Buy the Change uses Trade for Better Lives for Women in the Developing World. Co-founder Kari Hughes invited me into the world headquarters (her home) for this interview about why they are, how they got started and why they do what they do. Buy The Change is a Certified Benefit Company (B Corp) (as is TedSarvata.com) committed to being part of the solution to the issues faced by women and girls around the world.
She mentioned a couple of books that were instrumental in her development: Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by Nicholas D. Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn and Global Girlfriends: How One Mom Made It Her Business to Help Women in Poverty Worldwide by Stacey Edgar.
They measure impact by how many dollars are we able to put into the hands of women in the developing world. We talked about the potential conflict between purpose and impact, the pendulum, as it were, that swings between focusing on short term benefits to their suppliers, women in the developing world, and more focus on the long term impacts, or more short-term focus on developing markets for these products. After the interview I reflected on the Duncan Berry (Fishpeople) interview on episode 30: https://purposepodcast.com/030. Perhaps that episode will be helpful for Buy the Change. What do you think?
Metropolitan Group’s purpose is “to build a just and sustainable world”. Laura Dellinger, President and Principal tells us about this Portland-based Strategic Communications agency that recently celebrated its 25th anniversary as a social-change agency.
Laura has deep expertise in the use of community engagement to mobilize stakeholders in community-based solutions to social and civic issues, is board chair at Trillium Family Services among many other current and past nonprofit board positions and recently was honored by the Portland Business Journal as Executive of the Year at their Women of Influence Executive awards.
The Power of Voice
Voice is a critical catalyst for social change.
Who has the power of voice and who does not often determines:
Who has access to decent housing, fair wages, safe food, clean water, and quality health care
Who is safe, and who feels safe and able to express their views
Who has the resources to advocate for their beliefs and rights
Who has their perspective accurately portrayed in mainstream media
Who votes, who influences and makes policy
Who has the ability to make change within organizations and communities
If you want to change the world, what should you do? On one level it’s simple, really. Get clear on your purpose and then take action. That action, driven by purpose, is what creates impact: Purpose Drives Impact. This is simple cause and effect, really. Clear purpose leads to impact. Purpose without action is simply dreaming (You can prove this to yourself by pulling out an atlas – remember those? – or Google Earth and look up a place you’ve always wanted to visit. See? You’re dreaming), while action without purpose is running in circles (To prove this, turn on your GPS without a destination and go for a bike ride. See where it takes you. No helpful voice in your earbuds.). read more
My guest on this episode is Deena Pierott whose purpose is Diversity, Inclusion and Equity. She tells us about how she tapped into her purpose even as a little girl, and all the places it’s taken her since, and the impact it’s had on the world.
We’re in the business of helping businesses maximize impact (your bottom line is one kind of impact, but we’re talking about more than that; impact on your customers, your employees, your suppliers, your community at large and the environment). We became a B Corp both to be recognized for the work we’re already doing and to continually hold ourselves to a higher standard.
Before today’s interview I talk about Blueprint of We, a collaborative framework and document that I’m looking forward to trying. The idea if agreeing together how we’ll handle conflict, before we’re in the middle of a conflict, is very compelling.
Duncan Berry, CEO and Co-Founder of Fishpeople shared with us about his love for fish, Oregon coastal communities, and making an impact. He described their purpose (paraphrased) as being a company that successfully balances our bottom line with heath and growth of the communities on which we depend and long-term, smart use of our natural capital.
His parting advice to entrepreneurs is to make sure that solving a problem for your customers is intimately linked with you accomplishing your purpose. De-link them and you’ll be less successful. Link them and you’ll have a powerful engine for change.
Fish People Shared Purpose Statement
NOURISH our customers with delicious & healthy food from the sea.
RESPECT our fellow supply chain members & pay them well.
When you think of an urban core, what do you think of? Traffic? Congestion? Noise? With Franklin Jones’ vision for B-Line Sustainable Urban Delivery, it doesn’t have to be that way. (See also my earlier episode featuring Rob Sadowsky of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.) B-Line uses these amazing human-powered (electric assist) tricycles to make the “last-mile delivery” for their customers such as Portland Roasting Coffee, Dave’s Killer Bread, and Office Depot. Instead of these companies needing to use huge gas-guzzling trucks that end up empty (and thus just taking up space) most of the time, these companies drop shop to B-Line’s warehouse where their goods are re-packed into these vehicles:
Benefits to this model:
Less congestion because the vehicles are smaller and can often use bike infrastructure instead of car/truck infrastructure.
Less pollution because these are emissions vehicles. They also use far less energy than an electric-powered truck would.
Stronger community because these riders are interacting with the public. You can talk to them as they do their work (if you’re walking or on a bike).
Lower delivery costs because now smaller deliveries can be make economically.
In addition, they also pick up food that would normally go to waste from Whole Foods (using unused tricycle capacity that would normally go to waste on the way back to the warehouse) and deliver it to organizations serving hungry people.
This last week I read an amazing article that speaks directly to being who you are. My wife and I choose the name Sarvata when we married because it means wholeness or integrity. That’s what this podcast is all about. It’s about asking yourself who you are and then it’s organizing your life so you can be that.
This article starts by asking a trivial question: how did Toast become the latest artisinal food craze in San Francisco?
Turns out the roots can be traced to the Trouble Coffee & Coconut Club owned by Giulietta Carrelli. Listen to my take on that story and then go read the original article. Amazing.
Rob Jordan: Betterment of Others & Betterment of Ourselves
Rob Jordan, founder and CEO of Idealist Consulting, told us about his purpose, the betterment of others and betterment of ourselves. I invited him on the show because he was one of the first 50 Certified B Corps in the world. This certification recognizes Idealist Consulting’s commitment to the triple bottom line (people, planet and profits).
Idealist Consulting serves non-profits to help them improve efficiency around fundraising, outreach, etc. Cloud services provides like Salesforce.com gift the software (with the accompanying tax write-off) and the non-profit pays Idealist Consulting to get everything set up and customized for them. Win, win, win.
After the interview I talked a bit about the work that I do, helping entrepreneurs and executive teams decide on their purpose, who they’re serving and what they’re selling, all important pieces of a business model. To schedule a 20-minute phone call with me to get to know each other and see if we ought to talk further, please visit: http://PurposePodcast.com/phone
Some insights from Brian Setzler of TriLibrium, the triple bottom line CPA and Accounting firm (paraphrased):
Anything we try to maximize, we blow up. If we can create a system in balance, on the other hand, everyone wins.
Ben and Jerry’s was started to help Vermont dairy farmers. Their success hasn’t been because they have the best ice cream or the best marketing or the best price, but because people connect with their purpose. (Ben & Jerry’s is a Certified B Corp, as is TriLibrium)
Several ways to look at and think about purpose
To help our customers succeed across the triple bottom line.
To serve small business.
To be a model and inspiration for other businesses, the power of business to make a positive difference in the world.
book: The Living Company (as opposed to a business as a machine). Half of the fortune 500 from 30 years ago doesn’t exist today. On the other hand, there are hundreds of companies around the world today that are over 300 years old. What does it take to build a company with that kind of stability?
People come to work for a paycheck but loyalty and commitment and dedication is tied to purpose.
BLabs is the organization that does the B Corp certification (BCorporation.net). As Brian talked about, anyone can do the assessment. I went ahead and did the assessment for my business. They give you a score at the end and 3 different benchmarks: normal businesses average 50, sustainable businesses average 80 and certified B Corps average 91. My initial score was 56, so we have some work to do. For example, Brian talked about how his company didn’t have a maternity leave policy when they took the initial assessment. That’s true for me too, and many other areas where I don’t have policies. My vision is very community-focused, but almost none of that is written down in policies. I’ll keep you updated over time as I learn more about what changes I can make and which ones I decide to make.
TriLibrium.com (“Tri” for triple bottom line and “librium” from “equilibrium”)