Let’s face it. The days of businesses focusing solely on their own self interests are over—and the time for the triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) is upon us. It’s time for all business leaders to enable and support this change, rather than resist the (literal) rising tide.
I’m firmly convinced that as U.S. consumers become increasingly concerned with the environment, they’ll seek out companies that align with their values. They’ll desire to engage with businesses that understand and practice the importance of sustainability. And those companies entrenched in the old ways of doing things will be left far behind.
I’ve always believed in the benefits of creating strong culture, working with great clients, and paying fair wages. Plus, I’m well aware of the challenges and opportunities our world faces. In late 2016, however, I dove into a role as a contract CMO for a company that had been designed for maximum positive impact for their customers and the planet from day one. They were a certified B Corporation, a 1% for the Planet member, and had filed with the state of Vermont as a legal benefit corporation—all while maintaining a solid business model.
It was the first time in my career that I had worked closely with a small, mission-driven company that was deeply committed to making the world a better place far beyond the walls of their office. Each day I would dive deep into telling their story in a meaningful, compelling way. And it didn’t take long for me to question why I wasn’t doing this too.
So, I asked myself, “Why not become an active player in solving the most pressing environmental issues of our time?”
I’ll be the first to admit that I had hesitations, most of which were centered around money and how to choose the nonprofit partners I’d be donating to. However, after speaking with a membership manager from 1% for the Planet, I got excited. I learned about high-impact nonprofits that could do great things with the donations, and it became clear that the selection process would be straightforward. At this point, the cash became just another business expense—and I signed up on their website that day.
It’s important for leaders to assess their current situation and consider the true meaning behind giving back. I did the calculations and realized that the 1% commitment would mean donations between 10 and 20K, given the current size of my business. This helped me realize the bigger picture at hand. I believe that leaders should look at this as a mandatory line item in all of our budgets to protect our planet and offset the impact of our practices. By giving back, our planet can be healed and our businesses can thrive.
When you look at it this as way, 1% for the Planet is a way of doing business that extends beyond profit.
After making the jump, I worked with a membership manager at 1% of the Planet to decide who would be on my initial giving list for 2018. After selecting five or six nonprofits—based on potential for maximum environmental impact—I met someone from each organization who explained their mission and how they would put the money to good use by solving a mix of important local, regional, national, and global issues.
Just over a year later, I’m pleased to say that Buckland Co. has met our commitments for 1% membership and we cannot wait to increase our positive impact. Sure, our overall revenue is less than Fortune 1000 companies—but I’ve already seen the benefits of our commitment. My team loves it, our clients love it, and our partners are very grateful for our support. Most importantly, however, work is being done to create a brighter future for all.
I’m confident for the future. Just imagine what we could do if all businesses gave back to the planet. I believe that leaders will continue to impress upon businesses that now is the time to pool our resources together—so that we can protect the future for our kids, grandkids, and generations to come.