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The Origins Of The Third Factor

The origin stories of the companies and organizations emblematic of the Third Factor tell a common tale: first, they were laughed at, then they were ignored. Now, they are winning. Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s and Eileen Fisher were some of the first to lead with Purpose as the cornerstone of their company and brand.

TOMS, who many initially mocked for what they called “ugly, uncomfortable” shoes, brought social impact to their brand like no one before. B Corporation laid the groundwork for businesses to become certified as companies serving the greater good.

Of course, all of these brands/organizations and this movement we call the Third Factor are not new. They stem from thousands of years of human civilization across all cultures where commerce often took into account the effects on the community and the environment.

We’re reaching a tipping point, as the pendulum swings back toward collective wellbeing and shared prosperity. In the not-too-distant future, purpose-driven brands will be the rule, not the exception.