Imagining a Profitable Force for Good

Steve Wright
The Grameen Foundation

Can brands maximize profits and be a force for good? No.

Brands are legally required to maximize profit, and this precludes any opportunity for them to be a force for good.

To make this case convincingly, it is first necessary to define terms.

Profit Maximization: Maximum profit is the greatest possible difference of total cost from total revenue. To achieve maximum profit, a corporation must not only maximize revenue, it must also minimize cost.

Force for Good: Being a force for good suggests making measurable progress toward solutions to well-defined social problems.

Brands: This essay will use the terms "brand" and "corporation" interchangeably, and in both cases will be referring to the sum total of a corporation's activities and impact.

What limits a corporation's ability to be a force for good?