Green Meme: Do good *and* do well

This makes me nuts:

“You have to choose between doing good and making money. That’s just how the system is set up.”

In other words, you’ll get dinged for doing good.

It shows up in articles like this, with a convenient strawman of theoretical lawsuits and an entrenched misunderstanding of governance laws.


Can Firms Aim to Do Good If It Hurts Profit?

Blake Jones of Boulder, Colo., is one of the many modern entrepreneurs who say their goals extend beyond increasing the bottom line to such pursuits as reducing child poverty or protecting the environment. But he worries that embracing a mission other than maximizing profits could open the door to shareholder lawsuits because of decades-old corporate governance laws.

Utter nonsense.

It’s a false choice to say that it has to be one or the other.

(As a side note, Professor Lynn Stout has definitely staked the heart of the “Boards have a fiduciary requirement to maximize returns” belief. No. They don’t. See her book The Shareholder Value Myth. Why won’t this meme die?)

Responsible businesses do both today.


Saving the world or getting healthy returns is a false choice in finance

So, which is it for you: whales or your wallet? Do you want to save the world, or do you want financial success? Anna Laycock from Ecology Building Society is on hand to prove that the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

The long-term game here is about living and working responsibly today so that future people have the same chance. And yes, that means living and working profitably.

This is what responsible business have always done. Maximizing short-term gains is the newcomer to the table, courtesy of instantaneous trading and revolving door CEOs.

So when someone says that you can’t do well by doing good, walk the other way. They don’t have your–and your children’s–best interest at heart.

In fact, I’d question if they have a heart at all.

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