“Never before has there been a greater opportunity and need for leadership from the world of business. Never before has there been a greater need for an inclusive economy that works for everyone, respects everyone, and creates opportunities with dignity for everyone.”
These words were sent out to the B Corp community by B Lab, the nonprofit behind the B Corp designation, the day after Election Day. During the election, some of the darkest, most perverse aspects of our capitalist system were on display—tax incentives favoring the wealthiest among us, eager use of bankruptcy to redistribute losses from failed ventures, and disrespect for the environment in favor of short term economic benefits.
At High Impact, we believe in the capitalist system because of our unwavering trust in the goodness of people to mobilize to bend capitalism toward the good of all. Capitalism runs on incentives—the incentive to work hard to improve your lot, the incentive to find innovative ways to disrupt markets, and yes, the incentive to avoid taxes and build wealth. We stand behind B Corps and the broader social enterprise movement as the best vehicle to bring another incentive to bear on the capitalist system—the incentive to have a conscience, act responsibly, and even go out of your way to do good in order to attract and retain customers.
Most people want to do good in the world, and this positive capitalism movement offers us the chance to do good in the most mundane ways, by buying laundry detergent that doesn’t harm the environment, shopping for Christmas gifts at a store that treats its lowest wage workers fairly, and investing in a company that deploys capital to benefit the underserved. By spending our money at businesses that commit to integrity, transparency, compassion, and responsibility to all stakeholders, we can make the incentive for businesses to act in these ways irresistible.
Capitalism, when infused with humanity, is beautiful. It does not demand the ruthlessness and willing exploitation that has been on display in the debates and defenses heard during the election. It can be conducted with dignity, love, and respect for all. That is our goal at High Impact. We may be small, but we are proud to do what we can to support and grow compassionate capitalism.
To find companies doing the most good, visit the B Lab website here.
To find nonprofit lenders who you can invest in or donate to, visit the CDFI Fund’s website here.