How can you create a brand or business that is impact driven and focused on leaving the world a better place?
There is a escalation, an intensifying, a quickening across the globe that is driving business and brand leaders to seek far reaching solutions to the problems we face on earth today – inequality, women’s rights, intolerance, housing, healthcare, and education, poverty, disease and drought. These challenges are too large and complex, and we can’t expect government, philanthropy and not for profit organisations alone to bring long-term solutions.
We need everyone involved and it seems the global rallying call is being heard. From sustainable travel and leisure to to property management and real estate development in emerging or developed markets, there is a change coming. And rightly so. We need more brands building businesses that have a vision beyond themselves.
Consumers are also savvier than ever before and are increasingly making their purchase decisions based on the sustainability and impact credentials of the brands they choose. If businesses don’t live and breathe an empathetic, impact driven brand vision, they won’t find themselves surviving the mighty winds of change.
The ultimate goal for anyone or any business that desires to be make a lasting impact is to carefully think about creating quantifiable and valuable social or environmental change alongside their profits.
What can you do to ignite your business’ impact?
- Have the insight, foresight and wisdom to realise that resources here on earth are finite and that without the capital and action to address social and/or environmental issues we’re in danger of leaving a failing planet for our children to inherit.
- Expect accountability and encourage innovative approaches to solving environmental and social problems within and without your business and community.
- Support sustainable practices in all your business does – from recycling to sustainable production, building and construction, providing healthcare and social support to staff, to community participation in sustainable projects.
- Consider impact investing – this involves injecting business capital into organisations that focus on social and environmental solutions – not for profit organisations, social enterprises and aged care, the arts, community development, health, employment, housing, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and international development programs. Impact investing offers an alternative to philanthropists who are looking to go beyond traditional grant making. The outcomes you should expect are both financial as well as measurable social and environmental benefits. However impact investing is not a replacement for philanthropic contributions, but rather a complement, helping organisations leverage the power of markets to create change once they have proven the success of their model using, frequently, philanthropic contributions.
- Get your business ready for the energy transition—and the immense economic impact it could carry. Leading CEOs are now considering measures to ramp down their high-carbon businesses and grow new low-carbon ones, while managing changes to their cost structure and supply chains. They’re building capabilities to regularly assess exposure to risks and potential for opportunity on a granular level, especially as the underlying physical, cost, and policy assumptions continue to change. And they’re engaging continually with their top teams and boards to set their #energy and #sustainability agendas.
- Chart a path to net-zero emissions. This may seem daunting but instead of trying to do it on your own consider partnering with companies like Watershed which helps companies, such as Shopify, Stripe, and Sweetgreen, decarbonise their businesses, from their direct operations to their entire supply chain. Its software analyses a company’s carbon emissions to build a climate-impact plan; such as Square’s December 2020 announcement of its net-zero target by 2030. Watershed’s data is instrumental in helping customers go to their biggest suppliers to pressure them to clean up their emissions. It also has created a marketplace where its customers can buy clean power and invest in carbon-removal projects—with Watershed’s software guiding companies to the solutions that will help them reach their goals. The startup has attracted high-profile customers, such as Airbnb, Expensify, and Vimeo. By the end of Watershed’s first year, it was helping customers manage emissions equivalent to more than four times the carbon footprint of San Francisco, the site of Watershed’s headquarters.
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