The Public Goods Blog is about health, sustainability and people making an impact. That’s why we seek out and interview amazing people who can share incredible stories or valuable insights. Their wisdom might be the inspiration you need to live a healthier, more sustainable life.
There are plenty of publications about business, as well as tons of communities for business leaders. But what about entrepreneurs who are interested in sustainability, people who want their organizations to have a positive impact on the world? Believe it or not, there are business people who don’t think profit is the most important measure of success.
At Conscious Company Media, CEO and Co-Founder Meghan French Dunbar has dedicated her career to ensuring these types of business leaders can access a thriving online community and plenty of relevant content. Many of the organizations in her network are appealing to conscientious consumers who want to make ethical purchases.
To learn more about her work, we asked her a few questions. Here’s what she had to say:
Public Goods: What made you decide to found Conscious Company Media?
Meghan French Dunbar: The original catalyst for starting Conscious Company Media was pretty simple: my co-founder and I didn’t feel like there was a great, up-to-date resource for business leaders who were trying to use business as a force for good, which we thought was a large hole in the market.
From there the purpose of the company has grown into something larger. We see ourselves as an important voice trying to redefine success in business so that businesses aren’t only measured by how much money they make, but on how much good they can do in the world in addition to making money.
PG: How has Conscious Company Media had an impact in the field and practice of sustainability?
MFD: The main impact we’ve had is helping to tell the stories of businesses that are actually doing good in the world, which helps to inspire and educate other business owners on how they can run their own businesses better. For three years, we’ve been one of the only resources in the space providing cutting-edge ideas on how to keep improving conscious business practices within companies.
We also play an important role in helping to connect many of the players in the spaces through our convenings. We’ve heard numerous stories from our community, including people who have started their own businesses as a result of reading something in the magazine, people who have found partners as a result of reading about another company’s story in the magazine, and people meeting at one of our events who have gone on to partner on opening new businesses. As with most things in the space, it’s hard to quantify the impact we’ve had, but the stories that we’ve heard from our community have been the fuel that has kept us going.
PG: How can consumers determine which businesses align with their values of sustainability and ethics?
MFD: One of the easiest ways is to look for third-party certifications, such as Fair Trade, Organic, FSC, WBENC, and others depending on the product or service. B Corp is a great certification that helps consumers identify holistically sustainable companies that have passed a rigorous assessment process created by the nonprofit organization B Lab.
Beyond that, if it’s important for consumers to identify companies that align with their values, I would simply recommend digging a little further into a company beyond their label. Check out a company’s website and look for information on their founding story, their business practices, and anything else they’re willing to share with you.
MFD: Tell us about the World-Changing Women Podcast and why you created it.
As a young woman, I didn’t have too many examples of female founders or leaders of successful companies I could look up to. And as we know, it’s hard to imagine ourselves in places where we don’t see ourselves represented.
So, after profiling some of the most impressive, world-changing women who have founded incredible purpose-driven companies for more than four years now, I knew we had enough material to pull together a podcast that would tell the stories of some of the most impressive female founders in the world. As we imagine the impact that the podcast will have, we hope it’s a hugely helpful resource for anyone who has started a mission-driven business to hear insights from others who are on the journey AND we hope it will inspire anyone from marginalized communities to understand that it’s possible to start a company when the odds are stacked against you.
So, we’re telling the stories of female founders from all over the world from different industries — ranging from beer and restaurants, to beauty products and energy companies — so that people from all walks of life can understand what it takes to start a mission-driven company.
PG: How do you define a conscious company?
MFD: We define a conscious company as a company that takes all stakeholders into account and has a higher purpose beyond profit. We focus on three different pillars that we feel are equally important: conscious leadership, conscious company culture, and the impact that the company is having on the world.
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