A May 2021 report by IBM “Sustainability at a Turning Point” found that people valued and prioritized environmental issues and social responsibility issues at a greater level than prior to the pandemic.
You can’t have good health without clean water and you can’t protect nature without addressing poverty.* The key concern on the social responsibility side was defined as ensuring good health and well-being, where 75% of respondents said it was important to them.
This links to an important issue - growth at all costs: what if business growth metrics were changed from making more and more money, and emitting more and more carbon to be more aligned with the growth in the health and well-being of the planet and us - people who want to be healthier and happier? Where growth in greater empathy, growth in self-worth and living aligned with our values became the most important growth metrics. Here are a few mindset shifts:
1) Instead of growth in efficiency and how many hours employees can work, how about growth in how much well-being the business is adding to the life of its employees?
2) Can we define and grow how much benefit clients actually received - real benefits to their lives and well-being?
3) Let's ask how much each business increased the growth in their charitable and philanthropic giving.
4) Another important metric - how much the health of employees has improved.
Growth in the bottom line, yes, of course - but more important, growth in the overall benefits to the human beings who work there, consume their products or services, and how much the health of the planet improves - those are the growth metrics that matter.
Absolute growth is a limiting metric. Staying small might allow you to collaborate with other businesses and give them validation and create a growing community of small businesses. This can cause growth in different ways: in well-being, in staying connected, in adding value to the local community and yes, when the time is right this type of thoughtful growth can lead to financial growth.
We need companies that stay true to their values and to create positive change, well-being and growth in what really matters.
* IBM Research Brief: Sustainability at a Turning Point, May 2021