What’s Good for the Earth is Good For You

It’s seems that business owners have this idea that they have to do what’s the very least expensive in order to be competitive. I watch many entreprenuers think they have to choose between doing what’s best for the earth or doing what’s best for their bottom line. By bottom line, they mean money and only money.

But doing something that will pollute the environment by going to a landfill or cause people to have low wages or generally not be sustainable doesn’t really pan out. In the short run sometimes it seems to – primarily we see lower costs.  But if the lower costs contribute to other ills that we then have to pay for, with dollars or with our emotional or physical energy, there’s little cost savings and zero advantage in that.

We watch the government do this all the time. In social service for example, the senate passes a bill to reduce welfare/TANF. That means less families get assistance to have the food they need to eat or money for rent, etc. That causes many marginal families to do three primary things:  become homeless, break up families (sending kids into foster care because parents can’t afford them) or cause crime. There are lots of studies that show that reduction in services raises the crime rate.  When that happens, costs go up in homeless shelters, foster care systems and prisons. There is no cost savings. Only moving the cost around.

The upside is that if you fund social services, families actually do get off services and then they… add to the tax base. Adding to the tax base means more people paying for roads, libraries and schools.  The economy thrives and people are happy. That’s actually a win. All around. But someone has to see that in order to make that level of economics work. If we only ever do the most short-sighted things we’re pursuing a race to the bottom where fewer and fewer people win.

It’s that idea that I want to pass on to you: dream big! Consider what great things you can do that help every one! By accepting the cost and value of what you do, you can actually manifest a much bigger vision. You can actually change the world.

Instead consider the quadruple bottom line: purpose, people, planet, profits. How to help everyone – including you – win!


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