Well #Inspire18 Business for Good lived up to it's name. If there was any doubt as to the amount of impact that Chch is having on the world, that was removed yesterday.
Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce knocked it out of the park and put a real marker down for the future of business in Christchurch, Canterbury and New Zealand.
Over the day we heard from a mix of established businesses that are undertaking to be more purposeful as well as some of the new kids on the block that are taking off with impact and purpose fully embedded in their DNA.
Here are my takeaways:
The obstacle is the way. Nigel Latta was our MC for day and he hit us hard with some Marcus Aurelius early doors. “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” Yes we face some serious challenges as a species right now, but lets see them instead as opportunities for collective action.
We are programmed to do good. And there is hope here as he says, fundamentally humans are designed to do good, and when the poop hits the fan we are actually good at pulling together. That's why we generally like to buy nice eggs. Indeed chickens came up quite a few times during the day...
Business for Good is here for good. This isn't a trend. If you do good authentically it's good for you. your employees, your customers, your stakeholders and the planet, and they are all increasingly demanding that business gets this. There are literally no reasons to not do good.
Just start doing something. As Daniel Flynn and Ben Atkinson said just do it! Start where you are and don't be afraid of failure.
Anyone or organisation can choose to do good. We heard from some of the big guns like Steve Anderson (CEO of Foodstuffs South Island), Rhys Boswell (GM Strategy and Sustainability at Christchurch Airport), Richard McGill (Partner at PwC), Rob Jamieson(CEO of Orion), and the legend that is Tim Loftus who although now at ChristchurchNZ spoke with real mana and authenticity about his recent tenure at Kathmandu. All of them have some kind of community and or environmental outreach plan in place and are seeing tangible benefits and outcomes.
Check the UNSDG's for a North Star. Rebecca Mills and Louise Aitken from Akinawere the most vociferous about why the UNSDG framework is one that you need to get to know. I particularly liked Rebecca's image that showed the framework in a tier of importance - If in doubt, choose to focus your impact at the base - without a biosphere, there ain't no economy.
You can't always measure the impact. As Tim Loftus said, throw a stone in the water and it will create a ripple. But each drop of water from that splash also creates a tiny ripple. Every ripple is a win, but you can't always see them all. Ben Atkinson and Bailey Peryman from Cultivate also spoke about how some impact is just immeasurable, but sometimes that stuff is where the real magic is.
Don't be afraid to ask for help. Alana Chapman from 27Seconds Wine hit the nail on the head. Don't be afraid to ask for help. If changing the world was easy, everyone would be doing it. Go buy some of their stuff - the Pinot is lovely.
There is support out there. Marian Johnson from the Ministry of Awesome, and Akinahave got your back here in particular, but what also shone through was the need to help and collaborate across sectors and industries. Who or what is your real competitor right now?
Go deeper on your personal purpose journey. Daniel Flynn clearly gets this. Motivation is finite, purpose is infinite. The deeper you connect to your purpose and the more impact you make on a larger scale, the more fulfilled you will be and the further you will go for your cause. Go connect to yours.
Create change by supporting the sector. Louise, and Ben Gleisner from Conscious Consumers were the rally point for this. There are two ways that you can easily do this. Firstly, if you are in business, seek out social enterprises that you can support. For example, if you are already spending money on lunches for an event, then use Fill Their Lunchbox. Just in NZ there is a $535 BILLION spent by business on stuff. Go buy good stuff from good people. Secondly as a consumer you need to be fussy about who you support. Download the Conscious Consumer app and start telling business what you care about. Vote with your wallet and don't give agency to the businesses choosing to do bad.
And that was a wrap.
So what next?
It's clear that there is some great stuff happening in Chch. So lets keep on shining there.
Some big businesses have started doing good. Let's build on that and spread that message further and deeper.
If you are wanting to start the journey, reach out to the businesses that were highlighted at Inspire or others that you see doing good and ask for help.
Connect with the team at Akina and see how you can support some local social enterprises and sign your business up to Conscious Consumers to understand what your customers care about.
Take the B Corp Impact Assessment and get a snapshot of where you are at on the global impact scale.
Connect to your own values and purpose and just start giving back. As Gandhi said "we find ourselves by losing ourselves in the service of others."
Tim is The Grow Good Guy, B Corp Ambassador for NZ and GM of Growing Good for Kilmarnock Enterprises, NZ's largest and most successful social enterprises.
If you or your business want to understand more about what this purpose stuff is all about and how it will benefit you then give him a shout on 021 288 2363 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org