Until recently, nonprofits and businesses have exited in separate realms. Nonprofits focused on helping people and the environment, while businesses focused on building revenue. Times have changed and the rank of purpose-driven business owners and socially conscious businesses are on the rise. These socially conscious entrepreneurs and brands are driving innovation and changing systems in order to solve social problems, while at the same time running successful for-profit businesses. Looking to join their ranks? Check out these changemakers who are disrupting business as we know it, helping to solve social problems and changing economies for the better.
Socially conscious business influencers
1. Blake Mycoskie, @ :: Blake Mycoskie is the founder of one of the best-known social brands, TOMS. Mycoskie founded TOMS in 2006 after a visit to Argentina where he learned that many children get sick or injured because they do not have shoes to wear. To combat this, he created TOMS, a business that donates one pair of shoes to needy people for every pair that’s bought. So far, the company has donated more than a million pairs of shoes. In 2011, the company launched another initiative which aims to give away a pair of glasses or sight-saving surgery for every pair of sunglasses or glasses sold.
2. Christopher Gavigan, @Christopher_Gav :: Christopher Gavigan is a well-known environmental health leader, social entrepreneur, author, speaker, and environmental scientist who builds impactful brands through meaningful communications platforms, innovative consumer products, and social engagement strategies. He is the Founder of The Honest Company and former CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World.
3. The B Team, @ :: The B Team is a not-for-profit initiative formed by a global group of business leaders to catalyze a better way of doing business, for people and the planet. The team includes: Oliver Bäte, Sir Richard Branson, Marc Benioff, Sharan Burrow, Kathy Calvin, Bob Collymore, David Crane, Arianna Huffington, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtlandt, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Yolanda Kakabadse, Guilherme Leal, Andrew Liveris, Strive Masiyiwa, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Arif Naqvi, François-Henri Pinault, Paul Polman, Mary Robinson, Ratan Tata, Zhang Yue, Professor Muhammad Yunus, and Jochen Zeitz.
4. Paul Polman, @ :: CEO of consumer giant Unilever and believer in business as a force for good. Paul actively seeks cooperation with other companies to implement sustainable business strategies and drive systemic change. Under his leadership, Unilever has an ambitious vision to fully decouple its growth from overall environmental footprint and increase its positive social impact through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.
5. Jacqueline Novogratz, @ :: Founder and CEO of Acumen, a nonprofit global venture capital fund whose goal is to use entrepreneurial approaches to address global poverty. In her book, “The Blue Sweater,” she tells the firsthand account of her journey from international banker to social entrepreneur and founder of Acumen.
6. Charlie Kim, @ :: Socially conscious entrepreneur who founded Next Jump in 1994 in his college dorm room. After surviving the dot-com bust, Next Jump has quietly emerged as a major force in the digital commerce sector that fosters a good corporate culture that makes people happy to work at the company. Charlie’s philosophy is to grow your people, for the purpose of helping others.
7. Lauren Bush Lauren, @ :: Co-founder, CEO, and creative director of FEED Projects. Lauren founded FEED in 2007 with the simple idea of creating products that would engage people in the fight against hunger in a tangible way. FEED bags are made by artisans in established cooperatives in Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Kenya and Peru to provide sustainable livelihoods to underserved populations. Through the sale of their products, the socially conscious business provides meals in the countries where they were produced, closing the loop on their investment in those communities.
8. Ashoka Changemakers, @ :: Changemakers activates a global network of social entrepreneurs, innovators, business leaders, policy makers and activists to build the movement for Everyone A Changemaker. Changemakers works to build this movement by searching, selecting and supporting entrepreneurs, delivering ground-breaking analysis, accelerating company intrepreneurship, and creating strong partnerships that will drive the movement forward. hangemakers
9. Devin D. Thorpe, @ :: Devin Thorpe was a finance guy until he realized life wasn’t all about the money. As a new-media journalist, contributing to Forbes and hosting a YouTube show, and founder of the Your Mark on the World Center, Devin has established himself as a champion of social good.
Socially conscious media outlets
10. Conscious Company Magazine, @ConsciousCoMag :: The first print and digital, nationally distributed publication in the U.S. to focus solely on sustainable business and business as a force for good. Follow them for inspiration and tips on how you too can positively affect society and the environment through business. A big plus, they’re based in Colorado like us!
11. B Mag, @officialbmag :: B The Change Media is the voice of business as a force for good, founded in conjunction with B Lab and the community of B Corporations.
12. Conscious Magazine, @ :: Conscious is a magazine that explores how innovative ideas and creative solutions are used to create impact around the globe. It is also a movement and a community with a strong human connection inspiring readers through powerful storytelling about what it means and what it takes to be a conversation starter.
13. Origin Magazine, @ :: Origin Magazine is the platform for art, culture, conscious lifestyle, humanitarianism, sustainability and yoga. Creating a cohesive and connected conscious community that collaborates and creates, builds bridges and breaks barriers, Origin Magazine is a channel for transformation, connection, vision, intention and creation.
14. Causeartist, @ :: Causeartist is a social enterprise platform, which covers brands, startups, and social entrepreneurs impacting the world through social enterprise.
15. Social Good Stuff, @ :: Social Good Stuff curates ideas, resources and inspiration for creating positive societal impact through its Twitter feed and in its blog. If you’re in need of some guidance or inspiration as you try to change the world, check out their blog post listing the best podcasts for social entrepreneurs and change makers.
These are just a few of the socially conscious business influencers we follow on Twitter. What other Twitter influencers inspire you to do good through your business? Let us know your thoughts at @OrapinMarketing.
Rhiannon Hendrickson is the founder and CEO of Orapin Marketing + Public Relations, which helps purpose-driven companies share their stories and become a leading voice for their cause. She has worked with organizations of all sizes across myriad sectors to develop memorable and effective communications programs that generate awareness, engagement, and, ultimately, support for those that are making a meaningful impact.