The importance of sustainable and social enterprises

Making your startup or existing business sustainable or ethical is a smart, future-proof option. Customers are now much more informed and aware of the environmental impact of their purchases. A more sustainable product or service will create a positive brand image that will impact the bottom line of many businesses.

a city street meets the forest on the front cover of Profit with Purpose magazine

Profit with Purpose Magazine

As a result of the pandemic, rising inflation and other economic factors, many Dublin businesses are struggling. However, this has also led many entrepreneurs to rethink how they make money.

Many are finding unexpected opportunities by implementing sustainable and ethical ideas to reinvent their businesses.

This is also an opportunity to make Dublin’s economy more innovative and resilient. It has also created a test bed for strategies that prioritise circular economies, climate resilience and ethical practices.

Our current production system is wasteful and endorses a harmful consumer culture of disposability. It’s unsustainable and makes for bad business practices. However, there are a number of social enterprises working to change this.

Three innovative social enterprises to watch

In our current climate, new businesses will be judged not just on how they use their profits, but also on how they earn them.

There are already some Dublin-based companies and social enterprises that offer a template on how to embrace a sustainable future. Here are just three of them.

The Planet Calls

Leslie Maleipaard is founder and venture partner at Fortino, a traditional investment company based in Dublin. She’s also a senator for Ireland at the World Business Angel Investment Forum and a VC partner at Kavedon Kapital.

social enterprise entrepreneur Leslie Maleipaard poses against a wall wearing black

Leslie Maleipaard

In 2019, alongside partner Amour Setter, she also founded The Planet Calls – a non-profit organisation with sustainability at its heart.

As a creative communications agency, it aligns companies with sustainable development goals and the circular economy to help create a cleaner planet.

The Planet Calls works with companies who want to refine their brand through sustainability. However, the companies must be fully on-board to change – not just at a marketing or advertising level.

Edelman’s Brand Trust and Coronavirus Pandemic report found that 71% of consumers say if they perceive a brand is putting profit over people, they will lose trust in that brand forever.

The Planet Calls have backed a number of successful ventures, including Dunia Designs. This is a sustainable design company specialising in the recycling of plastic waste to create furniture and other products.

The Planet Calls helped to promote Dunia as the leading voice in secondary raw materials. It also helped strengthen its competitiveness in the market of turning waste into value.

Wild by Water

Dublin-born sisters and designers Jacki Parker and Nicole McKenna embarked on their entrepreneurial journey by creating the Wild by Water brand.

They combined their skills and passion for turning every accessory they make into an advocacy for sustainability. The business came about when they were both working in the fast-paced world of fashion and design. Escaping into the wild helped them recharge their batteries.

Jacki Parker and Nicole McKenna stand among reeds on beach

Jacki Parker (and Nicole McKenna

Realising how important the natural environment is to everyday life inspired the philosophy for their business. So they built their supply chain with critical awareness, observing the critical impact that production has on the natural environment. They insist on using high standards of sustainable production for all their fashionable offerings.

Wild by Water now has a range of nature-loving bags and accessories that feature pictures of their adventures in the wild. Each bag is made from upcycled materials, is water-resistant and built for longevity.

Profit with Purpose Magazine

These three Dublin-based social enterprises featured in the spring 2020 issue of Profit with Purpose Magazine – a publication that aims to raise awareness of sustainable and ethical businesses, while also inspiring other innovators and entrepreneurs to do the same.

Published twice a year, it prides itself on covering “everything at the intersection of People, Planet, and Profit”. This includes the likes of climate change, sustainable development and the circular economy. Each issue also focuses on a central theme, such as carbon management or building back better post-pandemic.

The magazine is the brainchild of The Business Spirit Platform, which is based in the Guinness Enterprise Centre – one of several innovative work spaces in Dublin 8. The publication of Profit with Purpose Magazine is also supported by Dublin City Council and the Local Enterprise Office.

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