Permaculture businesses are built around the Permaculture Ethics and Permaculture Principles.
Earth Care: The business should do no damage to ecosystems.
People Care: The business should treat all employees well, with living wage and safe working conditions.
Fair Share: Profits from the business should not solely concentrate with the founder, directors, CEO, or investors. Profits should also be allocated to remediate any environmental damage, profit-sharing, and employee stock ownership programs.
The final chapter of the Permaculture Design Manual includes a good deal of information about how to form permaculture businesses and communities. Many strategies are discussed, including innovative ways to incorporate.
- Dr. Bronner's Soap company has a strict guideline that there will be no more than a 5x difference between the lowest and highest paid employee.
- The "1% for the Planet" campaign is a voluntary program. Participating businesses donate 1% of sales to environmental groups.
- Industry certifications, such as Cradle to Cradle or LEED, provide a quantitative framework for businesses to display their environmental cridentials
Many fundamental businesses are fundamentally unsuited to "permaculturization". Mining, for example, is a purely extractive process that creates many harmful byproducts and destroys the natural landscape. A permaculture process for mining could entail careful forethought about how to reclaim the site once minerals were extracted, use of keyline principles to reduce groundwater pollution, requirements of the mining company to direct a portion of profits to a land trust for reclamation work, etc.