Doing Well. By Doing Good.
That’s how we define success at The Whole Truth.
Doing well, but leaving the world in a worse place than we found it in, doesn’t count. Too many businesses did that and look where that’s left us.
Doing good, without making it self-sustaining, doesn’t count either. There’s a reason philanthropy doesn’t scale. What’s sad though, is that we’ve all been made to see this as a choice. We’ve been taught that businesses are evil, profit-making machines that don’t (and shouldn’t) care for the means. We firmly believe the opposite. We believe that commerce vs conscience is a false choice. That these two aren’t at loggerheads. That doing the right thing can be scalable, profitable & sustainable. It has to be. What hope does humanity have if it isn’t?
The real problem though, is how does one define ‘good’? Doing well is well-defined. Revenue and profits and margins and scale. This one we business folks get. Defining ‘good’ though is a bit more complex. If I give away 2% of my profits as CSR, is that good enough? Ok, that’s the bare minimum by law, but how about 3%? Or 5%? And what if I support a cancer foundation? What if I give away 5p on every rupee of sale on this product, to an NGO? Am I doing good? Yes, you’re doing good. In fact, you’re doing better than most. But is it sustainable? Push comes to shove, when the chips are down and when business survival is at stake, will these initiatives survive? Good becomes sustainable when doing good isn’t an option. When it’s integral to business strategy. When you believe it’ll get you more consumers and hence more profit.
Good becomes sustainable when it starts making you money. Money that you can then re-invest into doing more good. A virtuous cycle!
Dairy & Plastic
Ok, wow, that’s a lot of talk for a fellow selling protein bars! I agree. But stay with me for a bit.
The whole reason why The Whole Truth came into existence, was to do the right thing. To set packaged foods right. We’d had it with brands lying through their teeth. So we set out to build India’s first, 100% clean-label food brand. And when we swore to never put anything in our food that we can’t declare proudly upfront, we inextricably linked our fortunes with doing the right thing. We left ourselves no other option. And it felt so good when consumers started rewarding us with their business! We were doing well. And the cleaner the food we made, and the more honestly, we communicated with our community, the better our business did! But with all the love also came heightened expectations. The community wanted us to do more. Their two biggest concerns being dairy & plastic.