Friday Good News Roundup: Heart Series Edition
Liz Biscevic—5 Things to Know Today
In case you missed it, mission-driven businesses gathered in Los Angeles for The Heart Series, a two-day conference exploring the challenges and inspirations behind founding sustainable and socially conscious companies. Make Change's staff was onsite to learn about groundbreaking business models and future trends.
1. Gen Z Is Coming
In fact, Gen Z is already here. Melissa Lavigne-Delville, founder of Culture Co-Op, spent years learning about the 60 million youngsters, now known as Generation Z, born between 1995 and 2010. Some of her insights, detailed in the Culture Co-Op-produced magazine Humanly, include Gen Z’s overwhelming belief that it is “the norm to be radical” and the expectation that businesses have social impact and activism baked-in to their corporate culture. These young adults and adolescents are also more gender fluid than ever before, more desirous of a physical, measurable way to affect change (as opposed to clicktivism), and more likely to find their tribes digitally than relying on networks in their neighborhoods or schools.
2. Diversity and Inclusion are NOT the Same Thing
Shocking, we know. But as Abby Maldonado, a diversity programs specialist for Pinterest, noted in a panel on creating a diverse and inclusive workplace, “the inclusion side of the equation is really, really key.” Equally important as recruitment efforts is “once [underrepresented hires] get there, making sure it’s an environment where they can thrive.” At Pinterest, the company sends out a semiannual survey to evaluate how different groups experience the company and see where their culture could be improved. Solutions can run the gamut from creating intercompany social and support groups for minorities, to switching up dude-centered office décor and amenities, to implementing flexible work hours.
3. It Takes More Than Just Caring to Be a “Global Citizen.”
Richard Wolffe, Chief Marketing Officer of Global Citizen, argued that in order to call yourself a global citizen, you have to stand up for the people who need it most. He went on to say that the world’s biggest issues—like clean water, extreme poverty, and hunger—are the hardest to solve, but he encouraged the audience not to be intimidated. “You don’t have to be Bill Gates; you don’t have to be a prime minister to make a difference,” said Wolffe. Caring is a good start, but citizenship is about action.
4. When Hiring Ex-convicts, Their Backgrounds Are the Least of Your Business Worries
So said Kabira Stokes, the CEO and founder of Isidore Recycling, which was recently acquired by Homeboy Industries under the name Homeboy Recycling. Isidore Recycling stemmed from the fact that in America, there are “overflowing landfills and overflowing prisons,” said Stokes. To keep people from returning to prison, they need a legal way to support themselves. E-waste should really never end up in landfills—old computers, smartphones, and other electronics contain precious metals and poisonous material and need to be properly disposed of—yet only 40 percent was recycled last year. Stokes’ company employs people with criminal records to recycle and process e-waste.
5. The Future of Corporate Social Responsibility is Grassroots and Baked-inWith 95 percent of the largest companies in the world having some sort of corporate social responsibility programs, it may seem that conscious capitalism has basically achieved its goals. Not so, according to the CSR specialists on a panel discussing coming trends in that space. Guarav Bhattacharya, CEO of InvolveSoft, says that he's observing top-down corporate philanthropy shifting to employee-driven grassroots efforts. Stephanie Ryan, community head of B LABS, concurred, describing corporate social responsibility in terms any tech company could understand: version 1.0 is companies donating money to a nonprofit; version 2.0 is developing a strong partnership with that nonprofit; and version 3.0 is cultivating shared values with multiple stakeholders working toward the same goal. Today's political climate presents a great challenge to what GoPro head of CSR Erica Stanulis called "practicing equanimity ... and a holistic view." But, she added, "to really make grand change, you have to appeal to those different perspectives."
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