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Stand out by standing up: The role of mission in business

Article-Stand out by standing up: The role of mission in business

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Amanda Hartt of New Hope Network; Tyler Gage of Runa; Shaina Kandel of Fair Trade USA; and Jeremiah McElwee of Thrive Market talk about what it means to be a mission-driven business, the business case for giving back to the supply chain, and how to find a mission that is truly aligned with company values.

"As a Gen Xer who was raised very anti-establishment, with punk rock and skateboarding, for me, being mission-driven was the only way I could justify being part of capitalism. I can create positive change through market demand and market influence by doing the right thing. That's the part that makes people really passionate about it."
—Jeremiah McElwee of Thrive Market

Part 1: What it means to be a mission-driven business 

  • Design a new value trade around fair trade business principles. 
  • Live a healthier life through healthier food systems and have a positive impact on communities. 
  • Work to enable sustainable development through a market-based approach.


Part 2: The business case and how to tell the story

  • There is a strong case to be made for investing back into supply chain and back into sourcing communities. 
  • Social media allows the world to see how businesses affects community—both positively and negatively. 
  • How do companies message their fair trade mission to consumers and stakeholders? 


Part 3: Which tools help focus or discover a company's mission? 

  • Make sure the mission is strategic to the purpose of the business itself.
  • Empowerment comes from the ground up.
  • There is concern about getting top heavy with the mission.


Part 4: Retroactively creating mission for an existing brand 

  • Company mission vs. corporate social responsibility.  
  • What's the real goal and what's possible? 
  • Thought leadership around mapping out the problem and finding the solution. 

Part 5: The takeaway message

  • Find the authentic component and the path forward. 
  • The importance of having a great product.
  • Use your resources.

Part 6: Q&A 

  • Why isn't there more focus on domestic fair trade? 
  • What's the story behind Thrive Market? 
  • How do you identify the truly mission-driven company from a CSR-driven company? How to help consumers see the difference?

This session—Standing Out by Standing Up—The Role of Mission in Business—was recorded at Natural Products Expo East 2017. 

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