Almost a decade ago, we set out to build a sustainable business that would prioritize its contribution to society, its communities, and its employees above its profits. It’s called a “social enterprise” or a “benefit corporation“.
It’s been harder building this type of business that it should have been….
…Investors didn’t understand how to mix impact with investments;
…Nonprofit partners didn’t trust that a market-based organization would prioritize its mission (even though our legal articles of incorporation mandate it);
…Corporate partners and their foundations weren’t sure how to legally contract with us;
…Suppliers aren’t sure how to categorize us;
…The government isn’t sure how much to tax us;
…Our customers have questions about our operational model, and the list goes on.
Even with the confusion, we’ve shown there is a way to build a world-positive business. We raised mission-aligned investment capital from angel investors. We’ve built award-winning leadership development + social impact programs with some of the world’s most respected brands. We’ve advised corporate partners on how to integrate social impact programs into their core business. We support some of the world’s most innovative foundations. We launched an Institute to share our lessons with others around the world. We’re growing, and our impact is growing, too. But there is something else our team is even more proud of: we’ve created an awesome place for our employees in the process.
As the Business Roundtable declared in its game-changing revision to the purpose of business last week, great companies must do more than just make an external impact. World-positive businesses, first and foremost, must take care of their own. They create safe and equitable workplaces where employees can do their best work towards a world-positive mission. They help employees reach their potential. They eliminate pay disparities based on people’s backgrounds. They reduce income inequalities within the organization. They give equity ownership. They build great teams that want to work together and provide training to address biases, and much, much more… In the process, leadership tries to improve, messes things up, owns its mistakes, and then fixes them. MovingWorlds will never stop improving the way it builds a high-performing, equal, and just workplace, but this week we are taking a moment to celebrate what we have done: We were recognized by Escape the City as one of the top 100 progressive organizations around the world.
With our 99 other award-winners, we’re ridiculously proud of this small accomplishment — not because of what we did, but rather because it shows that we’re on the right side of history: Businesses CAN create empowering, equal, and just workplaces where all members are contributing to world-positive products, services, and operations. According to Deloitte’s 2019 Human Capital Report, corporations are now trying to emulate what organizations like MovingWorlds have been modeling for years. The fact that corporations are trying to copy the behavior of organizations like ours is the ultimate compliment, and our only wish is that they move faster.
Of course, we’re just getting started here. We know that we still have much to build, grow, and improve on. But amidst it all, we hope that modeling best practices despite the challenges will show others that building businesses that care for society (and not only shareholders) is critical to a sustainable planet free from inequalities and injustices.