A Conscious Business- What Does It Really Mean?

Our climate is in crisis. This isn’t hyperbole but a fact. The scientific community may debate over many issues but they are largely in consensus about one thing- our current systems of food and fuel production are not sustainable and unless we change our ways, we are going to push our support systems (our environment) past the point of no return. We must evolve. And an evolving world needs evolved commercial models. Business will now need to operate with a conscience. But what does being a Conscious Business really mean and is it even possible?

The Guardian defines conscious business as: “Those following a conscious business approach are often seen as “more aware and awake” and seek to break down hierarchy and treat people like people, not resources. There is also a focus on internal company and personal processes in order to facilitate a sense of autonomy, empowerment and purpose.

We here at The Freedom Switch would like to add to that definition ever so slightly. According to a recent study conducted with the businesses we work with, a conscious business is defined as one whose objective is to create a positive impact on the planet and the people it serves, while also generating growth and profits. Conscious business leaders wisely identify the purpose that their business serves in society so as to catalyse human advancement while also taking the environment into consideration. Profit, therefore, is a byproduct of their business, and not the objective.

According to the UN, if the world’s biggest companies were made financially accountable to their own pollution and other damages they’ve caused to the natural environment, it would wipe out more than one-third of their profits (or $2.2 trillion dollars) The sad truth is that it is big business that has caused many of the problems and challenges we are facing in the world today. Be it land degradation, soil erosion, or water pollution – it all comes back to businesses and their priorities. However, it is also Business that has the capacity to bring about a positive revolution and solve many of the crises faced by the world today. A business that grows out of a major transformation in mindset and that supplies solutions can be called a Conscious Business. Keep in mind, this isn’t an ‘all or nothing’ scenario. Of course no business, just like no individual living in our modern world can function without some footprint. The aim however, is not perfection, but rather, to strive to bring about as much positive change with the least impact possible.

Case Study: Angie Ringler is the founder of Waste Free Products, a Florida-based business that has been running successfully for 7 years now. She and her team sell organic, vegan, plastic free and chemical free cleaning solutions all over the United States and is one of the leading suppliers of such products in the country. (Waste Free Products) She decided to start pivoting her business to be as waste-free as possible when she learnt that over 269,000 tons of plastic could be found floating in the world’s oceans and that number was steadily rising! By choosing to offer an eco-friendly option, Angie decided to be the change that she wished to see in the world.

As we can see, it is likely that being a conscious company will naturally lead to sustainable choices and thus some positive social impacts that will eventually reduce or even reverse the damage caused to the planet.
So, thinking of becoming a Conscious Business? Great! Remember that this is a journey and not a destination. If you are on a mission to make this world a better place by starting a business that is committed to values of integrity, responsibility and compassion, then you are already half way there and we appreciate you for your efforts. If you haven’t, then today is a fine day to begin. As Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said, ‘we do not inherit the earth from our forefathers, we borrow it from our children’.
So bring on the Conscious Revolution – Now is the time!
As entrepreneurs, we are stakeholders and we certainly want to make profit through our business. But the golden rule of business is the foundation of conscious entrepreneurship and this is what sets them apart from all other enterprises. They make profits and sell their brand, conscious of the fact that they want to make this world a better place for all living beings and the planet itself!
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