Teak Talk Blog

A Silver Lining in the Age of Trump

I’m a firm believer that everything happens exactly as it is supposed to. To me, this means that as long as you learn and grow from every experience, challenges are really opportunities for something positive to occur, but in disguise. It’s the silver lining effect.

A silver lining of the Trump presidency is that more people are giving to nonprofits. The fear many feel as a result of Trump administration policies they see as shortsighted, greedy, and seemingly heartless are inspiring them to open up their wallets and support the causes about which they feel most passionate. As both the Trump administration and leaders of the Republican-controlled Congress make it clear that supporting the most underserved is not their priority, Americans are upping the ante on their own accountability.

The media are calling it “rage giving,” a catchy, attention getting name. The heartwarming and hopeful bottom line is that rage giving is driving cash to organizations that focus on climate change, civil liberties, and women’s health, just to name a few.

Similarly, companies, which were forever loath to mix the toxicity of politics with the purity of their brands, are also speaking up. Much has been written about the companies that used their visible and extensive Super Bowl ad budgets to make statements about immigration. While we applaud the use of ad dollars to espouse corporate values, the next step, and the most important step, is for companies to actually become part of the solution to society’s most compelling problems, in addition to offering opinions and funds.

It is my hope that companies will use more than their advertising dollars to weigh in as we get deeper into 2017 and beyond, and witness the repercussions of policy changes that could potentially cut car emissions standards, discriminate against people for their religious beliefs, and reduce access to healthcare for those who need it most.

Businesses that follow the B Corp and Conscious Capitalism models have made corporate commitments to working toward a greater good for all. In this tradition, more businesses can use the current political climate to ensure their own operations are environmentally sound, for example, and to be more conscious of inclusion when hiring. It seems clear that businesses will need to pick up the slack, call it “rage operating,” since it appears as if the government is not going to do its part to support people or the health of the planet.

Businesses backed by our capitalist culture have the power and financial resources to be change agents. Brands are like celebrities in our culture, with followers and fans. They are major influencers of public opinion and behavior. I remain optimistic that the current political climate is creating an opportunity to incite and excite businesses to use their power as a force for good. The B Corp values state it best:

That we must be the change we seek in the world,
That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered,
That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all,
To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.

At Teak, we are watching the changes that occur with an eye toward the positive, making note when corporations use their power to help others and create positive change for the planet. It’s happening. I’m confident that one by one, companies are going to catch on to the fact that they can either be part of the solution, or part of the problem, and that being part of the solution is more profitable to their own bottom line and to the planet as a whole. It’s the silver lining that is really gold.