As going green becomes more and more popular, it seems that everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. Consumers want more sustainable options for all their needs, and companies are beginning to listen. Or are they?
Maybe I'm just a little paranoid, but I don't tend to trust the megalithic corporations that have so much power and wealth today. So while I see many ad campaigns touting green promises and hear of many large corporations changing their ways, as much as I want to believe them, I have my doubts that many of these companies are truly committed to sustainability. The very nature of our economy leads companies to focus solely on profit and their own growth, at the expense of people and the environment.
Like it or not, we are a society dominated by corporate interests. Of the 100 largest economies, 51 are corporations; the other 49 are countries. Industry (and its lobbies) has an enormous sway on politics, public policy, the economy, our lives, and of course, the earth. As powerful forces in the world, companies are going to have to lead the shift to sustainability. Getting companies to do the right thing no matter what its effect on their bottom line is going to take a major paradigm shift. It's time for change, and we certainly can't count on the government to do anything very quickly, so we need business to lead the way.
As socially conscious business owners and ecopreneurs, we need to listen to Gandhi's famous words and "be the change we wish to see in the world." It's time to take the reigns, define sustainability for our companies and boldly pursue it. We can set our own standards if we have to, and then go above and beyond them. We can bring ideas like true cost economics and the triple bottom line to the forefront of business thinking and practice. We can share sustainable ideas that have worked for us with other business owners. We can invest in making our businesses more sustainable and ethical, and we can find ways to make a living at the same time. We can support other sustainable businesses we believe in and purchase fair-trade, organic, sustainably made products. We can market our goods and services by telling the truth about being green, instead of greenwashing. We can run our businesses the way that all businesses should be run: with integrity, responsibility, human dignity, and sustainability.
We can change the world if only we believe that we can. And given the influence businesses have, it's up to us to create this change. I'm not just talking about switching to recycled office paper, although that's certainly a good start. The stakes are high and we need massive change to steer us on a path towards sustainability. We'll have to rethink the way we do business, change minds, and transform society's priorities. If anyone can pioneer this change, it's those with entrepreneurial spirit and good hearts.
Calling all conscious ecopreneurs: the time for change is now. It starts with us. Let's be the change.
Read more about sustainable business:
- Nobody’s Really Going Green – Most Companies Just Pay Lip Service on Ecopreneurist
- The Six Sins of Greenwash… and How to Repent on Sustainablog
- Good Eco Entrepreneurs Don’t Greenwash on Ecopreneurist