Changemakers often see business as a plundering, predatory force with nothing but profit on their minds, leaving to the wayside all sense of humanity and well-being. But in permaculture, we often see the problem as part of the solution. If we take a closer look at businesses, what are they really? They are conscious entities of their own, each with its own purpose and values system. Suspending our thoughts about corporate personhood for a moment, in a way they truly are like people – they hold different beliefs and values about different situations, they have personalities, appearances, they influence the surrounding eco-social community, and their actions ultimately stem from their beliefs and values.
International corporate businesses may boast values of service and well-being on the surface, but do their actions truly align with their supposed values? When the actions of a business are truly aligned with the permaculture ethics of care for the earth, care for the people, and sharing the surplus, the business can truly only be a force for good. Green businesses embrace the triple bottom line – people, planet, and profit. They aim to use the profit to do more good.
Green businesses embrace authenticity branding and approach marketing in a way that doesn’t exploit their customers, but instead educates and inspires them to support eco-social sustainability. Can branding really be authentic? This may sound like a revolutionary, impossible idea, but it really can be. If you can be authentic in the way you express yourself, then you can be authentic in the way you brand your business. In a sense, your physical expression and your personality combine to form something like a brand for your personal self. By extension, an authentic business brand expresses its core purpose, beliefs, and values.
Permaculturists are truly businesspeople. Running a design consultation firm, a farm, or an educational company all require business expertise. When business skills are lacking, permaculturists cannot reach as many people, nor transform as many sites into edible ecological havens. Without conscious business skills, the movement suffers and slows down.
When we adopt a new paradigm for green, conscious businesses, we can amplify our ability to create a just, clean world that much faster.