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Business with a conscience

If you believe Hollywood, the business world is a cold, dark place where the only concern is chasing down every dollar.

However, more businesses are becoming increasingly conscious of their roles and responsibilities with the community.

EthicalJobs.com.au, a job-search website for people looking to ‘work for a better world’, recently celebrated its fourth birthday.

The site lists jobs that contribute to a ‘more equitable, more just, or more sustainable world’, and is seeing the number of listings grow every day as a result of more and more ethical businesses being launched.

BabyGives.com, a new social enterprise based in Sydney, is just one of a number of start-ups looking to make the world a better place, providing one item of clothing to a child living in poverty for each item sold online.

Founder Tim Mahendran came up with the idea after visiting Nepal in February, and was shocked by the widespread poverty. Upon his return he funded the business with his own savings and help from family.

He hopes to donate 10,000 pieces of clothing to children in Nepal by the end of the year.

However, it’s not just the new kids that are being ethical.

Whole Kids, a brand of organic kid’s snacks, was recently made a Certified B corporation by independent non-profit organisation B Lab.

The company will be required to consider the social and environmental impact of their decisions on their employees, suppliers, communities, consumers, and the environment.

James Meldrum, co-founder of Whole Foods, believes the certification is a reflection of the company’s philosophy.

“We seek to change the way families and children experience food and, in turn, experience their world. We believe in ‘unjunking’ our lives and that wasteful materialism and consumerism needs to evolve to a more enlightened conscious consumption,” he said.

These ethical businesses will soon have the opportunity to be recognised.

The inaugural Ethical Enterprise Award was launched this week, looking to raise awareness of the importance of ethically orientated business.

Established by Moral Fairground and Australian Ethical Investment, the award aims to ‘recognise and celebrate the achievements of Australia’s most inspirational enterprise – a business or organisation, regardless of size, which has had a positive social and economic impact through its innovative ethical practices.’

Paul Smith, general manager of strategy and communication at Australian Ethical Investment, said there are many inspirational businesses that deserve to be known.

“The Ethical Enterprise Award provides the opportunity for these organisations to be recognised and demonstrate that it is possible to provide both a financial as well as an ethical return,” he said.

The winner of the award will have access to a variety of networking, media, and promotional opportunities, as well as advertising and business development packages.

Is yours Australia’s most ethical organisation? Enter here.