What does it mean to create shared value?

The long-standing business model of profit, for the sake of profit, does not have to be the status quo.

Any company can adopt additional responsibilities that are social and environmental, in addition to producing profit for the sake of profit. This is called a Conscious Company. Consumers also carry some of the burden of these responsibilities. In today's society, people are increasingly interested in the values of a company as opposed to just obtaining products and services. We have now learned that when you support a company financially, you are also supporting the values and actions of that company, even if it means sweat-shops and environmental degradation. To change this, many businesses have modified business practices, donated to charities, and made systemic changes that benefit society while making profit. They have created shared value and begun to label themselves as conscious companies. There are varying degrees to which a given company adheres to mutually beneficial practices. There are more third party regulators to measure the effectiveness of the conscious practices.

“To inform and inspire people who have a passion for using business as a force for good in the world.” - B the Change Media

One way of showing dedication to consciousness as a business is to become a Certified B-Corporation, also known as B-Corps. B-Corps are businesses that "balance purpose and profit"(bcorporation.net). This qualification is very specific and takes a lot of time and effort to receive. If you see a business with this certification, it is likely that they are making responsible decisions, economically and environmentally.



So, how can you know if you are supporting conscious businesses in your community?

There are actually only four B-Corps businesses in Maine as of now. Those are: Coffee by Design, Wicked Joe Organic Coffee, MaineWorks LLC, and Atayne, LLC. Along with these four B-Corps businesses, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection has awarded over 150 businesses with “Environmental Leader” Awards to businesses that are making efforts to be more sustainable, like serving local foods and using non-toxic chemicals(Maine DEP). Their website includes a map and searchable list for you to find businesses around you that you can feel good about supporting.

Zoë Fluet

Zoë Fluet is the Director of Communications at Gray Fox Real Estate.