We need more responsible entrepreneurs

Iceberg has always fallen but today than ever before, this photography is showing us the urgency for people across the world to focus solely on their environmental practices. Photography: Climate. on Patagonia website

I had the chance to attend the Websummit 2018 in Lisbon. In my opinion, the most impressive, transparent, engaged talk was given by Rick Ridgewa. I would like to share with you what I will remember of his deep lesson of life.

It begans like this: On one side, the brand: Patagonia. Well known for his truly engagement mission to the environmental crisis.

On the other side: Rick Ridgeway, one of the world’s foremost mountaineers, and vice president of public engagment at Patagonia.

From his original passion: climbing, he explained how one of the mission statement for him and his team at Patagonia became “to make the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” After loosing a dearly friend Jonathan Wright during climbing the Himalayas he can assure you from his experience that the most important things to remember is the footsteps and not the summit. He realized how quickly all of us cannot be alive.

Below Another Sky: A Mountain Adventure in Search of a Lost Father written by Rick Ridgeway

What should we do?

Being purpose driven. We need to be guided on alignment with the needs of the planet but also our human's needs.

Otherwise, we will soon “jump over the cliff”. The core impact of our planet needs to be taken into consideration.

  • Our businesses has to have a purpose.
  • Our life needs a purpose.
  • Our own, needs purposes at every moment of our life.

Even more, today with so many informations, distractions, less time for your-self. Across the world, it is essential, to focus solely on our environmental practices. We need to deliver VALUES.

Combine forces between us

(most of the time) I have the feelings that a lot of brands behind their “true/fake” transparency are hiding the reality (consciously or not). Although I’m not a fan of businesses saying to the citizens, that your product is 100% recycled of one or another material. (who is?)

Making a wonderful speech is nice! Sharing your company value even more. But when it comes to answering the question of what’s the challenges and where you want to be in 5 years and answering by “selling more shoes”. I am off. Everyone want to grow! Fair enough, but what’s your plan, your engagment, and what about the responsibilities of your business?

Too often business shy away from considering themselves “green”. They feel that they have to be 100% sustainable before they can proudly announce it to the world. Foot steps should be celebrated and businesses should be proud to announce the ‘wins’ within their transparency model. What if 100% doesn’t exist?

So, how can you work in that directions?

As brand what can we do:

Creating a powerful sustainable system where everyone’s can really see the impact. There are lots of examples online, here is a selection below:

  • https://wornwear.patagonia.com/
    Worn Wear keeps your gear in action longer through repair and reuse, and recycles your garments when they’re beyond repair.
  • http://globalactionplan.ie/ 
    GAP supports people to live more sustainable lifestyles by offering practical, creative solutions that inspire people to act.
  • https://www.aquafil.com/
    Aquafil are committed by taking measures through Energy & Recycling operating unit through two main products area: carpets and garments.

As consumer what can we do:

  • All-natural ingredients and textiles
    Take a look at the ingredients. A simple way to do this is to seek products that are made from natural fibers that lay low on harsh, synthetic chemicals. When buying a fashion piece make sure you check the labels. Natural textiles like organic cotton, tencel, and hemp are great fibers to start with. Synthetic fibers like polyester and spandex have micro-plastics, which means they’ll last for decades before fully decomposing.
  • Fair trade certified and fairly paid
    When it comes to sustainability, paying people at a living wage is non-negotiable. Every company should pay people fairly, as not doing so is taking advantage of people who are simply trying to survive in unsafe, unhygienic working environments. To avoid products made in these conditions, checking in with the transparency of a brand is key. Ensure fair-trade practices and that healthy relationships between both parties. Ask yourself and the brands “Who made my clothes?”. By knowing better, you do better.
  • Generous heart
    Another way is by taking note if they give back to a green organization. Many brands give a decent percentage to Greenpeace or the World Wildlife Foundation, among other eco-groups. Consider inquiring brands about the exact percentage of sales that is going to the charity, and ask what the donated funds will specifically provide.
Drone caption by Alan Graignic, camera operator, drone pilot

And rentability?

Implementing sustainability into your life can be a tough thing to swallow. Nevertheless, brands have to understand how sustainability is key to connect and build a relationship with their online citizens and their own planet. With an offer that doesn’t stop expanding, products need to up their game. As David Brower said “There is no business on a dead planet”.

“It’s not just about you (…) what do you plan to do with your one and precious life?”

Before you go

I don’t have all the answers, but I want this post to be the start of something more inquisitive and could use your help. As always, the best solution is to ask questions and do start to engage better.

👏 It’s my first post, I will be more than happy if you enjoyed this article, this will tell me to write more of it!
✉️ Email me lisagraignic@gmail.com for design projects.

I’m Lisa, an enthusiastic product designer based in Berlin. I am working for an international e-commerce company as an in-house designer. My passion lies in designing well thought-out product experiences by validating through user testing and AB testing.