The moment you utter your first cry, your life has an impact. So, make it a good one! Join us for a quick dive into the power of personal choices, corporate accountability, and effective ways to make a difference.
Beyond the butterfly effect
Sure, it’s a truism, but “no man is an island” (John Donne). None of us exist in a vacuum – we are all integral parts of our social, economic, and natural environment. So, unless we plan to be hermits living entirely off-grid, whatever we do, say, or consume changes the world, ecosystem, and society around us … one click, word, or interaction at a time. And this doesn’t just apply to obvious behaviours, but also to everyday passive choices – the food we eat, the trips we take, the ideologies we support.
Such change, in itself, is neither good nor bad. Our conscious (and unconscious) actions can contribute to restoring a habitat or flattening it for construction; our investment decisions can support fracking or renewable energy sources; our personal and political paths can foster a sense of equality – or exploitation. Or, to phrase it more pragmatically: our personal and business decisions direct resources into products and services that have a net positive or negative impact.
Business as unusual
And what applies to personal choices is amplified in the corporate realm. Here, it’s even more vital to include impact in the risk/return equation since business choices apply at scale and affect a much larger number of stakeholders, often for years to come. But what are the most effective and efficient ways to change the world for good and ensure a liveable, sustainable future for all? And how can we apply these to the corporate world?
Quick primer to get you started: what you can do as a business
Every change starts with a single step – and taking stock.
Take a few moments to consider the following:
- How does your current business model support other stakeholders and positive development?
- Can you reimagine your products and services to actively improve a pressing issue?
Beyond the welfare of your own staff and community, the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals are a great place to start for gauging the impact of your business and setting goals that matter. Tackling issues from zero hunger to affordable clean energy, these not only demonstrate the sheer size of our collective challenge, but also plenty of potential for tangible tweaks.
- Which of these goals matter to you and your market?
- How can you reshape your business practices accordingly?
- How can you incentivise clients to act in line with these goals?
Potential measures may range from one-offs like switching to carbon-neutral servers to a more strategic overhaul of your entire business model, working towards a more equal society or encouraging customers to pick planet-friendly choices.
From responsibility to regeneration
Early attempts at voluntary corporate governance models, like Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), certainly sounded good, but often produced little more than reams of shiny reports and PR-focused greenwashing to justify existing business models. The subsequent focus shift to sustainability was soon expanded by social and ethical criteria to encompass ESG (environmental, social, and governance) guidelines. At the same time, corrections to standard practices proved not enough – a truly liveable, sustainable world requires a full shake-up of the way we do business, from how we structure our own business models to how we create and develop products and services This is true impact, to think of how businesses can become tools of regeneration and positive change in our planet and society.
A quick explainer of key impact-related concepts
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): the responsibility enterprises have for their impact on society, usually structured as corporate give-back programmes.
Environment, Social & Governance (ESG): environmental, social, and governance practices of an investment or business that may have a material impact on its performance.
Impact Investing: refers to investments made with the intention to generate social and/or environmental returns alongside financial results.
Regeneration: or regenerative capitalism (so-called “green swans”) involves profound market shifts that deliver exponential progress. Examples include the widespread electrification of transportation or the emergence of new behaviours like the switch to plant-based diets.
How we have an impact
Sounds abstract? At Remagine, we have structured our own operations and services to target what we believe to be the five most pressing of the UN’s SDGs in Germany and Europe: climate change, responsible consumption and production, no poverty, gender equality, and good health and wellbeing. Through our products and impact commitments we want to make a conscious contribution that benefits all involved: stakeholders, employees, and customers alike.
If you’d like to know more about how we’ve embedded five of these goals through our entire business, take a peek at our impact model.
We know that change and restructuring can be daunting. And considering the challenge, it might seem easier just to ignore it. Yet this path we’re all on is not about instant perfection, but incremental changes that add up over time.
We believe that taking the time to investigate possible, positive paths – on a personal and wider level – is vital and worth it. Because each of us has an impact. And it takes all of us to make a difference.