Business As a Force For Good?

Posted in Dharma’s Culture, Social Responsibility.

Image of a globe cupped in an extended hand

Business As a Force for Good? As we enter into this autumn season, there is a lot going on in the world that may be distracting, like the euro immigrant crisis, polarizing political primaries, incredible deception of Volkswagen, possibility of a government shutdown due to congressional bickering, income inequality in America … and the list goes on. As a small business here in the United States, you may be struggling with in-house issues such as meeting payroll, delivering products and services, expanding market share, managing staff, cash flow problems … and your list may go on and on. So why should you care about the larger issues in the world? What does any of this have to do with you? And what could you do about them anyway?

We have come to see business (or commerce) as one of the institutions that has created the greatest change in the evolution of our species by lifting masses of people everywhere from hunter-gatherer existence into societies of creative abundance by way of technological, agricultural, educational, scientific, and even moral awakenings. This is the legacy of business, which still exists today in the form of responsibility to the human species to come together to understand the cause and effect of our actions for the good of all. One may not have the resources to affect change on a global level, but even taking the time to hold people in our hearts who greatly suffer at the hands of others is an act of compassion and understanding, which can affect how we may interact with a co-worker or client in a more meaningful way. Dharma has a tag line – commerce with compassion – which underscores this caring intention of holding space for the needs of others. Of course we cannot definitively measure how this affects our bottom line, though anecdotally we seem to be gaining ground with merchants who resonate with our model of integrity and transparency, and for sure we can measure the degree of happiness by this purposeful intention. Our holistic approach has also allowed us to continue to donate substantial amounts money to nonprofits that can and do provide relief to global problems. And our staff wholeheartedly endorses this approach, and the use of our company funds to do so.

There are many other ways to view business as a force for good, but the point is that for significant change to happen, we cannot depend on individuals to reach critical mass to affect social change, nor can we rely on governments to do so. But business is ubiquitous throughout the world and has the scope and power to make a difference. We urge all of our stakeholders to step out of small-world thinking and into a generous mindset of whole-world thinking. And we would love to hear how you are doing so!