’ve gone from a business that focuses on oil to a business that completely transitioned to furthering the green transition.
So there are many exciting examples of these kinds of things happening. And so it’s all about finding the opportunity in what is a relatively difficult situation for many.
What’s the first step towards sustainability?
Step one is to empathize with your people. To empathize with your customer, and so on. And when we’re talking about organizational change, I fundamentally believe that we need to listen, and we need to get the insights and the opinions of our team members.
So if there is one clear social issue that is on the top priority level for all of the team members—let’s say it’s about diversity and inclusion, let’s say it’s about people with disabilities, and so on—then we should start from the ones that matter most to the people in our team.
Try and gather their insights. Try and find commonalities. And then come up with an action plan.