The business of doing good
In her Ted Talk, Wendy Woods argues about the benefits of doing good in a business environment. She claims that wealthy developed countries donated around 200 billion to poor developing countries struggling with poverty, hunger, climate change and inequality. While these donations have done a lot of good for many people, they are very small in scale compared to 3.7 trillion that businesses have invested in developing countries. She argues, that donations are not enough to truly make a change for these poor countries and that businesses should be the ones driving solutions. Furthermore, she claims that this does not have to hurt a business but could actually be beneficial. She uses Mars as an example. It is the 6th biggest company in the United States and focuses on partnerships with NGOs as well as work with small farmers. The company helps the cocoa farmers to increase their crop yields and provides them with fair wages. Furthermore, Mars tries to minimise deforestation. Woods goes on to talk about several different businesses that have significantly improved their profit margins by implementing the concept of CSR, corporate social responsibility. Lastly, she says that businesses are able to satisfy their customer needs while being profitable as well as making and impact on society in general.
What Wendy Woods says is important for all businesses, no matter if they were just established or have been around for a long time. I agree with Woods, that donations, while well-meant, are so small in scale that it is hard to truly make a difference for many people with them. Furthermore, many times they only help temporarily instead of fixing a core issue. Businesses have the chance to invest in developing countries and help the people to help themselves. This will lead to lasting change and true development, which will have a positive impact on global society. It not only improves the businesses’ reputation but can also help develop future markets and create a new customer base in the long run. While small start-up companies may not be able to invest in many cases, it is a good thing for them to keep in mind once their companies grow. If the start-up offers products instead of services, it would be an option to obtain raw materials from reliable sources that focus on fair trade for example. This does not necessarily have to be much more expensive than other options. Considering the current trend of healthy and fair products, the start-up can use this to its advantage by marketing products to an environmentally-focused crowd.
Most importantly, by investing in developing countries businesses do not have to lose profits, but it can actually help them increase their profit margins. That alone should be more than enough motivation to change their strategies and adopt new principles. It truly is a win-win situation when companies can increase profits while satisfying their customers’ need as well as aiding in the development of poorer countries and making a true global change.