The Vault September 2011: Businesses that give back
Businesses provide value by creating jobs and by offering useful products and services. That’s how capitalism works. For business owners, however, the most profitable decisions are not always the best for the community.
Many businesses today are trying to balance profit with progress toward things they care about–safer communities, cleaner environments, less hunger, and so on. These businesses give back.

Why give back?
Maybe because you…

  • Have a cause you believe in and would work toward no matter what.
  • Know that your business relies on community resources such as public schooling, roads, and police, and that it’s your duty to return the favor.
  • See giving back as a form of marketing and a way to distinguish your business from your competitors.
If you have a business, or have one planned, is it a business that gives back? What’s your reason?
Creative ways to give back
In addition to giving away money, there are lots of creative ways for businesses to make a difference.
  • In-kind donations. “In-kind” means giving anything but money. Products, services, employee time, and even office space are some of the things businesses can donate.
  • Volunteering. By giving employees paid time to work on volunteer projects, businesses help the community and provide a valuable benefit to their employees at the same time.
  • Training and mentoring: Businesses can share their expertise to help people in the community learn new skills. This can also broaden the labor force so the business has more qualified applicants to choose from.
  • Encouraging wellness: Wellness programs help employees stay fit so they live longer and happier lives, and are also intended to help keep health insurance costs down.
Going the distance: the B-Corp Certification
If a company is serious about giving back, they can get certified as a B-Corporation or B-Corp for short. Most companies are required to consider shareholders first in making any decision. That makes it hard to pursue anything but pure profit.
B-Corps change their bylaws so they are allowed to consider the environment, community, and employees in their decision making. They also agree to meet social, environmental, and legal standards and work together to build a community of businesses that want to do good. Learn more at their Web site:
Go play outside!
The Nickelodeon kids’ TV network has a “Worldwide Day of Play” where they go off the air for 3 hours to encourage kids to play outside. (Maybe “Worldwide Half-Afternoon of Play” was not catchy enough.)

Peanut butter better
Justin’s Nut Butter is famous for their organic nut butter in squeeze packs, commonly served at Starbucks. They are investing in developing a totally recyclable, renewable squeeze pack–something that does not exist today.

Posted in Biz Kid$ News