Responsible careers: As socio-eco innovators (SEIs), we want to pursue responsible careers through ecnonomic, social and environmental value creation. Whether by creating our own companies, by joining companies that get business done better, or by buying products from social enterprises, we can all contribute to business models that aim at generating profits while taking good care of people and the planet. First, our Justmeans company interface can help you identify companies and organizations that are doing good work and are significantly contributing to getting business done better!
In addition, a recent study by BusinessWeek featured 28 growing social enterprises that are worth keeping on your radar screen for future responsible job opportunities as well as potential companies to buy products from. These social enterprises really reinforce the notion that businesses can do well whiled doing good in any industry and wherever you are located! Let’s review these organizations by industry:
Agriculture and Manufacturing
- Driptech – Based in California, Driptech provides affordable irrigation equipment for small farms. With orders from all around the world, their innovative irrigation systems are not only profitable but could also make a dent to alleviate hunger around the world.
- Roxbury Technology – Based in Massachusetts, this company employs inner city workers to re-manufacturee and distribute toner to over 50 clients.
Business And Consulting Services
- Mission Measurement – This consulting firm based in Illinois aims at helping mission-driven organizations objectively measure their social impact and translate that data into future growth strategies.
- Pearl Interactive Network – This administrative services firm based in Ohio employs workers with disabilities and teaches them to complete a range of tasks ranging from IT help desk services, to call centers to administrative duties.
- Source44 – This company provides data analysis and management services to compute the ecological cost involved in the production of specific products. Through their data systems, clients can compute how much water and energy were required to produce a specific product as well as the product’s contribution to carbon emissions or deforestation.
- The Redwood Group – This insurance company provides insurance products and services to higher risk organizations. Their approach of collaborating with their insured clients and train them to become less risky have led to remarkable results. For instance, their partnership with YMCA around changes in lifeguard training led to eliminating children death from drowning at their insured YMCAs in 2009.
Construction And Home Products
- Eleek – Based in Oregon, this company reuses materials sourced locally to produce home fixtures such as lights, sinks, light fixtures.
- Green Depot – Based in New York, this company provides sustainable building supplies, this company has grown despite the construction downturn, they are currently expanding their revenue streams through an e-commerce site.
- Recurve – Based in California, this company provides energy audit and retrofitting services to enable companies and homeowners to reduce their energy consumption.
Consumer Products and Food
- BTTR Ventures – Based in California, BTTR Ventures sells mushrooms (that grow on discarded coffee grounds). They also sells home kits for those who want to grow mushrooms on their one coffee grounds.
- Hello Rewind – Based in New York, Hello Rewind produces custom laptop sleeves made out of old T-shirts, and made by victims of sex trafficking.
- Organic Valley – Based in Wisconsin, this co-op created in 1988 has grown to $600M in revenue, and over 1,200 farmer members across 32 states. In addition to dairy, this co-op also sells eggs, produce and meat.
- Sustainable Harvest – This coffee importer and sustainable development organization serves as a bridge between over 200,000 coffee growers and coffee roasters around the world. The company provides training to growers to produce better coffee and sells their coffee to large roasters, including Whole Foods and Green Mountain Coffee.
- BlackGold Biofuels – Based in Pennsylvania, BlackGold Biofuels develops equipment and provides consulting services to help companies turn sewer grease into biodiesel – They are planning to grown in the US Northeast and Southeast in 2010.
- Global Cycle Solutions – Based in Massachusetts, the devices produced by this company attach to bikes. Pedaling the bike enables the device to produce energy that can then be used for multiple purposes (e.g. recharge a cell phone, grind corn into flour).
- Green Light Clean Light – Based in Michigan, Green Light Clean Light produces light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs that only consume 25% of the energy required by conventional light bulbs.
- Powerhouse Dynamics – Based in Massachusetts, this company sells devices that enable homeowners to monitor how and where electricity is most used in their home. This diagnostic tool helps homeowners make decisions about how to cut back their electricity consumption.
- MPower Ventures – This company, based in Texas, offers financial services to low-income customers. Their services includean asset management for low-income customers anda cell phone-based payment service.
- Progreso Financiero – This company, based in California, makes micro-loans that help low-income borrowers gain access to more affordable loans as well as build their credit history and credit scores.
- Southern Bancorp – This bank with operations in Arkansas and Mississippi aims at providing banking services to communities that other bank desert. Furthermore, Southern aims at reducing poverty and unemployment in rural areas, as well as increasing the high school graduation rate of the communities they serve.
- Napo Pharmaceuticals – This company based in California aims at producing and distributing a drug to treats diarrhea around the world. The company’s goal is to create a profitable business while making sure that the drug is accessible to all patients that need it, no matter where they are located.
- Mobis Transportation Alternatives – This company makes bike stations to offer alternative transportation options throughout the US. Their stations includeoffer storage lockers, repair services, and changing rooms in addition to secure parking for bicycles. The company is partnering with transit agencies, real estate developers, and universities to offer transportation alternatives to driving.
- NuRide – This free membership community promotes carpooling. Members of the community who carpool are rewarded with credits at partner restaurants, websites and other businesses.
- MAR Systems – Based in Ohio, this company provides a compound that turns wastewater into clean water and in theprocess generates a disposable material that can sold as a concrete filler.
- Re:char – Based in Texas, this company transforms previously discarded food processors’ byproducts (e.g. nut shells, rice hulls) into biochar, which can be used as cooking fuel or as fertilizer.
I hope this list enables you to get inspired about the growing opportunities offered in the US an abroad to do well while doing good! In future posts I will cover social enterprises that were created beyond the US. If you have suggestions about countries you would like to see featured, please let me know!