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How Social Causes Are Driving Tech Sector Innovation

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@davidjgoldberg

Today, ethical and sustainable products are king. Nearly three-fourths of Millennials, the demographic piloting this movement, are willing to pay more for sustainable products, according to a recent Nielsen study. Another 91 percent will switch brands to benefit a cause they believe in. And for budding tech companies looking to attract Millennial customers, these statistics are worth noting.

With overwhelming majorities of the nation’s largest generation prioritizing sustainability, ethics can no longer be a thoughtless add-on to existing models. If today’s companies want to prosper, sustainability and social responsibility must become core business practices.

Nowhere has this trend taken root more deeply than in the tech sector. From established brands like LinkedIn and Philips to disruptive startups like littleBits and Skeleton Technologies, tech companies are making sustainability more than a marketing gimmick — they’re making it a competitive advantage.

Leading the Sustainability Charge

To create and maintain a sustainable business, companies — both those in tech and elsewhere — should keep these three strategies in mind:

Match Skills with Solutions

Although governments and charities do important work, they often lack the private sector’s technological prowess. And while nonprofits like Code for America are starting to bridge this divide, for-profit tech leaders are increasingly drawing a dual bottom line. By creatively applying their talents, they’re growing their companies while addressing social problems.

That’s exactly what cofounder Tom Hooper has done at Third Space Learning. Hoping to tackle educational inequality in his home country of England, Hooper created a platform to match at-risk students with tutors worldwide. The ed-tech startup has raised more than £2.5 million, provided more than 90,000 one-on-one tutoring…

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