Many family businesses and entrepreneurs around the world have formally or informally based their businesses on a social vision, or have integrated responsible measures and behaviours into their value chains. Family owned business by their nature have a long-term strategic orientation whereby providing a healthy business and environment to future generations is a priority. This coupled with a natural embeddedness in the community leads family businesses to often quite naturally be involved in caring for and protecting society and the environment. Here are four notable examples:
Boll & Branch
A quality mattress and comfy sheets are undoubtedly two important ingredients for a good night’s sleep. How many people, however, stop to think about where their bedding comes from, or how their purchases affect the people who make the linens? These are questions Missy and Scott Tannen asked themselves while frustratingly shopping for sheets in 2013. The couple could not figure out whether the cotton was organic, and did not understand why bedding was so expensive to begin with. Upon further research, they realised the average mark-up was an astounding 400–600%, even though the industry did not observe fair or ethical labour practices. The principled couple decided to start a luxury bedding family business, selling organic, quality textiles made by well-paid workers. Today Boll & Branch is one of the fastest growing home textile brands. More importantly, it is the first home textile company to receive Fairtrade Certification thanks to fair wages and above-standard working conditions for cotton farmers and factory workers in India. In addition to its commitment to supply chain sustainability, the family firm also donates a portion of its sales to a non-profit dedicated to eradicating human trafficking.