Businesses with Purpose

Businesses are such powerful tools for creating change in the world – positive or negative.  However, some companies (one of them being my own) decide from the very start to make sustainability and ethics at the core of the business, and build on that foundation.  Some great organizations, like B-Corp, create fantastic frameworks to help entrepreneurs and business leads follow best practices.  Here are some examples I wanted to share of companies that are following this framework, and using business to create sustainability….not just in the environmental sense, but in almost every way possible – environmental, economical, and ethical sustainability:


In the interest of full disclosure, I am co-founder at PAW5, but am happy to be so closely tied to a company built on the foundation of ethics and sustainability, and wanted to share.  PAW5 is a brand of environmental enrichment puzzle feeders for dogs, with the flagship product being the Wooly Snuffle Mat – a new way to feed your dog.  The company was founded on rock-solid core vales of Sustainability, Integrity, and Thoughtful Design.  We discuss our initiatives and core values at length here, but they aren’t just a bunch of words on paper – we put them to action.  As an example, the first product we ever made was not just Made in the USA – it was made on a hyper-local basis, within 250 miles of our headquarters, at one of the country’s longest-tenured woman owned injection molding manufacturers, and in a nearly zero-waste manufacturing process, where excess plastic is re-ground and re-used to minimize waste.


We’ve all heard of Patagonia, but less talked about is this company’s dedication to sustainability.  From charitable giving, to ethical product sourcing and paying a living wage, this company walks the walk.  They even have a repair/recycle program to extend the life of their products, and do their best to keep you in the clothes you’ve already purchased, instead of talking their customers into buying more.


The yerba mate beverage company has a unique way of concretely binding business ethics with revenue and profitability, with their Market Driven Restoration initiative, which directly links the company’s sales with farming practices and restoration efforts in the areas where yerba mate is harvested.  And, as with all sustainable companies, the initiative isn’t just tied to environmental sustainability – the company is focused on expanding the value of Guayakí for all stakeholders involved – from the communities they participate in, to their customers, farmers, and employees – and all done in a way that is linked with building a profitable business.