“CSR, sustainability, purpose, these are all iterations of the same thing, all moving towards an unavoidable new normal. At some point in the near future, we need to live in a world where all business has a positive social and environmental impact on the world, and the brands that do this for real will be the winners”
SUSTAINING PEOPLE AND PLANET
Jamie Burdett wrote that quote above when helping me with a BIFKiDS project - hat tip Jamie. Importantly, it’s not just about the natural world, although clearly, that plays a massive role in the context of environmental sustainability because if we continue to trash our planet then we are literally soiling the only home we have.
Sustainability is also profoundly social. It encompasses the emotional environments in which each of us move, work, and live each day. Some years back, I was on a project with MTV that was youth-focused. We were using the word ‘sustainability’. It turned out the most ‘sustainable’ thing we could do for young people in the north of England was to get knives off the streets, out of the schools and out of their lives. Never mind the air, and water, and energy and … sustainability for them was making it through each day unharmed.
So, for BIF, sustainability has a number of manifestations:
BIF only works with clients who acknowledge - or need help with the process of acknowledging - the new responsibilities of a modern enterprise. That includes (in no particular order):
Clarity on purpose, values, mission, and vision that combines profit with purpose
Adopting the Global Goals as the external organising framework to join brands acting as agents of change
All-encompassing innovation along an actionable line-of-sight from values-to-value
Deeply understanding audiences to identify how to play the most meaningful role in peoples lives and thus engage people not as consumers but as fans
Investing in creativity, then creating new cultural conditions in which people and ideas thrive.
SUSTAINING HEALTH AND WELLBEING
We partner with a number of organisations focused on supporting, serving and facilitating the health and wellbeing of people in need. Currently, we’re partnered with The Photography Movement to innovate a new platform solution; supporting mental health through people expressing their emotions using the medium of photography’.
FIGHTING FOR SUSTAINABLE FUTURES
My real passion is to develop and prepare kids everywhere for the sustainability challenges we know are coming. The most meaningful role BIF can play is future proofing global youth by productizing creativity for those who teach, parent and support kids. More and more, BIF will focus on next-gen works, including asking every client we work with to help us fight this good fight.
ADOPTING GLOBAL GOAL 4: QUALITY EDUCATION
We see the Global Goals more as our planet’s to-do list. The clients we work with tend to adopt multiple goals given their works are spread across a number of impacts. For BIF, we’re focusing on a single goal and will report our ‘creative’ progress against Global Goal 4; ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
WORKING TOWARDS B CORP CERTIFICATION
Many of the brands, companies and clients we admire are now B Corps; from leaders like Patagonia, to our friends at TYF in Wales. I’ve set a goal that by mid-2019 BIF has done the work to become a certified B Corp (more here if you haven’t heard of B Corporations).