From the Editor: December 2017
It’s easy to be cynical about the world of business. Obscenely overpaid CEOs drive perfectly good companies into the ditch and walk away with millions. (Actually, most are likely chauffeured to a private jet and fly away with their ill-gotten gains, but whatever.) Meanwhile, working Americans haven’t seen a real boost in income since the Carter administration, even though productivity has increased dramatically.
At the same time, big business has unleashed powerful lobbying forces that are working hard to tilt every playing field they can find — consumer protections, environmental regulations, tax policies — in favor of corporations and the “Masters of the Universe” who lead them.
This month’s cover story, written by contributor Matt Golec, may serve as a bit of an antidote to this cynicism. In it, he highlights several Upper Valley and Twin State businesses — the Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society and King Arthur Flour Co. among them — that are pursuing a strategy known as the “triple bottom line.”
Companies that take this approach measure their success against more than mere profit. They also take into account the effect their businesses have on the environment, and they pay close attention to social considerations, including how they treat their employees and the communities in which they operate.
Staying in the black is critical, of course. “You need to make money to fulfill your mission,” Paul Guidone, the Co-op’s former chief financial officer and now a strategic adviser to the Co-op’s general manager, told Golec.
But a growing number of consumers, especially young ones, are taking sustainability seriously and want the companies they do business with — or work for — to be good corporate citizens. “Millennials are super interested in corporate responsibility, more than any other generation,” Paul Argenti, a professor at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, told Golec. “And they vote with their wallet, and their feet.”
The “triple bottom line” isn’t some static benchmark that can be hit and then forgotten about. It’s an ongoing process that requires a considerable hands-on commitment from the leaders of the companies that adopt the strategy.
No one’s saying everything’s always rainbows and unicorns at triple bottom line companies, but we’re fortunate to have a few in the Upper Valley that have made corporate responsibility a part of their corporate identities.
I’d like to take a moment to thank the readers and advertisers who have supported Enterprise since its inception in April 2015. While producing a new issue of the magazine every month has been rewarding in many ways, it has also been a considerable strain on a staff also charged with producing a daily newspaper. So, beginning next year, Enterprise will shift to quarterly publication.
We hope this change will take a little of the pressure off of our writers, photographers and editors, and also give us an opportunity to explore new ways to tell the stories of the Upper Valley’s business community. Thank you again for your support, and we’ll see you in 2018.