Supporting the individual is one part of the equation, but how can corporations also support entire communities through the right partnerships, sourcing models and initiatives? There is no sense of success if we work or act only as individuals, but a single voice becomes a powerful choir when communities join the conversation.
Drawing people into the conversation is a key part of collaboration and positive change, explains Kara Peck, director of business development for B Corporation. It’s “the idea that working together allows us to have positive impacts on communities. Changing the dynamic and mentality of how we can add value to the workers and communities starts with having a mutually beneficial relationship. It starts in shifts in values and gets down to the fine-level details,” she says. An example is thinking about sourcing from small local farmers and how a larger company can help these farmers transition to organic in a way that supports their business, considering the transition process can be expensive. “We know the costs of transitioning to organic are higher. So how do companies support the farmer in the transition so that they can eventually be more profitable without going out of business during the process?”
It takes a village supporting communities near and far
The beauty of community is that it extends beyond our back door to people with shared interests and goals. For probiotic ice cream company Culture Republick, community means supporting local arts with 10% of all profits and wrapping each pint of its probiotic ice cream with unique artwork from an emerging artist. For Growing Roots, “good for community” means using urban farming to help everyone have access to fresh, healthy food. The company donates 50% of profits from its organic snacks to dozens of urban farms and school gardens in six cities.
Beyond the workplace and the backyard, doing what’s right for your community can mean supporting global communities, too; those who grow or help to produce the food we eat or products we use. Nubian Heritage uses a community commerce program to support women-owned cooperatives in Ghana that produce the organic shea butter the company uses in products. Likewise, Ben & Jerry’s uses Fair Trade CertifiedTM ingredients such as cocoa, sugar, bananas, coffee, vanilla and a portion of the almonds the company uses, and Schmidt’s uses RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil in all bar soaps, supporting global standards for sustainable palm oil cultivation.
Fair Trade Certified is based on the premise that the products we buy are connected to the livelihood of others. Fair Trade ensures that in producing ingredients, farmers are paid a fair wage that provides them with income stability. It looks out for the health of farmers by not allowing the use of harmful chemicals on crops and therefore encouraging the long-term health of the farm and its soil. Looking after the people and the environment creates a healthier workforce that feels supported as a community.