Mark Zuckerberg (the founder of Facebook) and Pricilla Chan this morning announced the arrival of their baby girl and an enormous charity initiative.

Zuckerberg with his wife, Priscilla Chan, and their new daughter Max. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Zuckerberg with his wife, Priscilla Chan, and their new daughter Max. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Having pledged to give away 99% of their $45bn fortune I was inspired to read that this is part of a growing trend amongst the young and extraordinarily wealthy who “prefer ‘giving while living’ to willing their assets to charity”. Such initiatives range from investment in education reform, new energy sources or in the case of the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation to “further the mission of advancing human potential and promoting equality, public advocacy and other activities for the public good”.

I firmly believe that it is within the power of every business to contribute in a meaningful way to the people and world around them. It can be as simple (and as difficult) as bravely questioning what impact your products, services, people and environments are having on the world.

Naming a problem and reframing it as an opportunity to design a better way is the first crucial step.

  1. Where does what we do have a negative impact on people and the planet?
  2. Why do we do things in that way?
  3. What opportunities do these problems create for us to do things differently?
  4. What if people and the planet were the priority… how then would we do things?

Just imagine if every business gave a little by rethinking any harmful activities. How might that change the world we live in? Is that not the essence of charity? How might governments encourage and empower businesses to take such steps?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Comment