Forceforgood.com is a new website for business that does exactly what it says on the tin. Positioned as a ‘platform for sharing and debating responsible business practice’, it celebrates and promotes businesses that act as a force for good in the modern world – from biofuels enterprises to social projects to eco-finance. In other words, companies which make a difference as well as a profit.
The project is the brainchild of ‘think and do’ tank Tomorrow’s Company, which is bringing its annual ‘Challenges and Choices’ report into the brave new world of Web 2.0 (with a little financial help from deep-pocketed exec search firm Heidrick & Struggles). At Wednesday’s London launch, CEO Tony Mainwaring suggested that it’s ‘now in the self interest of business to be a force for good’ if they want to succeed in a 21st century market. His argument is that issues like climate change are becoming increasingly central to the way business works – because they impact on the immediate environment, because they present such huge opportunities, and because they can’t be solved without business help. So business has a vested interest in doing good – not to mention a moral obligation to get involved.
The website has also picked out seven ‘force for good pioneers’; they include Vicki Buck, a Kiwi biofuels entrepreneur; Robert Ruth, founder of social enterprise Job Factory, and Bob Hertzberg, a Cardiff-based eco-financier who has backed innovations like the G-Wiz electric car. ‘These powerful stories of enlightened self interest in business prove that there is a continuum between principles and profit,’ said Tashi Lassalle, who’s VP of Strategic Development Heidrick & Struggles (and almost as importantly, one of MT’s '35 Women Under 35’ for 2008).
It’s a compelling message, so we're all in favour of websites that promote it. After all, it's a pressing concern for businesses: in this day and age, it's bad for the brand if you're not seen as a force for good. And of course it's equally true that the changing world is bringing big opportunties for savvy entrepreneurs (as it always has, to be fair) - tapping into these long-term trends successfully could mean you end up with a reputation that's just as impressive as your bank balance...