Start your own ethical business – it could make a world of difference
By Donna Ferguson, The Guardian
When John Bird launched the Big Issue in 1991, he had no idea how to make money ethically – or how successful his magazine would turn out to be.
“I wanted to create a sustainable alternative to begging, crime and prostitution for people stuck on the streets,” he says. “But I was not a saintly person. I’d go out, get drunk and roll into the office late and stinking. I employed people who, like me, had a history of drugs, crime and violence, and some of them ripped us off. I blundered from one mistake to another.”
Within a year his backer, the Body Shop co-founder Gordon Roddick, had told him the magazine must break even or it would be shut down. “All these people who worked in advertising had told us they would buy loads of our ads – and they lied. So I decided to change the business model.”