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Pleasure, people and planet. Tagline for a new line of eco-friendly 18-30 holidays?Not exactly.Pleasure, people and planet make up the driving mission behind Superfoodio, the wife-and-husband founded ethical plant-based treats company.And in this fun episode of the Karmic Capitalist, I talk to Jag and Nirali about their journey from South America - where they saw how close the Quechua get to the land and to the food they eat - to now setting up a company to produce peanut-butter buttons and chocolate bars without the nasties.We talk about how pretty much every major food company today actually tries to keep you as far away from the source of the food as possible - nutritionally by injecting every additive known to man, and geographically by sourcing from the other side of Neptune."You're not eating chocolate. You're eating sugar".And we talk about how it's possible to make delicious food another way.I loved how their initial lack of knowledge and experience about the industry when they had their vision ended up being a real strength. It allowed them to ask really basic questions that needed asking, rather than taking for granted the layer upon layer of complexity that the industry has created to all of our detriment.We talk about the importance of the pleasure of eating. How "just" being ethical may make you feel warm and fuzzy, but unless you've got a chocolate bar that tastes good, it'll never take off.I really enjoyed this episode with Nirali and Jag - they've got a lovely backstory and a really human approach to the company they're building.And the chocolate IS delicious. I managed to get my paid order in before their offer to send me one for free - which, full disclosure, hasn't happened!
You know you need to contribute to a more sustainable planet. But your business is no giant, and you don't have Unilever's budget to play with. Is your climate contribution going to stop at eliminating plastic straws from your kitchen?Your answer may be in Sustainability As A Service.What's an SME to do on helping the environment? Well, if Bernard Lebelle has anything to do with it, and he does, then you could do far worse than look at Sustainability As  Service.His company, The Green Link, provides an online service for SMEs to help them figure out what to actually do to reduce their carbon footprint.In this episode we talk about the challenges faced by SMEs wanting to actively participate in sustainability initiatives, about the need to get doing rather than being paralysed by climate anxiety, and about growing a for profit business tackling environmental issues and the nuances on financing an impact-based company.Bernard is an engaging, passionate and knowledgeable exponent for SME engagement on the climate challenge.Join our conversation.
"We've become addicted to convenience, and it's killing us".So how do you respond? Well if you're Katie Hill and Jarvis Smith, you launch a lifestyle site selling things.Eh?EXCEPT - you make sure what you're selling is ethically produced and sustainable, and that your suppliers work with and not against nature.Because the reality is that we *do* need to buy things. But, as Jarvis points out, why not buy them from companies that help rainforests rather than ones named after them?The first Karmic Capitalist podcast episode of Season 2 (Game of Thrones watch out!) is a real corker. I talk to Jarvis about how My Green Pod, the business he co-founded with Katie, is bringing sustainability to the products that we buy.My Green Pod started as a lifestyle magazine, available online and distributed quarterly with the Guardian, which seeks to educate on living and buying ethically.Not simply buying something with an organic label on it. But looking at the entire supply chain - from origin to your doorstep.For instance, in our decision to make same day delivery so important in our buying calculus (thank you shop named after rainforest), we're paying for more journeys by more diesel-pumping vans on the roads delivering our micro-orders rather than if we made a more considered, consolidated and dare I say conscious, shop.So the suppliers on My Green Pod won't be pushing out a half-empty van carrying your single tube of shampoo within 20 minutes of your buy-now click.I really enjoyed this episode. It was a wide ranging conversation about our choices (don't call us consumers, or we're on a hiding to nothing), our companies, economic systems. And Shamanism.And as an added bonus, we get a snippet of Jarvis's other passion - music through his band, Phoenix Rose, and their beautiful and uplifting song "Is this luv".Which in itself is worth listening to this episode for. Enjoy.(Marked explicit simply because 2 swear words come out)
Every so often, your company may donate to charity. And that's fantastic. But what if you committed to give 3% of your sales revenue come what may?Including if you were making a loss?Brave? Foolhardy? Or simply committed to do good?It might even make you think about your business differently.In this episode of the Karmic Capitalist, I speak to Laura Hannan, co-founder with Fergus Parker of Pitch121, a profile-based marketing agency. They committed from the outset to donate 3% of their sales to charity through the Work for Good platform.Aside from this simply being a continuation of Laura's giving to charity, which started systematically while she was in her teens, it turns out that it spreads the Karma wider.Customers love it, as they get to choose who the donations go to. And Pitch121's employees love it, as it gives a dimension to their work which contributes directly to making lives better.Our wider-ranging conversation takes this in, the role of values in Pitch121's work, embedding learning and growth within the working day, and more.You can't help but feel that Laura is just one of life's good people. It was a real pleasure to meet and have this conversation about Pitch121, its growth, its people and its contribution.Listen in to this episode of the Karmic Capitalist podcast wherever you get your podcasts.
In a world where we (rightly) look for companies whose business it is to help us solve the climate and social crises we face, do you have a role if your company purpose isn't about these things?In this latest episode of the Karmic Capitalist podcast, I speak to David Ellis, Managing Director at Station 10, about the role of purpose and values in his company, a consultancy / agency which helps companies make the most of their data.If what you do is to analyse customer, ecommerce, or business data as a whole, what business do you have in helping tackle the climate crisis, or social inequality, or whatever?Plenty it turns out.In Station 10's world, those would include things like:Dealing with the ethical areas with regards to the very use of data (anyone come across those???)Encouraging the use of data to proactively address the ESG agendaAddressing the diversity issues in the whole data industry so that it doesn't end up reinforcing itself (Station 10 runs workshops at schools to children of very diverse backgrounds showing them how interesting and accessible work with analytics can be)Using your own code of ethics in rejecting clients and projects who would undermine social or environmental issuesDavid is (sorry to make him blush here) a very bright guy who's built a very values-centred (and remarkably gender-balanced for this industry) company.Listen in to this episode to see how values can become a real force for good whatever your business is.
"If there was a moment that said something was wrong in this world to me..."With that opening, my ears perked up. Villagers forced off an island ("there may have been guns involved" !?!!?) to make way for a power station designed to last only for 7 years.I guess if you hear that violence and environmental damage are involved in a project you've been asked to design, you'd probably pull back and think again.Which is what Greg Lavery did. Seeing the wanton human and environmental damage being caused in the name of business made him think hard about what he needed to do to make a positive difference.He went back to a postgraduate study in sustainability and the circular economy, and after a systematic review of areas where he could make the most environmental impact, he set up Rype Office to make office furniture.Office furniture???  Really?Actually, yes, really. Did you know that over the lifetime of a building, 30% of its greenhouse gas emissions are related to furniture? I didn't.In this episode of the Karmic Capitalist, Greg talks about the need for purpose-led companies to make sure that they're viable, and that positive impact alone does not a sustainable business make. It is essential to produce something that the market actually wants. Rype's proposition fits squarely into that description, with office furniture designed and manufactured to be affordable, beautiful and sustainable.Rype also demonstrates one of the things I love most about companies with purpose-led cultures. That when they see a difference that they can make along the way to their core purpose, they just dive in and fix it.Which is how Rype also comes to employ disabled long-term unemployed staff as a part of its strategy.Great to talk to Greg not only about Rype's story, but its strategy, fundraising, and future trajectory.
What human impact does your business have?Isabel Kelly watched first hand how business influence was used to secure the release of political prisoners. That left her with a lasting impression of the power of business to positively impact human rights which she's taken with her in her business engagements with Profit with Purpose since.And what a trajectory it's been. It's gone from setting up and leading the international arm of Salesforce.org to the work she does today helping companies make their purpose real.Amongst the stories of impact made by the businesses she's worked with, there are a number of recurring themes and lessons which she surfaces in this episode of the Karmic Capitalist podcast.From how having clarity on your direction at a young age opens up opportunities most people simply dream of, through frameworks and practicalities of engaging with ESG topics, to the nuances of ESG as a facilitator for employee engagement - there is a mountain of practical gold, alongside some amazing stories from the world where business and social justice meet (and not always elegantly!).Enjoy this episode of the Karmic Capitalist, and do please rate and leave a review to help get the word out.
Bo Burlingham's excellent book, "Small Giants", charts the stories of companies for whom being great is more important than being big.In each case, the founders or CEOs faced very real choices between following tried and tested growth paths or doing something different and keeping their mojo.Sometimes, that meant rejecting mouth-watering exits.But they consistently chose greatness. For them, having a company with a soul was more important than entry stakes to the billionaire space-race.Key patterns he's observed include:(1) The leaders or founders had clarity on who they were, what they wanted and why;(2) The companies created intimate relationship with communities in which they worked, including customers;(3) Employees always came first;(4) They figured out their commercial model, including cash flow, flexibility and balance sheet; (5) They invariably had leaders and owners who love what they do.{Unsurprisingly, exactly aligned with our own Build on Purpose framework for leading companies}This was a delightful conversation. Bo's experience and analysis encompases not just lessons, but more inspiring business stories than could ever fit in one book.Which I guess is why he's written several!Enjoy this conversation with Bo on the Karmic Capitalist podcast.
Much of the #ESG drive, especially in reporting, is to standardise what is good, what is ethical. Get to an index as definitive as sales or EBITDA for your environmental, social and governance impact.But does that make sense? Whose standards are the standard? Are anyone's standards entirely objective?This is a nuanced truth which Charles Radclyffe, founder and CEO of EthicsGrade | AI & ESG, talks to in this latest thought-provoking podcast episode of the #KarmicCapitalist.It is a very real nuance. Your values aren't the same as mine, and that's probably a good thing. If we all shared exactly the same values and priorities, we'd quickly get to a place where mob rule takes over, and populism becomes the order of the day.¸„.-•~¹°”ˆ˜¨ ˙˙˙˙ʇıɐʍ ɥO ¨˜ˆ”°¹~•-.„¸So the approach of EthicsGrade is to allow you to apply your own values, your own perspectives, your own priorities to an ESG rating of companies you're interested in investing in.Personalised ESG ratings.And he perceives an active market need with early adopters, and the mainstream to follow after legislation which will be coming our way over the next few years.In this episode, we dip into the world of ethics, ethics in AI, and ethics in ESG. But not just in a philosophical way, but in how this informs the strategy and implementation of EthicsGrade.We also dive into what values look like in a values company. If your business model is about values, and about personal values, how do you translate that into your company?Thought-provoking episode from Charles on the Karmic Capitalist. Find it on your favourite podcast player.
To succeed in addressing today's large challenges, we need collaboration between business, government, the third sector and society.But we also need it translated from big words into a difference in communities and for individuals on the ground.In this latest episode of the Karmic Capitalist, Repc Ltd's managing director, Bevil Williams, shows how to do both.Arriving in the UK from Jamaica at an early age, Bevil was struck by what and how much we throw away. Things we routinely threw to landfill would have given him varied play for months as a kid.But he was also moved by how ill-prepared our systems are to deal with children that pose it a challenge.So first, he set up a school for excluded kids. Excluded for being disruptive. For being unmotivated. Sometimes for being too smart (yes, listen in!). For coming from multiple generations that didn't value work.Aside from giving them an education, the school also gave them work opportunities through a variety of social enterprises that Bevil also set up.Repc was one of those. Having spotted early EU directives on waste, Bevil set up Repc to deal with electronic waste by embracing the options of repair, reuse, repurpose, recycle.To make Repc most effective, he collaborates with local schools, police, local authorities, large corporations and more. While the organisation gives work and training opportunities for disadvantaged kids, secured and refurbished laptops close the widening digital divide both in the UK and the developing world.Allowing Repc to address twin challenges of environmental waste and lack of social mobility.And he does it with disarming humility.This has to be one of the most heartwarming episodes of the podcast I've recorded. Bevil provides a wonderful model of how enterprise can serve people and planet at once.And we don't even touch on the footballs and schools in sub-Saharan Africa...
Stepping up to the global challenges we face today is going to need concerted action from us in all the various roles we play - as consumers, employees & bosses, voters & citizens, parents & role models.And, critically, as investors and business owners.To move big business in a more sustainable and equitable way, we will need to vote with our investment funds. And most of us here on LinkedIn are investors - at the very least through the pensions that we own.Cue Tumelo. Founded by our youngest podcast guest to date, Georgia Stewart, Tumelo is on a mission to let you know who your pension is invested in, what that company's policies are on key global issues, and give you what you need in order to vote and impact that company's ESG policies.In this episode, Georgia talks us through the purpose of Tumelo, and how she and her co-founders created a business to serve that purpose, working with some of the biggest pension providers such as Aviva and Legal & General.There's some great insight into working a model out for something that you are passionate about, figuring out the various stakeholders in a complex environment, and the expectations that come with being a purpose-led company.Listen to this episode for at least two reasons. First, for how to build a successful purpose-driven business based on new and early demand. And second, because if you run any kind of pension scheme and are yourself values-driven, you should be looking at Tumelo for the pensions your employees are invested in.
"We have everything we need to fix things and make it better for everyone in the world. Perhaps not the billionaires."Can business leaders make a serious dent in climate change? Mark Maslin, UCL professor of Sustainability, company founder of Rezatec and author of "How to Save Our Planet - the Facts", believes that we can, that we should, and starts to arm us with the facts to do it.This was a more broad-ranging episode than most so far in this podcast. I speak to Mark about us as humans, the society we live in, whether growth as a goal is bad, the approaches we've taken to building businesses, and as a result, the challenge and mission that lays ahead of us all.There's a lot more nuance to this than your average pub chat!We also talk about different industries and how they can or can't evolve. How the fossil fuel industry's own spokespeople are admitting that they need to switch off today, how concrete poses a paradox (damaging and really bloody useful!), and the similar challenges for the airline industry.We dip into how services companies, who mostly have a relatively small direct carbon footprint, don't and shouldn't get off scott-free, but need to look at their entire value chain and see how they can get involved to help there.For all companies, we dip into the practicality of how to start the journey.And the advantage that startups have.So if you're looking for how business fits into society, evolution, History (with a capital H), anthropology, the anthropocene, and several other big degree words, listen in to this fascinating episode of the Karmic Capitalist podcast. Find it on your podcast platform, or in the link below.And most importantly - just buy the book. You can find it here https://www.worldofbooks.com/en-gb/books/mark-a-maslin/how-to-save-our-planet/9780241472521.
Purpose can be a real facilitator for growth and profitability. And in turn, growth increases  your ability to make impact, while profitability allows the business to serve at a higher level.It's a wonderfully virtuous cycle when you get it right.A beautiful case study of this is Hyphen8, a Salesforce consultancy with a focus on  thecharity and non-profit sector. As CEO Elaine Forth doubled down on the company's purpose and focussed in on its ops at the same time, they were able to both give more, and turn profitable.How much more? 16% pro-bono time for charities in 2020.This episode of the KarmicCapitalist podcast with Elaine is packed with founder and scale-up nuggets. Some of the key takeaways include:the importance of alignment between the founders on purpose and valueshow aligning business, marketing and ops with purpose both strengthens the business and allows it to contribute morehow embedding purpose in your sales and qualification processes is essential in times of peak demandthe importance as a leader of recognising areas where others may do better than you, and allowing them to do ithow focussing on just making things happen, rather than on gender, drove success for her in a world dominated by men (a lot of resonance here with the earlier episode with Jan Rippingale).Way too much to summarise. Listen in to this episode of the Karmic Capitalist on your preferred podcast platform.
"We'd like to fully electrify Africa by 2040, with renewable energy at its core".That's the vision that Tony Tiyou had when he set up Renewables in Africa (RiA), his engineering, consulting and media organisation. The trigger was seeing a satellite image showing the distribution of power across the planet, and seeing that Africa, was mostly veiled in darkness.There's a lot in this episode of the Karmic Capitalist, but 2 big lessons stood out for me for purpose-driven companies.First, the need to ensure economic viability for the company and fill a real demand. For RiA, revenue from engineering and consulting work helps fund the media platform, which serves the larger mission of sustainable electrification across the continent. Achieving that important social purpose in turn opens up a bigger market within which RiA can be a player.Second, if you're a startup or scaleup looking at a large transformation, then you need to identify and collaborate with the parties that can make it happen - in this instance, companies with a focus on technology, finance, engineering and resources.As well as, in RiA's case, enabling other solar entrepreneurs to take up the baton across the vast continent.Enjoy the episode - and apologies for my bad microphone!
Ben Brabyn's had a fascinating career across multiple touchpoints with entrepreneurship. He's ...set up and sold his own company;represented entrepreneurs for global investment at the DTI;headed Level39, London's biggest fintech entrepreneurship hub;created a company to connect entrepreneurs to people who wouldn't typically inhabit that world.This gives him unique insights that most founders don't get. And the beauty of it is that he openly and humbly shares these in a very thoughtful way.In this episode of the Karmic Capitalist, Ben shares his stories and some of the things he's learned along the way.Such as the dangers of trying to revolutionise your sector without a deep balance sheet.Or the effectiveness and positive impact that can be made while building rationally, but selling to the heart.But I found the discussion around GenieShares especially interesting. How a simple (but not easy) task of giving away 1% of your share capital can be transformational for you, the recipient, and your company.And we never got to talk about the abseiling world record he broke with the Royal marines. Next time.Listen in to this thoughtful episode, and please rate the podcast once done.
Jan Rippingale's ambitions were never small. At an early age, Jan was looking first to be an astronaut, and then president. Ironically, working with John Glenn turned her ambitions away from this, and more towards using technology to create impact.Her chosen area of impact was our escalating carbon footprint. And her solution was to develop software that reduces the cost and complexity of rolling out solar. Specifically, software that if deployed at scale has the proven potential to eliminate half a billion tons of carbon emissions per annum.Some great lessons along the way. Some of my favourites:Her very practical way to assess the skills to focus her personal development on.The power of knowing your impact numbers in detail if you're to drive change.How giving away time and skill to large initiatives maximises impact and creates valuable contacts at a much higher level than you may otherwise access.That becoming the centre of gravity for the work she engaged in meant that success followed.Have fun, make money, create impact. In that order.An amazing origin story also of how it was a vision with her daughter that triggered and empowered her to change course and tackle one of the world's biggest problems.Fantastic episode. Enjoy.
Red Badger is one of the UK's most successful digital transformation agencies. Founded by 3 friends coming out of Conchango, a successful previous generation agency, they decided they wanted to do things better.At the heart of that ambition was to do two simple things. First, deliver significant change and impact to clients, and second to be a nourishing environment where the best people could go to elevate their careers.In this Karmic Capitalist podcast episode, I interview founder and CEO Cain Ullah. He shares the pivotal role that values had in the Red Badger success story. Including how not spending a huge amount of time articulating them early on it was the right thing to do!We talk about Red Badgers' values-based evolution towards a bigger mission and purpose, but the need to build it on the foundation of a financially sustainable platform. For Red Badger, that has involved the creation of the Mission Beyond initiative, which will bring the dynamism which the Badgers are famous for into the mission world. Specifically, the action-based laser focus of going from thought to action to impact that the Badgers which they regularly deliver to their clients.I really enjoyed going into the detail of what the Badgers actually do to embed values within their work.And Cain is just one of life's genuinely nice blokes!
As far as BHAGs go, Eliminating Global Healthcare Inequalities has got to be out there with the best.Though Alphalake being a British company, it's a little more modest."To work towards global health equality."This is just the fourth part of a strong mission, which aside from being a key part of founder Olly Cogan's aspiration, has had the unintended benefit of being a strong attractor for talented employees.This episode of the Karmic Capitalist podcast ranges from the macro of where Capitalism may need some fixing, to the micro of how Alphalake prioritises between immediate and longer-term needs.Along the way, we take in some great comments ("Bill Gates didn't set up Microsoft with the Bill and Melinda foundation in minds. He probably set it up to make money and stuff it to IBM" is a personal favourite!), and dives a little into the tech of the opportunities for RPA and Microsoft Teams in healthcare.Olly closes with a great question as to why the NHS isn't viewed as this cool organisation to work in, given the level of dynamic thinking, innovation and problem solving that goes on underneath the glacial-moving reputation.Listen to this episode of a startup on its journey to achieving a great purpose.
Many CEOs call their companies "people companies". Occasionally they mean it!Far more occasionally still, it translates into every sinew of a company's being.Answer Digital comes about as close as you can get within the tech consulting sector. I don't know what perks they offer, or if they've latched on to the latest must-shout-about people-pleasing fad. But I do sense they've embedded values through the whole organisation.And that's right from graduates who join their academy. Their coding skills will grow for sure. But they're also going to be asked to present what the company's values mean to them in front of their colleagues.A tough ask, but it starts the process of connecting the team's day-to-day work to the company's values and the outcomes they create for their clients.... and it seems to work, as 40% of the company's employees are academy graduates!But way bigger than that is how founders Gary and Katie Parlett shunned high offers from trade and private equity and chose instead to put the company into an Employee Owned Trust.EOTs aren't always the best answer. But they were to retain Answer's culture.So my latest episode of the Karmic Capitalist talks to co-founder Gary Parlett about growing a successful, truly people-first digital transformation and IT consultancy.
Peter Tiszavolgyi's company, Stylers Group, started with a couple of mates at uni in Budapest. It's grown into a 50+ person company that is Deepak Chopra's digital partner in San Diego.Not your typical trajectory from a recently ex-Communist country.In this episode of the Karmic Capitalist podcast, Peter shares some of the lessons which have served him well. Including:Getting serious about your friends and your network is essential, and the importance of it should be taught from school.Believing that he can get the best out of people means that he usually can.The underestimated importance of luck, but how essential it is to be there when it happens.Why talking to your team about how and when they leave you is important.The power and giveaways of observing people's habits.Not wanting 2 Ferraris!This is a wonderfully heart-warming story of how to build a 50 person agency from scratch while keeping your values front and centre.Tune in and subscribe for stories of business leaders at various parts of their journeys to businesses that are human and profitable.
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