In a capitalistic society, company choices are guided by one thing: money. Civic responsibility and care for social causes may be at the top of individual entrepreneurs’ priorities, but when shareholders and investors come into the mix, anything and everything can and will be sacrificed for the bottom line. After all, if you’re not making profits, how can you fight for the causes you care about?
Well, in the past two decades, companies have risen that prove that you can hold to your standards and still be successful. You can stand up for your values and people will show support with their wallets. Why? Because if people share your values, they’re willing to help you succeed.
In this way, even profitable vegan companies can help fight the toxic aspects of capitalism. The perils of capitalism come not from the making of money, but from valuing money over people, the planet, and personal values. So, companies co-opting veganism and sustainability just to make a buck- that is not fruitful because it is not sincere, and will only last as long as it is profitable.
But companies that are true in their values of sustainability and veganism can succeed, and there are several companies that aspiring entrepreneurs can use as inspiration.
Follow Your Heart is a multimillion dollar company that started as a vegetarian restaurant and has become a national success selling Vegenaise, an egg-free version of mayonnaise. The beauty of vegan foods becoming more accessible is that it makes finding acceptable options for people with allergies to animal products. Many people can’t eat mayonnaise because of egg allergies, and there was never a suitable replacement. By holding to their values of being environmental, vegetarian, and compassionate, Follow Your Heart provided a product that is applicable to many people for different reasons.
Zia and Tia is an organic children’s clothing company that was started to provide healthy warm knit clothing for children. Julie Jonas, the founder, started the company as a way to earn money to support causes for orphaned children, after she adopted her daughter. As a vegan, her main concerns in the materials she uses are safety and sustainability.
Those are just two examples of companies that started with a vision and managed to become profitable without sacrificing their values. With more vegan products becoming accessible and affordable, more people are learning about the benefits of a vegan lifestyle. The global vegan packaged foods industry is growing exponentially, with no signs of slowing down. This offers a chance for vegan entrepreneurs to target a market that shares their values and become successful in our capitalistic society without furthering the harmful aspects of capitalism. Of course, it will always be important to distinguish companies that are sincere in their values, from those capitalizing on vegan values to make a dollar without following through with responsible production. But by researching vegan companies and companies with vegan products, and starting vegan companies of your own, vegans can help combat capitalism and improve our planet, one sustainable product at a time.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons