Business terms of the new economy

A big thank you to Social Change Central an Australian organization for compiling this list of terms.

I have often joked in my public speaking engagements that I work in the world of adjectives. By list below maybe you too will enjoy that small effort at humor. A couple they missed include the ever-present and often meaningless Green Business.  They got greenwashing and yet missed local washing for big companies that are trying to convince you they are part of your local community. ESG (environment, social, and governance) and impact are now the hip terms in investing in the public company world. And of course from our very unique perspective, they are not engaged with mindfulness, wisdom, or coherence.

Sadly the list is ever-evolving which means our community struggles to gain traction without a consistent understanding of who and what we are and where we are going. Humanity hangs on while we try to get clarity.

We hope you find this list helpful with links for further reading. 

PS In addition to enlightening you, with full disclosure this post is in part to improve our search rankings as a new website. Thank you again Social Change Central. 

Enjoy the list:

A type of corporation, currently recognized in 30 U.S. states and D.C. with legally protected requirements of higher purpose, accountability, and transparency.
:: B Corporation

The delivery of both a social or environmental return and a financial return. It’s a win-win that does not require compromise on either side of the social or financial equation.
:: The Difference Incubator

For-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
:: B Corporation

A term coined by the social entrepreneurship organization, Ashoka, meaning one who desires change in the world and, by gathering knowledge and resources, makes that change happen.

Collective impact occurs when organizations from different sectors agree to solve a specific social problem using a common agenda, aligning their efforts, and using common measures of success.
:: FSG

The continuing commitment by businesses to contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the community and society at large.
:: World Business Council for Sustainable Development

A distinctive process of developing innovative solutions that is rooted in principles of physical, spatial, graphic, and user-interface design. It is characterized by an emphasis on deeply understanding the practical needs, behavior, and perspectives of actual users and constituents and may be applied to a wide variety of challenges, including programs, services, products, and processes. It is an action-oriented approach to generating creative solutions to complex problems.
:: Bridgespan

A philosophy and social movement which applies evidence and reason to working out the most effective ways to improve the world. It is built upon a simple but profound idea: that living a fully ethical life means using your spare resources for the “most good you can do”.
:: Peter Singer, author of The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically

Used to describe the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.
:: Greenpeace

Investment with the intention to achieve both a positive social, cultural or environmental benefit and some measure of financial return.
:: Social Ventures Australia

A set of corporate policies and practices that enhance the competitiveness of a company, simultaneously advancing social and economic conditions.
:: Deloitte Australia

The institutions, relationships, and norms shape the quality and quantity of a society’s social interactions. Increasing evidence shows that social cohesion is critical for societies to prosper economically and for development to be sustainable. Social capital is not just the sum of the institutions which underpin a society – it is the glue that holds them together.
:: Senscot via The World Bank

Social entrepreneurs drive social innovation and transformation in various fields including education, health, environment, and enterprise development. They pursue poverty alleviation goals with entrepreneurial zeal, business methods, and the courage to innovate and overcome traditional practices. A social entrepreneur, similar to a business entrepreneur, builds strong and sustainable organizations, which are either set up as not-for-profits or companies.
:: The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship

An organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize social impact rather than profits.
:: Social Good Stuff

All forms of significant change are experienced by individuals and communities. This includes income and labor market impacts, education impacts, social inclusion, and relationship changes, mental and physical health effects, and overall impact on quality of life and well-being.
:: Professor Paul Flatau, Director of the Centre for Social Impact at the UWA Business School

A novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than current solutions. The value created accrues primarily to society rather than to private individuals.
:: Stanford Business, Centre for Social Innovation

People within a large corporation who take direct initiative for innovations that address social or environmental challenges while also creating commercial value for the company.
:: Forbes

A form of stakeholder-driven evaluation blended with cost-benefit analysis tailored to social purposes. It tells the story of how change is being created and places a monetary value on that change and compares it with the costs of inputs required to achieve it.
:: Social Ventures Australia

The ability to understand interconnections in such a way as to create sustained and meaningful social change.
:: David Peter Stroh, author of Systems Thinking For Social Change

Consists of three Ps: profit, people, and planet. It aims to measure the financial, social, and environmental performance of the corporation over a period of time. Only a company that produces a TBL is taking into account the full cost involved in doing business.
:: The Economist 

Philanthropic giving to social ventures that operate a business model and is generally associated with social start up or growth capital needed to deliver or grow a social mission. It generally, means the donator is not seeking anything other than a social return or community (non-private) benefit.
:: Partnering for Scale and Impact (PSI)

Did we miss something? Are there any words that you’ve heard lately that you think will soon be part of the mainstream? Are there any that you’re tired of hearing? Let us know in the comments below.

PS Some additional environmental definitions courtesy of

Intersectional Environmentalism: The understanding that to effectively tackle climate change, we must simultaneously address inequality within society. Coined by intersectional activist Leah Thomas.

Carbonomics: The yoking of business success to sustainable actions like carbon emission elimination.

Generation Regen: A rising generation defined by its outspoken and unapologetic sustainable ethos.

Blue Carbon: Carbon that is naturally absorbed by marine and coastal ecosystems—and a secret solution to climate change, according to some scientists.

New Biophilia: Next gen nature-centric design, informed by a growing appreciation that human and planetary health are intertwined.

Fempreneurs: The female entrepreneurs supercharging sustainable business.

Eco-nudges: Small changes to a brand’s packaging and labeling that encourage sustainable behaviors.

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