Let’s take Barcelona back through good business!
For us, (Mari, born and bred in Barcelona and Petz, in Barcelona since 2004), it is heartbreaking to see what is happening to Barcelona, our city. But there is hope, and we believe in one particular solution that could fix most of the current problems. Apart from voting in order to have competent politicians that are not driven by pure capitalism and corruption, and therefore are less likely to foster wars of terrorism, we believe we can change our city through good business.
By good business we mean projects that do not only focus on making money, but also care for the environment and people. We are talking about the triple bottomline (3Ps): People, Planet and Profit. Of course the business needs to be profitable, or else it won’t improve anything or even worth; create dept. However, the trick is to care equally for the sustainability of the business than for the wellbeing of the people involved and affected, as well as the environment.
Looking at Barcelona, it is clear that more and more people want to live and visit than it is currently set up for. Whilst the previous mayors’ (Xavier Trias and Joan Clos) only goal was to attract more and more tourists, it has now become clear that this would not be a sustainable business model.
“Turismofóbia” (touristphobia) is the latest concept expressed by locals who are fed up with having to deal with hoards of tourists on a daily bases (without going into details). Moreover, we can only imagine (and on bad days actually notice) the air pollution of the cruise ships and airplanes, as well as all the rubbish produced by those who are not in the city long enough to organise themselves in order to reduce waste, and do not return much value other than perhaps money to some people, but by far not everyone.
Image by Sandra Lázaro for eldiario.es.
The sheer amount of people with time on their hands (and money!) to shop has also attracked more and more shops to open in the city. Sadly these are mostly the big players like the Zaras and H&Ms, and souvenir and sex shops, but not goods the locals need, like decent bakeries or fruit and vegetable shops.
Therefore, instead of complaining, we would love to see more people set up small and independent businesses that offer something for those who visit AND the locals, without harming the environment. We know this is not an easy task (we have been there, and are still working on it) but we believe it is possible and could make a lot of people, including business owners, happy. One major success story of a corporate social responsibility company is Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. In Barcelona, we recommend the following businesses to our guests and friends, because they are run by real people who care what they do and how their actions affect others:
Hostal Grau (LEED certified hotel)
Casa Bonay (hotel that welcomes locals)
Co-shop (fashion made in Barcelona)
Ropateca (a clothes library, no need to shop anymore)
Blue Project Café (healthy and organic food mixed with art)
Two Thirds (eco clothes who love the ocean, made in Europe)
Demano (upcycled products at its best)
Som Energia (local green energy supplier)
Triodos Bank (ethical banking)
Biobarri (organic grocery store)
Civiclub (a club for civic people)
Passar via (cleaning service with social values)
Bear on Bike (slow food)
to just name a few!
We are all responsible for creating and using eco-social businesses in Barcelona and elsewhere.
For more business examples and inspiration , visit TriplePundit, and read our previous article How to be a responsible tourist in Barcelona.