Social Enterprise Connects Purpose and Innovation

One of the best parts of starting this blog has been the opportunity to immerse myself in it. I find new companies each day, some that have existed for years, that are steadfast in their mission. Purposeful leaders who are asking “both/and” questions and merging their business goals and social responsibility.

I recently came across Greyston, a B Corporation-certified bakery in Yonkers, that has a history of Open Hiring™. For more than 30 years, Greyston has been asking “both/and” questions and developing signature initiatives that weave together business innovation and social justice. The company, which supplies brownies to Whole Foods and Ben & Jerry’s, provides individuals with employment, skills and resources to lift them out of poverty.

Rapidly growing, Columbus, Ohio-based Hot Chicken Takeover has a similar philosophy, serving as a “fair chance employer.” The company, which has worked to perfect its recipe for Nashville Hot Chicken, is expanding around Columbus and holding to its mission to provide jobs to men and women who need a fair chance at work.

I’ve also encountered brands, like Impossible Food, Boxed Water and Halo Coffee, finding the answers to “both/and” questions. Impossible Food, for example, is doing…well…the impossible. Recognizing the environmental burden of meat, Impossible Food is combining science and plants to invent new ways to make delicious meats that are good for people and the planet. Starting with the Impossible Burger, this company is working to transform the global food system.

Likewise, Boxed Water and Halo Coffee entered an existing category with the goal to fix the problem of waste. Boxed Water is a sustainable water company changing the way water is sold, shipped and consumed. From sustainable packaging to transportation to reforestation, Boxed Water is working to upend the way we think about grab and go water. UK-based Halo Coffee has introduced a similar change to the world of specialty coffee. Every Halo cup is completely biodegradable and made from a natural blend of bamboo and paper pulp yet carefully crafted to ensure maximum flavor.

When I read about purposeful leaders, I am amazed not just at their passion for giving back but also their tireless commitment to quality. In my last post, I shared that occasionally people believe companies that pursue purpose do it in lieu of profit. However, in asking “both/and” questions, these leaders are often pushing the limits to create both good and good products.

From brands like Chobani and KIND to Impossible Food and Hot Chicken Takeover, purposeful leadership requires a dedication to a meaningful purpose and a drive to deliver a high quality product. Perhaps it is the same passion to try to change the world that leads them to try to change the marketplace.