I believe that business has the power to transform our world and save lives—more so than charities or governments. I believe that business can provide solutions for today’s biggest challenges. In fact, they must. Business has a unique role to play in the lives of people around the world. By meeting the needs of people through market-based solutions, it will not only strengthen the long-term success of a business, but also improve millions of lives. [...]
My experience [...] made me consider the power and potential of business to pioneer positive change. I made three primary observations. One, charities have a ceiling on their ability to increase people’s standard of living. Once people have a roof over their heads, basic health care, food, and primary education, they need opportunity and jobs. Charities are essential, like milk is to a baby. But once the child grows up, their needs change. Two, charities are dependent on donors. Donor politics aside, charities by their very nature are unsustainable, which is ever more apparent in a shaky economy. Donations to charity suffer as people and governments trim their budgets. Third, business has an opportunity to fill the gap and help in a way that charities and governments cannot.
I spent half of last year researching the feasibility of businesses doing good business by doing good in the world. I talked to marketing company CEOs on every continent about their markets and their clients, read research reports by Edellman and Deloitte, CSR propaganda from Fortune 500 companies, Harvard Business Review articles, and inspirational books like Let My People Go Surfing. The result: a nearly 100 page report that I then forged into an iPad app.