On Doing: Well and Good
“Superman does good,” the character Tracy Jordan says in the hit sitcom 30 Rock, “You’re doing well.”
The joke is about grammar, but it brings to mind a tension that many businesses feel they face today—that between “doing well” and focusing on the business’ profitability and overall success, and “doing good” by engaging in sustainability initiatives or those that benefit an organization’s broader community of stakeholders. Indeed, it wasn’t long ago that growth, sustainability, and profit were seen as mutually exclusive—in the famous words of economist Milton Friedman, “the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits.”
The need to address this tension is acute. The world faces a number of overlapping crises—climate change, environmental degradation, and the unsustainable use of natural resources—that will stretch the abilities of society to adapt. On natural resources alone, scientists warn that we are burning through the resources of two earths, all while global CO2 emissions continue to rise.
Faced with these environmental crises, this old way of doing business and focusing on profits and growth to the detriment of the broader community of stakeholders is outdated. A new approach is needed, an economic system that recognizes that social impact and profit are not in opposition, but are mutually entwined with one another, and that recognizes the positive role that businesses can play–indeed must play–in creating this change.
At Étage, we call this nexus of “doing well” and “doing good” the Sustainability Economy, and it is our sweet spot. We work with a number of innovative and successful companies who are pushing the boundaries of what is possible in and for their communities. And we know one thing: that those who will succeed most in this new economy are the ones that most positively impact the world around them.
Think of a factory that leverages data across the shop floor to optimize workflows and minimize waste, a building site that uses smart technologies to improve safety on the jobsite, or an industrial facility that digitizes operations to smooth the transition to green energy.
At Étage, we are a group of wildly creative thinkers, writers, and doers and we’re passionate about one thing: Impact. We make it our business to help our clients succeed in this Sustainability Economy by enabling them to identify their impact and share it with those that matter most: their community. Because we know that there is more to the bottom line than just profits, and that the real impact of your work is often something that can’t be measured.
There are so many different ways to have an impact, so many different stories to tell. So whether you’re a small non-profit dedicated to strengthening local conservation efforts or a large multinational embarking on your own impact journey, we know you’re doing amazing things. You know you’re doing amazing things. And we all know that when we focus on doing something well, we can do incredible good too.