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The concept of a triple bottom line — people, planet and profit — isn’t new. I personally ran a nonprofit that focused on redefining the role of business as a social partner and was founded as long ago as the early 1980s.
In recent years, the triple bottom line has become even more popular, as businesses realize the power of making people feel good. People buy stuff because they like it, but if doing so means they’re also giving a pair of shoes to someone who needs them or planting a tree where one’s needed, the purchase pushes their feel-good button. And the sense of altruism that results keeps them coming back for more.
If that sounds cynical, I don’t mean it to. Tapping the altruism button may trigger consumer behavior, but it also allows businesses with positive intent to thrive. Learning to seek profits in an ethical manner will not only help your bank account, but help the world at large.
There are, however, a few keys to doing it right.