If we look back through history, there have been many advancements and revolutions made by humans that have led us to where we are today.
It began with the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s. This brought us steam power and mechanisation.
In the 1800s, we had mass production and electricity.
The next wave of advancements began in the mid-1900s with computers and automation.
And of course today we have a complete cyber world, thanks to the internet.
All of these revolutions have not just changed the way we live, but also the way we do business.
While business in the past was largely localised, we now have advanced technological systems in place that allow people to build and run big global companies that span many countries and employ thousands of people.
We are more connected than ever and have a wealth of knowledge and people power at our disposal.
But somewhere along the line, we have forgotten that there are actual people and finite resources powering our companies.
As consumer demand for cheaper products increased, so too did the prevalence of sweatshops. It became a race to the bottom as companies searched for where they could get the cheapest labour in countries that had very little, if any, enforced safe working conditions and laws to protect workers.
These countries also enforce almost no protection for the environment, meaning that companies from richer countries could come in, mass-produce and leave a trail of destruction in their wake that not only has extremely detrimental effects on the environment, but also on the health of the people who live in the area.
These companies had found the magic key to generating huge profit margins.
While we can’t dispute that the previous revolutions have greatly improved the lives of many people around the globe, we also can’t dispute the fact that we now know we can do business better.
In the past, modern slavery in the supply chain was basically a norm in many countries. And most people had no idea about the negative effects of business on the environment. We simply didn’t know any better.
But now we do. Now we know that climate change is real and all businesses have a responsibility to take positive action.
We know that we can’t just take whatever resources we want from the Earth, keep mass producing and not have a sustainable system in place to deal with waste.
We know that businesses can no longer abuse their workers, provide unsafe working conditions or very little pay.
We now know that this isn’t the way we should be treating each other or Mother Nature.
And yet, in 2021, it is still happening. Businesses are still not taking responsibility for their actions.
Now is time for the next revolution. A revolution of the way we do business.
We need to create companies that empower people and are diverse. We need to create companies that care about their impact on the environment and do all they can to minimise it.
Mostly, we need to create companies that aren’t built on a profit-at-all-costs model. This model for business may have gotten us through in the past to where we are now, but it certainly won’t hold up in the future.
We can see from the protests that have been occurring all over the world that people are demanding action from leaders. And anyone with a business is responsible to stand up and take that action.
We know we can do it. We have social entrepreneurs who are building businesses that create a better world for us all, while at the same time building ethics and sustainability into their business model.
And while social entrepreneurship may be relatively niche now, it is growing all the time.
In the future, it will simply be the way to do business. And all companies should take notice.
Big corporations have the resources to make the necessary changes.
Smaller companies can also work out a plan, time frames and allocate resources to transforming the way they do business.
And new businesses can ingrain this new business methodology into the company from day one.
It’s not up to one type of business, but all of us.
We all have a role to play in revolutionising the way we do business.
There are no excuses anymore. We have the knowledge and resources to do better, for our fellow humans and the entire planet.