We’ve all heard of consumer power. But in my opinion, what most people think about when they think about consumer power, is the power that companies have over us, and how that power grows with every purchase we make. We line the pockets of the CEOs of big multinational companies who only continue to make products that harm people and the environment. The people at the top keep benefiting, while many people continue to go without their basic needs. In some cases it grows so much that it can send a man into space.
But we should be looking at consumer power differently, because consumer power starts with us. It is our power. And every purchase we make, can either harm, or help. Now if we combine that with social enterprises, something amazing can happen. Social enterprises have the ability to breathe in profit, and breathe out social impact. A purchase can change a life, spark a change or take a step to reverse climate change. A purchase can do so, so much.
Power to the social enterprise
Social enterprises have found the key to sustainable growth and, well, creating a better world. Traditionally, capitalism has existed on a model of “grow at any cost”, and philanthropy has stepped in to try to clean up the damage. Now, that “mess” is too big. It’s a climate emergency, it’s gender inequality and it’s poverty.
Martin Luther King said it best, “Philanthropy is commendable, but it should not allow the philanthropist to overlook the economic injustice that makes philanthropy necessary.”
Philanthropy also relies on “convenient empathy”, which is the idea that people only care when it’s convenient. Donation models are often built on convenient empathy, and as we know especially since the COVID pandemic, those models are fragile.
But there’s a way to change that. We believe, one of the best ways is by making positive impact a given. By “hiding” it in the production of every product, combining it with every good and every service. By reserving part of the sale for bigger impactful projects too, that always help the people who need it most. That way, people are supported and empowered at every opportunity and consumers have the real power – the power of creating a change. And with trillions of dollars spent every day on stuff, that’s a lot of power.