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Can Social Entrepreneurship Save our Earth?

Thom Ruhe

In a time when our world’s escalating environmental and social woes are weighing heavy on my mind, it was an uplifting change of pace to sit down with Gifford Pinchot III. While he too is waging battles in his mind between an optimistic father holding out hope that the earth we’re borrowing from his descendants isn’t doomed and a pessimistic intellectual who knows some damage is simply irreversible, for Gifford, the optimistic wins out. And his faith could lie in the hands of socially conscious entrepreneurs.

Beyond being a best-selling author and the legend credited with coining the term intrapreneurship (the topic of discussion in a past episode of Top of Mind), Gifford is co-founder of the Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI), an amazing school that has turned both education and entrepreneurship on its head by offering the first MBA in sustainable business. BGI’s educational programs mix sustainability—environmentally and socially responsible —with traditional business practices. This convergence means BGI is churning out graduates with the intelligence and energy to use the power of business to do some good in the world.

Bainbridge Graduate InstituteThe alumni stories are inspirational. There’s a young man whose farm incubator is helping new growers get their start; a woman whose gift registry company helps keep local money in local economies; and a business consultant advising large organizations on how adopting sustainable business practices makes good business sense. Individually, these entrepreneurs are building socially conscious companies. Collectively, they are building a sustainable world while challenging the notion that socially responsible companies are at odds with a profit motive.

While some might call it a buzzword, Gifford and the 500+ alumni of BGI know there’s more validity to it than a catch phrase. Sustainability is becoming an industry standard, and as it does, entrepreneurship will lead to worldwide good in more ways than ever.

What do you think? What sort of hope can we have for our world if left in the hands of socially conscious entrepreneurs? Give some love to the comment section by dropping in your thoughts below.

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