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.
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.
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.
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.
Lizzy Hayashida and Willie Conaghan are on a mission to build a community of everyday philanthropists. So they created Change Donations – a micro-donation platform which makes giving to charitable causes simple.
It will round up a user’s purchase to the nearest euro and donate their virtual spare change to chosen charities.
This began as a college project in 2018. Then, after coming first in a competition held by one of the city’s many accelerator programmes, they realised they had an opportunity to create a meaningful product.