“You Wouldn’t Eat a Panda. Stop Eating Endangered Tuna” This was the tagline that accompanied Selfridges window display in 2011 as part of Project Ocean, their partnership with Zoological Society of London (ZSL) that raises awareness for marine conservation.
At first people didn’t get the association between a retailer and the ocean (a bit random!). Now in it’s 6th year, Selfridges and ZSL have done an excellent job in marrying the relevance of the ocean to the shopper. Their 2016 campaign #OneLess unites against single use plastic bottles. Selfridges has banned all plastic bags and single use bottles in their store.
You hear it again and again “finding the right partner is hard.” The right partner can make the difference between a campaign that is roaring success or a damp squib. What seems to be the magic ingredients? Shared vision that is outcomes focused, with passionate people on both sides driving it.
Another example from ZSL is their partnership with Interface to 'turn trash into treasure' in the Philippines. Old fishing nets, previously left to wash away and pollute the sea are now collected as part of a community based supply chain Networks. Over 3 years 97 tons of fishing net has been collected, baled, recycled and used to make Interface carpets.
Partnership is one way to Make Good Stuff Happen, what are some other options?
Some say philanthropy is a dated form of businesses being responsible. In the 1980s and 90s it was the common way for businesses to ‘do good.’ The 111 Model adopted by Salesforce sheds new light on ‘philanthropic’ giving by integrating it to their core business offering. Salesforce pledges that 1% of equity, 1% of employee time (they employ 24,000 people!) and 1% of products, will be used to “give back” to the community. This model is delivered by Salesforce.org and since inception 17yrs ago has given +$115m in grants, 1.3m volunteer hours and donated products +28,000 non profit/higher education institutes.
It’s not just about donations, one of Salesforce.org’s aims is to provide the best tech platforms for Not for Profit organisations. Money made from selling these platforms fund Salesforce.org’s grant funding pot and supports and workforce training.
Based on the success of 111 supported projects and employee engagement with the Salesforce brand, Salesforce encourages other companies to adopt the model and take the 1% pledge #BeTheBoom !
New companies are emerging with sustainability engineered into their products.
Fairphone is on a commercial mission to develop a smartphone that contains no conflict minerals in production.
More established companies are also picking up the ‘design’ challenge and developing products with sustainability embedded - Interface making carpets made from recycled materials, as one example, and B&Q completing a 21 year journey (1990-2001) to guarantee all their Timber products in store are sustainable sourced. B&Q carpet underlay is also made from recycled clothes and has been developed to be the best quality and cheapest price in store.
These companies are not closing the gap between what customers say “I want to buy more sustainable products” and actually do (when it is comes to it, really I will just buy the cheapest one). These companies are bridging the gap by providing good quality products, that ‘choice edit’ for the busy consumer. Companies making sustainable choices for their customers.
Choosing the right partners and integrating philanthropy into business unquestionably Makes Good Stuff Happen. However, the most exciting space to watch are those companies redefining the possibilities within mass market supply chains, like Fairphone. With their success, it will be hard for anyone to deny the business case for sustainability.