Good growth in a recession: It’s not either-or

“The ultimate measure of man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.” 

When Martin Luther King Jr said those words, he was referring to the civil rights struggle in the USA, clearly a time of great challenge and controversy, when taking a stand for what was right took great courage. But the message applies today: what we do in hard times shows our character.

These are hard times, for many people and many businesses. All the forecasts suggest difficult trading conditions over the next two quarters, with little guarantee that will be the end of our macroeconomic woes.…

What will this mean for our ambitions for ‘good’ growth – growth that is not only socially responsible but socially beneficial, and that is sustainable in every sense of the word? We’ll soon see if CEOs’ words about such things in better times were hollow.

Some who mean well may struggle to find the same resources to put into ESG projects, or their green transformation. They may feel they cannot afford to focus on responsibility.

Yet it’s wrong to see doing well and doing good as a dichotomy, choosing one or the other. The long-term trend is that people are getting more interested, not less, in sustainable, socially-conscious consumption. The same can be said for investors who want profitability that is sustainable in the long term.

So while it may appear to be a cost saving to pull back from social purpose or sustainability, it’s a false economy, a bit like cutting marketing during a recession – don’t kid yourself, it will cost you more eventually.

It’s also wrong to see doing good as something that has to be all or nothing. If you can’t afford your hoped-for push to net zero, then don’t just give up entirely, look for things you still can do, today.

Let’s say you want to become a B Corp. You don’t have to do everything within the framework yet, you could just focus on one section and aim for B Corp status in four years instead of two.

Perhaps you’ve been trying to give back to your local communities by engaging with the third sector. Rather than support three charities, you could focus on one for now, and make more of that pro bono giving rather than cutting cheques.

At least that means you’re still trying, and still moving in the right direction.

Ultimately, that’s what good growth is – a journey not a destination – and your character is the choices you make on that journey.

N.B. BCORP companies exceeded 1000 at the end of 2022…and the list is growing…so looks like the movement is truly growing.

Find out more about how ORESA can help architect your business for good growth.

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Growth and Leadership

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