You’ve probably noticed that these days, we as a society have very little tolerance for crappy business ethics.
Hating on the sustainable, locally-sourced movement? Not paying your workers a livable wage or offering benefits? Have a gnarly supply chain knitted together with dubious companies? Might as well hang the “closed” sign on the doors now. Or move to 1969 where we can watch you on Mad Men.
Business is changing for the better because we now demand and expect better. But this couldn’t have happened without the wide dissemination of information and business transparency made possible by the internet.
Gavin Thomas and Lisa Kribs-LaPierre, co-founders of the website This Good World, recognized the internet’s power to spread the good word, and decided to harness it. They co-created This Good World with the purpose of providing a search platform for businesses doing good; it brings together responsible businesses across the nation, and beyond, in one central location. Looking for a restaurant, attorney, or hardware store that has strong ethics and a positive impact on your local community? This Good World will help you find it.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Gavin to gain more insight on the art of businesses doing good, and how it’s come to be the new norm. We took away these salient points:
1) The good that a business does speaks for itself
Gavin explains that TGW relies not on a rigid qualification system, but rather upon a common sense approach to vet businesses who wish to appear on TGW. “We didn’t set out to build TGW to be another certification organization, making businesses follow a checklist of items and score them on their performance,” he says. “We see ourselves (as do our users) as a type of new media platform that allows stories to be told about the good things businesses of all sizes are doing. It’s our philosophy that by placing the importance on the ‘good things,’ the actions, rather than solely telling users ‘this business is good, they pass the test,’ people are able to choose for themselves whether or not to support them based on their own personal values.”
In short, the good that a business does speaks for itself. We as consumers just need a central resource like TGW to learn about it.
2) An outstanding website is at the heart of disseminating and facilitating good
TGW is a chief example of what a successful website should be. Information is easily accessible, uncluttered, and well organized; the design is smooth and aesthetically pleasing. On the landing page is TGW’s focal point, the interactive map pinpointing all the businesses registered with TGW, which Gavin states has been their “bread and butter since day one.” It gives a literal picture of just how far the global trend of businesses doing good has spread.
Other features users really love, Gavin adds, are the collections (organizing by city, cause, industry, etc.) that TGW has put together for perusal, as well as the implementation of user accounts where users can create their own custom collections. “We just released these accounts a week ago and have been blown away by the response so far,” he says. “We’re so grateful to those that have signed up and are using their accounts like crazy.”
This underscores the importance of a well-developed website and how crucial it is to the success of an organization. No matter how amazing the organization’s mission is, a website that provides a poor user experience will generate little or no attention.
3) The internet is the biggest reason there’s a positive shift in business ethics and responsibility – ever
“Technology and the internet can drive conversations and awareness at a scale that was unimaginable just a few decades ago,” Gavin says. “People who care about social issues, environmental issues, etc. are extremely vocal and passionate people, thankfully. Businesses are definitely hearing their voices and starting to act. Some of them have been acting for a very long time. Many, many others will join them moving into the future. That’s a very exciting thing.”
We couldn’t agree more. The internet holds both business and government accountable for their actions and enforces society’s expectations of them. One prevalent example is how social media platforms like Twitter put pressure on businesses to address customer service issues immediately. And if businesses are caught being socially irresponsible, you can bet that the world will know about it within a few short hours. In other words, the internet has organically become its own policing entity, which in turn induces positive change.
4) More good in the private sector = more good in the public sector
One of the best parts of businesses doing good is their inevitable support of and even partnerships with nonprofits and charitable organizations. This is especially important because it turns people’s attention to the public sector and encourages personal and financial support of these organizations. Additionally, when businesses emphasize their positive social contributions and make these a part of their core values, customers naturally want to follow suit. They feel good about being part of something good. It engenders a philanthropic attitude, calling on us to consider the greater good and how we can help others.
Gavin agrees, stating that there’s undoubtedly been a “huge wave of social responsibility and a positive ethics shift in businesses of all sizes and in all different industries,” which he believes is attributable to two things. “The first is the shift in focus toward providing more positive impact for the greater good. The second, and perhaps an even bigger driver, is the realization that doing good things in the business world is increasingly resulting in fiscal benefit for these companies. Despite historical perspective, doing good and making money in business are far from mutually exclusive things.”
“People are paying attention more and more,” he continues. “People are caring more and more. Their voices and dollars are going to businesses who care about and act on the things they care about. We built This Good World to play a small part in fueling this way of thinking and acting well into the future.”
We at Visceral are certain that This Good World is playing a much larger role than they think. Kudos!
To register your business with This Good World, visit http://thisgoodworld.com/content/whythisgoodworld.