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For love and money: A better way to do business


31 May 2022 at 4:43 pm
Wendy Williams
What’s love got to do with it? When it comes purpose-led business, a lot, argues Carolyn Butler-Madden, in this interview with Wendy Williams about her new book For Love and Money.


Wendy Williams | 31 May 2022 at 4:43 pm


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For love and money: A better way to do business
31 May 2022 at 4:43 pm

What’s love got to do with it? When it comes purpose-led business, a lot, argues Carolyn Butler-Madden, in this interview with Wendy Williams about her new book For Love and Money.

Lead with love and the money will follow.

That is the message at the heart of Carolyn Butler-Madden’s new book For Love and Money.

In her own words, it is a book for anyone who questions the status quo and aspires to a better way of doing business.

Sharing inspiration from organisations such as Intrepid Travel, Patagonia, Unilever and PayPal, Butler-Madden explores the connection between the two things that drive successful purpose-led businesses: love (of people, planet and humanity) and money (profit and commercial success). 

“When you’re inspired to serve a higher purpose, you’re inspired by love. And when you’re inspired by love, you can bring so much more capacity for everything to that,” she tells Pro Bono News. 

“You hear about stories of what love has inspired, mothers lifting cars off infants, just crazy stuff. That is what love can do. It allows you to tap into deep emotion. 

“And when you do that and apply it to business, money follows, success follows. Whereas, when you are in service of money, which is what business has become over the last 40 or 50 years, you lose that.”

It comes as little surprise that Butler-Madden, the founder of The Cause Effect, is a big proponent of for-purpose business. She has found her purpose in making social purpose a vital part of business in Australia and beyond.

In her first book, Path to Purpose, she looked at social purpose through the lens of marketing. In her latest contribution, she goes deeper. She sets out to offer a practical guide on how to be a business led by a higher purpose and why it matters.

She says understanding of the issue has evolved significantly since her first book was published in 2017.

Back then, Butler-Madden recalls, she wasn’t even allowed to put “social purpose” in the subtitle as there was a feeling the public wouldn’t understand. Today, it is a widely understood concept.

“I think the movement has really just built over the last couple of years in an extraordinary way. It was already building, but the pandemic has really accelerated that,” she says.

She believes there is a massive opportunity for businesses to stop acting as observers and instead turn their capabilities and resources to helping solve the problems in society.

“I reckon we’ve just scratched the surface of our potential as human beings. And I think when we really start to collaborate and turn our mind to looking after people and planet, I think that’s when we can create something really extraordinary and just fairer for everybody,” Butler-Madden says.

But she cautions that to achieve this, we need to be more supportive of businesses who are trying to do good, and avoid “piling on” those who fall short.

In particular, she said it is crucial to distinguish between organisations trying to get started and those who are intentionally greenwashing or purpose washing, which she says are two very different things.

“You sometimes see critics who go, ‘Oh no, corporates are jumping on the bandwagon’, and it’s like, ‘Isn’t that what we want?’ Butler-Madden says.

“I think we need to be a little bit easier on them and encourage them. Let’s say they do one campaign with a brand, fantastic. Let’s support it and then hold them accountable and look at what other steps they take.

“We need to keep our eye on the big picture here, which is that we want more businesses to adopt this way forward. And we have to accept that businesses of different sizes, of different persuasions, are going to approach this in different ways.”

When it comes to greenwashing and purpose washing, she believes the market will hold businesses to account.

“I think the market is a pretty good weather vane for that because consumers are becoming increasingly savvy. You can’t hide. Brands today can’t pretend to be one thing and do another thing,” she says.

Her hope with this book is to show more corporates that they can use their business as a vehicle for creating meaningful and important change in society. 

“And when you do, not only are you going to feel so much more fulfilled about what you’re doing, but you are going to be able to inspire so much more greatness within your organisation,” she says.

“The ripple effect of it is absolutely huge and can make such a difference. Right now the world needs us to lift our game in every way that we can. And I think business has a huge role to play in that.”


Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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