Right now, business has an unprecedented opportunity to 'do good' and a lot more good than charities. A controversial statement perhaps, but new research commissioned by The Social Investment Consultancy shows I'm not alone in believing businesses are better equipped to create social change than charities.
There was once a time when it was assumed that a business brain simply calculated the easiest way to line the pockets of wealthy capitalists, and a charitable heart looked to help the poor and needy.
And in this era, the dividing line between charity and business was clear. But times have changed and that clear, distinct line has now become a confusingly blurred shade of gray.
"Doing good" is no longer the preserve of the charity sector but an increasingly important aspect of modern business. And in many cases it's not just something businesses are doing well, but something they are doing much better than their charity counterparts.
In recent years, many companies have realised a more ethical approach to business can actually lead to a significant boost in revenue.
And now the business world has woken up to the idea that helping others can actually boost profits, shouldn't the charity world just hand over the baton to those with the business acumen and drive to make a real difference?
Barely a week goes by without another surprise announcement of a company reporting extraordinary growth in the midst of the doom and gloom of the tough economic times we are currently enduring.
And the common themes these successful companies have embraced heart and soul are the principles of responsible capitalism - incorporating ideals previously only associated with charities into everything they do.
For example, Prêt a Manger recently announced it would be creating 550 new jobs - a clear sign of success. This is as well as running an Apprenticeship service to get 70 ex-offenders and homeless people back on track each year, a commitment to reducing waste, making charitable use of leftover produce and promoting natural ingredients.
The Prêt ethos helps to boost sales, which means the company can help more people, which in turn boosts sales even further. And so on.
Now that's what I call an ethical business - a moral conscience which is genuinely contributing to society while keeping good business practice front of mind.
Admittedly not every commercial business operates for the good of society, but I think it's fair to say those that do, do it very well indeed. Just look at the positive impact of Café Direct on the British retail - and on producers. Or see how Sainsbury's partnership with FareShare delivered more meals for low-income British families as well as more sales.
The business world has certainly changed in recent decades, and has taken on board the ethical principals of sustainability and positive social change.
Making money is at the heart of what businesses do, and this mindset also equips them with the resource and reach to make significant social changes. Their commercial drive gives them an edge over charity competitors in every battle whether it comes to drawing in funds or creating schemes which offer a tangible social benefit.
So the arrival of Big Society Capital should be welcomed by charities as it is set to make it even easier for those of us with business heads and charitable hearts to use our commercial expertise to create positive social change.
And a question which, just a decade ago was unthinkable, is now a real debate: If you want to make a worthwhile contribution to society is it better to have a business head with a charitable heart or a business heart with a charitable head?
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