Creating a Purpose Beyond Profit

Joel Patterson
purpose

Owning a business gives you the power to do good for the world. That might not be the first thing entrepreneurs consider when running a company, but the truth is the more money you make, the greater the positive impact you can have, and the greater your purpose can be. I’ve made it a priority to use my business to fuel good and give back.  

A highly relevant issue that’s come to my attention over the years is the excessive amount of waste created through technological innovation. At my company, we’ve made it part of our mission to work towards solving the rapidly growing problem of electronic waste.  

Recognize the Challenge. The tech industry evolves at an unprecedented pace. But this creates a downside that isn’t talked about as much. For every new piece of technology purchased, at least one is discarded. Considering our current rate of progress, that is a staggering amount of waste.  

The resources used to create each device get discarded when consumers reach for the newest model. Sourcing materials to create new tech negatively impacts the planet, and with each upgrade, some of those precious resources are mindlessly tossed. This is the design flaw in our current system. Companies must find a way to both be on the cutting edge of technology and advocate for conscious consumerism. Advances in electronics recycling are the only path to sustainability in tech. 

Create Solutions. Years ago, my company began working with a client in the electronics recycling sector. We learned quickly that the process of recycling old tech is complex, but that this service benefited the earth, as well as every person living here. Since we were hired to help them with their business management software, our first step was to develop an industry-specific software that could help them simplify and organize their business. But I wasn’t satisfied with stopping there. There had to be more that I could do. 

Spread the Word. My team and I decided that the first step was education. Electronic waste has a detrimental effect on the environment. Most people don’t understand how severe the situation really is. We wanted a way to inspire a larger audience to take action, so my company created a film to spread awareness. In our documentary, Silicon Mountain, we talk to experts about this highly prevalent challenge we’re up against. Of course, it didn’t benefit our bottom line to fund a film, but it fueled our greater purpose. 

Take Action. This is just one example of how a company can look beyond growth and profit to find a deeper, more meaningful purpose. How could you use your business to give back? Here are a few places to start:

  • Volunteer as a team for a local charity.
  • Raise money for a worthy cause.
  • Invest a portion of profits back into your community.
  • Use your platform to educate others about a cause.

Companies have the ability to change the world for the better. And the more people can do for one another, the brighter the future will be.