Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Save the World and Make Money: Be a Social Entrepreneur

In the Cascade Business News I was reading on Saturday in Bend, there was an article entitled, “Are Short Term Financial Gains Killing Our Planet?” Subtitled, “How Reforms to Capitalism Can Save the Environment,” the article shared the views of Jonathon Porritt, sustainability advisor to the UK Prime Minister and author of Capitalism: As if the World Matters.

Pollitt argues for a more “positive and profound change” in the way the world’s economies work, and suggests several concrete, albeit radical, ways that capitalists can save the planet. Namely:

  1. Pay real prices for what we take from nature
  2. Balance short- and long-term economic interests with environmental interests, and
  3. Promote responsible consumption.

His organization, Forum for the Future, exists to push for just such a change.

If Pollitt’s suggestions are a bit radical, his agenda certainly isn’t. Capitalist concern for the environment and social welfare is more mainstream than ever. On CNN’s web site, would-be capitalists can search “America’s Best Colleges for Entrepreneurs” by the sub-category of Social Entrepreneur programs.

Socially responsible businesses aren’t anything new, but the explosive proliferation of them in the marketplace is. From earth-friendly car care and dry cleaners to wind power plants and biofuels, nearly every one of our daily consumption choices includes some form of socially responsible option.

At least, if you’re in Portland.

And if you’re in Portland, or even in Oregon, you’re also in a great place to join the social entrepreneur movement.

Through the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network, I’ve met some exciting innovators with up-and-coming enviroventures. The ladies behind OsoEco and the guys at End Outdoor are among the next generation of entrepreneurs, intent on showing the world how to develop profitable companies that also do right for our bodies and our Earth.

They, of course, are inspired by forerunners like Nau, New Seasons Market, Hot Lips Pizza, and Patagonia, to name just a few of many pioneering, Oregon-grown socially beneficial businesses.

Whether you start your business from the ground floor with social responsibility in mind, or you have a desire to back into it slowly and gradually, there is no good reason not to do it.

Following are some resources to help you become a social entpreneur.

Read More, Get Smarter

GreenBiz.com, Green Biz Essentials

The New Green Economy Archives at The Lazy Environmentalist Blog

Eco-Entrepreneurs Articles atGreen Options Blog


Opportunity Green Conference: Shaping the Future of Sustainable Business
November 17, 2007, Los Angeles, CA

Eco Packaging

Sustainable Packaging Coalition



No comments: