Blog • 7/08/2021
I’m a fan of Yvon Chouinard. He’s the founder of 1% For The Planet. He’s also the founder of Patagonia. By all measures, he’s a wildly successful capitalist. But he’d knock you in the nose for saying that.
As business people, we’re taught that where the buck stops is the bottom line.
Sure, there are plenty of books and Ted Talks and LinkedIn posts that extoll the value of investing in principles that don’t have anything to do with money. But sometimes it all feels like pretty lies that CEOs tell themselves on the way to the bank.
The planet is on fire. You know it. I know it. And if businesses don’t change the way they’re doing things, profits won’t matter.
The ecosystem is the greatest economic equalizer. If it’s thriving, we’re thriving. If it’s dying, we’re dying.
And that’s why our ethos as business people must be as simple as our environmental equation. If we can’t do right by the planet and the people we employ and the communities we serve, we have no right to be in business.
Yvon has this great line in his autobiography, Let My People Go Surfing: “If you want to understand the entrepreneur, study the juvenile delinquent. The delinquent is saying with his actions, ‘This sucks. I’m going to do my own thing.’”
Business models that profit from fossil fuels and predatory labor practices suck. Breathing unbreathable air sucks. Rising sea levels suck. Deforestation and raging wildfires and disappearing glaciers suck.
Let’s do our own thing. And let’s do it right. Because, citing Yvon again, “profits happen when you do everything else right.”
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