While most businesses can say they make money, not all of them can say they’re truly helping the world be a better place for everyone. For years, companies were driven only by their bottom line, by what they could sell and how much money they could bring in.
But as times begin to change and people experience a renewed focus on social and environmental issues, companies are finding new ways to both make money and make a difference in the world. Some companies are just beginning to consider their social and environmental impact, but many companies are already doing great things.
One such company is private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), who have already dedicated many hours and dollars to charitable causes. Committed to investing responsibly, KKR has worked to ensure retirement pensions for hundreds of workers and have helped grow a sustainable tomato farm in Australia.
KKR is one the largest and most successful investment firms today, making them important leaders in social responsibility. Co-founder Henry Kravis was recently given Columbia Business School’s Centennial Award for his business and charitable work. “Making money and making the workplace and the world a better place are not mutually exclusive,” Kravis said at the awards dinner, where he encouraged other companies to contribute to societal causes.
Like KKR, Microsoft makes enormous charitable efforts. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has promised or given actual billions of dollars to worthy causes—roughly a billion a year. But what makes Microsoft extra-special is not just that it supports so many great causes: the company also encourages its employees to give, volunteer, and instruct students in computer science to encourage them to enter IT professionally.
Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company, does its part for environmental conservation. For the last 31 years, Patagonia has pledged 1% of its sales to the preservation and restoration of the environment. About $70 million has gone to support domestic and international environmental groups. Businesses can join the 1% for the Planet program and donate to help them get started on their journey towards turning a profit and improving the world’s resources.
Thanks to all the companies out there who are doing their best to make the world a healthier, happier place!