How do you determine the true value of a product or service? Is it solely based on the profit motive, or should its impact on the global good also play a major role in the equation? The feature-length documentary Real Value profiles business leaders who have seen their profits rise after taking measures to enhance their standards of sustainability.
The filmmakers focus on efforts currently taking place in North Carolina, but the lessons each subject imparts can be applied anywhere in the United States or around the world.
At Piedmont Biofuels, workers collect used fats, oils and greases and transform them into fuel. Demand for their product is at an all-time high, and they are blessedly free of the shackles and curses associated with the big oil industry.
In another segment, the president of a custom T-shirt wholesale business outlines the steps he took after the North American Free Trade Agreement essentially gutted his enterprise. He decided to place ethical responsibility above concerns for the bottom line, and integrated wind, solar and biofuel technologies into his business model. By embracing these sustainability measures, his business has grown both in profit and in its standing within the community.
The spirit of activism and environmental responsibility drives every facet of operations at Sow True Seed in Asheville. The owner of this small business fights for the rights of all people to know where their food comes from. She teaches interested parties in her community how to plant seeds, empowers others to grow their own healthy food, and donates leftover inventory to local schools and support groups.
These values also extend into workplace practices that promote a shared sense of respect, teamwork and purpose among each employee.
Interspersed between these personal profiles, viewers gain big-picture insights from panel of experts, including Dan Ariely, a Professor of Psychology & Behavioral Economics at Duke University and the founder of the Center for Advanced Hindsight.
The fascinating subjects of Real Value are relatable and inspiring entrepreneurs. Their means of driving profits through social responsibility are well within reach for the owners of all businesses large and small.