Why do we think a $4 cup of fair trade organic coffee in a reusable cup can make a difference but we think our $4,000 investment in stocks or bonds cannot?
This is a great question posed by Audrey Choi in her Ted Talk, “How to make a profit while making a difference.” If you have followed me for long you know I think making a difference will be an essential to making a profit in the evolving world of business. So naturally I was intrigued by her Ted Talk title.
But her message was not just about you and I creating businesses that make a difference, she also points to making sure we start putting pressure on other companies to make choices we agree with by more actively managing where our money is invested.
We live in a time when many people in western cultures have greater influence than any time in our human history; yet, we continue to act like slaves rather than using our power. We have power in how we spend and power in how we invest; and between the two we collectively can make huge waves in how the world of business works.
In fact, according to Audrey individuals (yep, people like you) control one-third of all investment dollars, and if you combine that with the fact that the other two-thirds are controlled by organizations we are part of–our employers, our retirement funds, our governments–we as individuals basically control far more than we realize.
Three ways you can make a difference:
- Buy products and services from people you admire, companies making choices you agree with, and whenever possible from companies making a bigger impact than just their own profits.
- Ask questions and give direction so that your investment dollars are with companies that match your values–invest beyond this quarter’s profits. If you have resources, invest in women founded and run companies–changing the playing field by changing the players.
- Start a company that evaluates its success based on your impact on the people you affect, your affect on the planet, and your companies profitability–that is a company with purpose!
Why limit yourself to recycling or supporting a local non-profit when you have in your daily life so much power to make waves. This is capitalism at its best!