Macro vs. Micro in the World of Ethical Business

The business world has been blamed for just about everything from the dissolution of native cultures to the exploitation of natural resources. But Whole Foods CEO John Mackey and academic innovator Michael Strong take different angle. 

Spurred by conversations with Bookstop and Hoovers founder Gary Hoover, they decided entrepreneurship and markets could improve the world and the reputation of business at the same time. The product was Flow Inc.

We believe we can make the world a better place and that entrepreneurship and markets are the most powerful tools in doing that,” says Jeff Klein, Flow’s Chief Integration Officer.

Four years after starting the organization, Flow has partnered with NGOs and universities in an effort to focus on three core tenets: conscious capitalism, peace through commerce and fostering women entrepreneurs. They’ve also established Flow Activation Circles in New York, San Francisco, and Austin as well as partnerships in countries like Iraq, Israel, Colombia, and Rwanda.

But is Flow’s macro-level approach thinking too big? Perhaps. Organizations like Kiva have used far simpler means.

Via the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, Kiva allows users to track budding entrepreneurs and provide small amounts of funding, often $25 gift certificates, to further their business vision.

With organizations like Kiva getting endorsements from economists like Jeffrey Sachs, the micro-loan, first established by Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank in 1983, is one of the most enduring financial tools for leveraging progress in the developing world.

It’s too early to tell how effective Flow’s macro-level approach will be, and it doesn’t look like Mackey will be leaving Whole Foods anytime soon to run Flow. But even if Flow is merely a pet project, it sets a high mark for the rest of the corporate world to emulate.

Further Viewing:

Ray Anderson explains how he got his company to go sustainable at TED.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

What’s behind our appetite for self-destruction?

Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?

Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Each new year, people vow to put an end to self-destructive habits like smoking, overeating or overspending.

Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Photo: Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

Douglas Rushkoff – It’s not the technology’s fault

It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.

Think Again Podcasts
  • It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
  • Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Keep reading Show less