The Soapbox

Ideas to talk and think about. A little bit of craft/hobbywork, photography, ethical consumerism, travel and a few recipes here and there.

World Recycle Week and H&M

There’s a lot being said about fast fashion and the negative impact of our big clothing brands. With the Fashion Revolution also making headlines this year, H&M’s World Recycle Week comes at an exciting time.

The idea is for people to take in their used and old clothes, accessories, shoes and fabrics to their nearest H&M store, for recycling instead of throwing it away. (The fact that people would throw away clothes rather than donate or recycle is in itself still shocking. Surely there’s enough information available about the impact of all of this waste? But that’s possibly a post for another time.)

The idea is to prevent the huge amount of waste the fashion industry generates. Almost all our clothing, footwear, etc can be recycled into something new, rather than going to a landfill as much of it does.

Recycling just one t shirt saves 2,700 litres of water (the carbon footprint of producing a new one).

Watch this video to see what H&M plans to do with it:

I decided to try out this idea at my local H&M store – all of them are participating, which is great. The timing couldn’t be better for me, since I’m going through a huge spring clean, and also need a few work clothes.

For every bag of clothes you take in, the Hungarian branch gives you a 500 forint (roughly 1.5 Euros) discount voucher.

I have to add here that I haven’t bought new clothes in at least a year and a half. It just so happens that my beliefs in being a conscious consumer align well with my hatred of going into various shops, trying everything on in a small and badly-lit room, and lugging it around a mall. I would much rather pick something out online (in my PJs) or at most, while meandering around a nice vintage or second-hand shop.

So this in itself was an adventure, but an exciting one since it’s not a traditional shopping trip.

Do some preliminary digging into H&M’s ethos and you’ll definitely notice some red flags. We’ve all seen their ad campaigns for their Conscious Collection, and know they try to use organic cotton where possible. This is several steps ahead of many other cheaper brands out there, of course.

Their latest Sustainability Report shows a mixed bag of impact and results. The growth rates of their sustainable cotton use (out of their total cotton use), and the share of sustainably sourced materials (out of all their materials) has shown a strong rate of increase from 2011 and 2012, respectively. However, the rates themselves, when compared with the goal of 100%, is too weak for their impact to be significant enough in terms of their overall carbon footprint.

Source: H&M 2015 Sustainability Report

Source: H&M 2015 Sustainability Report

 

Source: H&M 2015 Sustainability Report

Source: H&M 2015 Sustainability Report

 

H&M’s carbon emissions for 2015 however, when compared to the previous year, show an impressive drop of 56% – and this compares to a tiny fall of 4% in 2014, and increases the two years before.

There’s a push for external certification of these credentials – all of H&M’s denim products are now scored well by Jeanologia’s Environmental Impact Measurement Tool – a software which helps brands increase the sustainability of their supply chain in denim.

On the other hand, various links in their supply chain show that while the group’s intentions may be good, their progress in the past few years (reports go back to 2009) has not been as strong as it could be – or as the group would like.

The progress in factory sustainability globally has risen by only 6% in four years, and the percentage of sustainable raw materials of their total raw materials is very low. Along their value chain, impact is mixed; where they have a low climate impact (12%), the social impact is high – as in the raw materials stage. Their fabric and yarn production, with a high social impact, shows one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome. H&M doesn’t work directly with the producers of their fabric, but through intermediaries such as the Natural Resources Defense Council to help improve performance. However, the environmental impact is still significantly high, with greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution in the production of cotton startlingly high, and largely unchanged (the group has had a 6% impact on their own water usage in 2015).

It’s important to also recognise that not enough high street brands care about their production enough to measure their impact and their value chain’s ethics. There’s certainly great room for progress and the fact that H&M still produce cotton instead of more conscious alternatives like hemp in their clothing, is an example of this. But as a whole, and measured against their competitors, H&M is still doing more to raise awareness of the industry’s carbon footprint. With World Recycling Week as well, buying new clothes at a time like this, from a company that at least tries to counter its harmful impact, is better than choosing other brands.

Travel Diary: Zanzibar Day 0 – Stone Town and First Impressions

So, here I am – the trip of a lifetime! I decided to grab life by the horns and take myself on an incredible holiday to Zanzibar, for just over a week. I’ll be travelling by myself, but am of course assuming I’ll meet fellow travellers on the way.

I’m typing up these blog posts at the end of my holiday, taking certain bits out of my travel journal. Of course, most of that is private but this is the best way for me to share my thoughts and experiences as they happened.

I normally wouldn’t blog about a trip, but I’ve already lined up some wonderful tours and experiences I know should be publicised, for the causes they support. A close friend from home has a good friend living in Dar Es Salaam, who has recommended some incredible activities and people to meet.

I’m ecstatic for the chance to discover a new country, a new continent – this will be my first trip to Sub-Saharan Africa – and a set of cultures unfamiliar to me. There are so many wonderful things for me to do here and I can’t wait to learn more.

Besides all of that, this will also be my first solo adventure. I’ve been travelling around Europe and the UK by myself of course, either for long weekends or adding a few days after a work trip – but I grew up here, so none of those count as an adventure. I’ve always wanted to, but never had the money, to leap on a plane and run away somewhere beautiful and exotic. This year, my Christmas bonus took me on an incredible journey rather than going straight into savings, for the first time ever.

I wonder what it will be like. This is the beginning of the tourist season in Tanzania, and I know there will be a lot of interesting travellers for me to befriend. But I’ve never spent so long in a brand new country, completely alone. As one of life’s natural extroverts and positive people, I know I will be fine and am highly unlikely to get lonely, but I’m intrigued about how solo travel will be in Africa.

I’ve read a lot of blogs and spoken to enough people that I feel prepared for it in terms of safety, cultural knowledge and all of those more practical matters – but I mean in terms of my spirituality. I hope I take to it, and enjoy the experience of solitude. I’m sure it will lead to a great deal of emotional and spiritual growth, and I look forward to learning more about myself through the process.

I had a very messy and complicated break-up last year, from a long-term relationship. I wasn’t treated properly at all, and had to deal with more negativity and heart-break than I thought humanly possible. It took its toll on me physically as well as mentally, and I hadn’t really had the chance to get away from it all – quite literally. I moved into my own flat, which has been wonderful – but I’m still in the same city as him, though it’s no longer associated with the relationship. This trip is, among many other things, my reward to myself for making it through this time so strong and intact, more self-assured and powerful, and more sure of who I am and what I want from life. I needed some space to mark this process, and some time to reflect on it and the next chapters of my life. And I promise, that’s as personal as I will get – but just to give you some idea of how much I wanted this break and how important it was for me!

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The flight from Doha stops at Kilimanjaro airport for an hour to refuel, and to my great annoyance, they won’t let us disembark to get photos of the breathtaking mountain. This is the best photo I could get, of the peak through the clouds. 

It’s quite a breathtaking sight, even though you can’t see much besides clouds. This is the tallest peak in Africa, and it’s quite a sight.

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I landed in Zanzibar in the afternoon, and it’s already 35 degrees. I could get used to this! Zanzibar airport is tiny, with a small terminal. There are about half a dozen forms to fill in, and you have to pay $50 for a visa. But it’s one of the quickest airport arrivals I’ve ever encountered, and I’m on Tanzanian soil half an hour after I land!

My first impression of Zanzibar is incredible – it feels very familiar, and it’s also like nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s extraordinarily green and sunny – and hot! There are no pavements, but the roadside from the airport to Stone Town is full of fruit stalls, cafes and bars.

Twenty minutes later and I’m in Stone Town, at the House of Spices. 

Here’s another thing about Stone Town no one will tell you: none of the streets have names.

Initially I think this will be great fun, but I soon learn my lesson!

The hotel is incredible. It was built in the 18th century, and has three floors, built around a central courtyard. The rear of the House was the receiving point for deliveries as well as the production area, while the front of the house was for the day-to-day sales.

The second floor, where many of the rooms – including mine – are, also has two terraces (now converted to a bar and restaurant) which were used to dry and pack the spices.

All the rooms are air conditioned, with en suite bathrooms, and have their own spice name and ‘personality’. Mine was Ginger, and I got a ginger soap with it! Every room comes with original Zanzibari furniture, which is mostly hand-carved mahogany, in a setting of authentic Swahili architecture.

Cesare, an Italian immigrant, owns this gem of a place and his helpful staff are on hand to offer advice on where to eat and what to explore – but at this time of day there isn’t a great deal to do besides shop, so after exchanging some US dollars for Tanzanian shillings, I buy myself some flip flops and sunglasses from the market and go for a walk.

Something useful to remember – make sure you take US dollars in cash with you, since ATMs are few and far between (I heard there are less than half a dozen in Stone Town) and the commission is exorbitant.

The exchange rate to USD when I went was about 2,160 shillings, so exchanging even $100 makes you feel like a bit of a squillionnaire.

Stair landing

Courtesy House of Spices

My room is on the other side of those doors – how cute!

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courtyard

Courtesy House of Spices

stairs

Courtesy House of Spices

I forgot to take photos of my room, so here are some from the hotel’s website:

Ginger bedroom

The Ginger Room, courtesy House of Spices

Ginger bedroom

The Ginger Room, courtesy House of Spices

On my first night, I walk around Stone Town a little, down to the beach and along the coast. The air is humid and smells so fresh, and the breeze is more than welcome in this heat.

Stalls selling grilled seafood and kebabs are lined up on the beach, and I enjoy a nice fresh mango juice while walking. I could get used to this kind of serenity.

No one has heckled me so far, which I’d been warned about, and though the beach is studded with visitors, we’re able to enjoy this incredible atmosphere and view in our own little universe, with nothing but our thoughts to interrupt us.

Something to note, especially if travelling alone – electricity is scarce, so many streets are unlit. I wouldn’t recommend walking around by yourself unless you’re completely sure where you’re going. No one looks threatening though, but it’s always better to err on the side of caution.

So I return to the hotel for an incredible dinner of lobster in a gently-spiced sauce, after a refreshing walk along the beach. The hotel’s restaurant is on a terrace and though the air is hot and humid, the fans and the ice cold G&T help sort that out! I could get used to this…

 

Global Inequality in Photos – Action 2015 and the Sustainable Development Goals

To coincide with this week’s UN General Assembly meeting in New York, where the Sustainable Development Goals will be finalised, an NGO-based movement called ‘Action 2015’ has gathered a collection of beautiful photographs demonstrating the vast gaps in equality that persist across the world. The aim is to draw attention to the universality of this problem, to caution against replicating the Millennium Development Goals (which many countries have fallen short on. Check out the rest of the project here, and don’t forget to add your name to the Action 2015 campaign, find an event near you and join their social media project#lighttheway!

 

Sebastião Salgado:

“My images of the Awá, a nomadic hunter-gatherer tribe of the north-eastern Brazilian Amazon, reveal the devastating consequences of deforestation and shed light on the lives of the Awá, who have become known as Earth’s most threatened tribe. Pictured: The tracks of the illegal loggers go deep into the forest – Awá territory. These tracks are then used by illegal farmers who transform the forest into pasture for the cattle ranching.”

 

The son of Piraima’a in his father’s arms. Awá fathers are very close to their children.

Tanya Habjouqa:

The images of occupation – such as the ubiquitous photographs of veiled women herded into checkpoints – have lost their visual impact and explain only so much. There is much more here to humanise. Pictured: Members of the Gaza Parkour free-running team practise in a cemetery on the outskirts of their refugee camp in Khan Younis, Gaza. The walls show damage from past Israeli incursions, but this doesn’t stop the team from training.

 

Teenage girls in Ramallah try on dresses for a dance. Since they were children, all they have known is occupation but, despite that, they are not defined by that and refuse to let it be so.

Mona Ennab, a ‘Speed Sister’ from Ramallah, trains with colleague Noor Daoud at the Qalandia checkpoint during Iftar in Ramadan. Open spaces for practising racing are limited in the West Bank.

 

 

African Myths, Busted

We’re all guilty of some stereotypes about Africa – I’ve never been there and I can assure you I have my own, mostly based on literature and my academic interests in development studies. That’s not the problem, but we should ask ourselves why. This powerful video confronts them spectacularly and challenges many of the most common ones.

I’m surprised so many ridiculous myths about what Africans live, work and play like are so powerful, and so monochromatic.

For a continent the size of the US, China, India, Japan, Eastern Europe, UK and eight other European countries combined, the fact that there are still only a handful of images of its life and people is outrageous.

 

I hope you enjoy this thought-provoking video and its message. It’s high time we started a proper series of conversations about why we are painting an entire continent with one stereotype (and let’s not shy away from the racism inherent in all of these assumptions) and thinking nothing of it.

Reblog: How you can change the world by shopping!

I came across this post by Indego Africa, shared as a guest post on the One Campaign’s blog as well, so I thought I’d add to the shares! This is a great article about how and why what we buy matters, what we could consider when buying new things and how our consumerism can be a part of a strong activist movement.

This is something I’m deeply passionate about and have written a guest post about as well, for Hands Producing Hope. Read this and tell me what you think!

 

How You Can Change the World by Shopping!

This blog comes to us from our partner Indego Africa.

While many of us wish to make a positive difference in the world, it can be hard to figure out how to do it. As individuals, how can we drive change in our communities and around the globe? Where is a good place to start?

While many of us wish to make a positive difference in the world, it can be hard to figure out how to do it. As individuals, how can we drive change in our communities and around the globe? Where is a good place to start?

One answer – which may surprise you – is…shopping.

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Yes, that’s right – from the groceries we eat to the clothes we put on our backs, the decisions we make everyday about what and what not to buy can profoundly impact the world in which we live. This line of thinking – often called “conscious consumerism” – is on the rise as buyers are becoming increasingly invested in the way that products are made and the effects they have on people and the environment.

At Indego Africa, we believe deeply in the power of ethically made products that empower the people who create them. That’s why we partner with more than 800 female artisans across Rwanda, providing them with opportunities to earn fair-trade, sustainable income for their beautifully handcrafted products. We sell these pieces around the world, and pool 100% of the proceeds from sales, along with grants and donations, to fund education programs for the very same women.

While we are just one of a growing number of socially responsible brands, we want to share with you why we love what we do and hopefully inspire you to jump on the shopping-for-a-cause train too!

  1. Each product provides a woman with a real, living wage. We believe in paying our artisan partners fairly, honoring the incredible skill, patience, and creativity that goes into their work (some products, like our colorful plateau baskets, each take 2-3 days to make!)

    Making baskets. Imirasire, Rwanda

  1. With increased income, women are able to care for themselves and their families. Most of our artisan partners are mothers, and like all moms they want nothing more than to create beautiful lives for their children. We are deeply inspired by their determination and proud to see them earn enough not only to provide for their families’ basic needs – like food and housing – but also to invest in their children’s futures by sending them to school.

    Sewing. Ibyishimo, Rwanda.

  1. All proceeds go towards education. We believe that education is the key to empowerment. That’s why we provide our partners with a range of educational opportunities – both at our Leadership Academy and onsite at their workplaces – to help them develop the life-long knowledge and skills they need to thrive as confident businesswomen, creative entrepreneurs and powerful community leaders.

 

Block Printing

  1. There is something distinctly special about a product that is handmade.We love to shop products made with love and care – to feel the soul and craftsmanship in every stitch. It is a way of connecting with artisans around the world – of sharing in their culture and traditions and celebrating their remarkable crafts.

Making lovebirds. Ibyishimo, Rwanda.

As you can see, empowering women through artistry and education is a cause we are deeply passionate about. But now we want to turn it over to you: what causes are most important to you? What companies are out there fighting for them too?

As Olivia Wilde, actress and co-founder of Conscious Commerce, likes to say: “your dollar is your vote.” By choosing to direct the money we already spend towards products and companies we believe in, we can not only make a difference in the world but also send a powerful message to corporations that we will not support products that are harmful to humanity.

It may sound simple, but as consumers we have more power than we think. By introducing a little bit of passion and purpose into our purchases, we can make a whole lot of difference.

Dyeing cloth. Imirasire, Rwanda

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Navy Hanging Basket

Navy Hanging Basket

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Floral Panama Hat

Small horn vase

To see more of our products, made with love by women in Rwanda, please click here.

Guest Post: What Ethical Consumerism means to me

I’m thrilled to share my guest blog for ‘Hands Producing Hope’ on what ethical consumerism means to me, resources and ideas for thinking about our lifestyles in a more equitable way. I would love to hear your thoughts! ‘Hands Producing Hope’ is a great company which not only works with artisans to make beautiful products ethically, but also actively work to counter the poor conditions their artisans live in, to live healthy and full lives. Their aim is to bring about change in the lives of their producers not only through the sale of their products, but also through educating us as consumers about the need to make more ethical purchases and activate others to do the same.

They go beyond this responsibility to also provide social protection to their workers, some of whom have been rescued from being sex workers against their will. The program focusses on marginalised individuals, providing education to their children – and sometimes to the artisans themselves – and develop skills in the community which can be used in other trades, providing a sustainable livelihood.  Have a look at their incredible website and beautiful items! Without further ado, here’s my post:

It might sound glib, but one of the most powerful things we can do as humans is to decide how we want our world to look – whether that’s by voting, picketing, raising awareness, joining an NGO, etc – and one of the most interesting ways to do this is to choose how you spend your money and what you spend it on. There’s nothing particularly new about ethical or sustainable living, but what I love to see is the huge number of creative ways we can live with respect for others and our planet.

There is nothing special or unique about me – no,  I’m not fishing for compliments! I am an ordinary person with a normal life and income. I am not trying to preach about how to be a better consumer, because I’m still navigating through that myself. I’m in no real position to tell you how or what to buy, but I can share some ideas of where I look and how I started thinking my consumption. We are all capable of making ethical consumption choices – it’s not just for the fabulously wealthy, or for the hemp sandal-wearing, dreadlocked hippy. I’m wearing second-hand clothes as I type this and my tea comes from an organic plantation in southern India. But I’m writing on an Apple MacBook – don’t even get me started on their carbon footprint. It’s all a balancing act.

It’s important to stop and really think about whether you need the thing you’re lusting after (even if it’s the most beautiful scarf in the world). If you do, consider getting it second-hand, or repurpose an object for something else – I use chopsticks from takeaways as reed diffusers around the house – which may not directly benefit another person, but it reduces your carbon footprint and is one less set of items we need our planet’s finite set of resources to make.

If it has to be new, try thinking about who would have made it and under what conditions. If it’s likely to be mass produced in a factory by someone earning less than or just about minimum wage, I always have to think about whether it’s really necessary. For some items, like smartphones, it really can’t be helped. (There is a Fairphone, but the market is quite small and the phone itself is rather expensive – plus reviews are mixed.)

I’m also conscious of the cost of making a complete lifestyle change by buying solely Fair Trade-certified produce, or entirely handmade goods. I often tell people that we don’t need to completely envelop ourselves in a cocoon of ethically-produced goods, but it is important to try to make small changes, since they inevitably lead to bigger ones.

Simply switching to Fair Trade-certified coffee, or buying vegetables from a farmers market (or better yet, growing your own), can lead to larger leaps of changing the way we consume.

You can buy furniture from Ikea, but if the throw you use while watching TV was handmade for example, that’s fantastic – and the company you buy the throw from might have other ideas for your home that you like, so you slowly build up this habit of label- and background-checking.

I’ve learned that ethical living doesn’t mean you have to buy a lot and it doesn’t mean you have to surround yourself with ethical products either. Reducing consumption is often one of the best ways to start. You can live ethically by composting your food, growing your own herbs, recycling plastic bottles to make greenhouses, making some of your own furniture and breathing new life into everyday objects. Ethical living means not only keeping the needs of other people in mind, it also means living with respect for the planet which gives us so much already, while also forcing us to think honestly about our own needs. Look around you now and think honestly about what you could not live without – then think about creative or ethical ways you could have bought those things. I really like this flow chart:

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Since I spent some of my childhood in India, I have seen what poverty looks like and what it can do, to children my age, their families and the society around them. Seeing girls your own age drinking water from a puddle on the street, in tattered clothes, playing mother to their younger siblings instead of enjoying childhood the way I was able to, is not an easy image to shift. My own family was always aware of this imbalance and like many around us, we did what we could. My first experience of an ‘ethical business’ as such is an incredible shop called Fabindia, where my mother got many of her clothes. Fabindia use traditional methods to make their beautiful clothes, often using natural dyes, and also contribute financially to the communities they support.

There are plenty of documentaries, news stories and books about the cost of mass production on people – on children, vulnerable groups like the extreme poor, or even the working classes in seemingly far-away countries.

With the collapse of Rana Plaza in Dhaka, many people started asking serious questions about where our clothes come from and why we need to constantly buy from the same companies known for exploiting sweatshop labour.

A great deal of much-needed publicity went to ethical companies like People Tree out of this horrible disaster. I would recommend reading some of these books or reports and watching some of the incredible documentaries available, since they will often have tips and ideas for being an ethical consumer without needing to break the bank or significantly alter your way of shopping or thinking. If you are a blogger, join this incredible Facebook group to share resources and information.

It’s because of our position as consumers with money, access to information and resources, that we have to cast this sort of vote for a more equitable future. Think about it this way – who else is going to do it? We shouldn’t ignore this moral requirement. We enjoy the lifestyles we do because someone else has worked around the clock in abysmal conditions to mine tungsten, copper and other minerals for our iPhones. Our responsibility to other people and to our planet extends beyond the money we pay for these goods. We need to go beyond that and think deeper about our power as consumers. Even if you don’t agree with the moral imperative of giving back when we take so much, we need to consider the effect of our cheap, exploitative lifestyles on the planet – it just isn’t sustainable.

But it isn’t all dismal news – there is a lot we can still do to correct the mistakes of this exploitation. I love how creative this journey has allowed me to become with regards to my lifestyle choices. Social media makes it so much easier. I started my blog in 2008, which introduced me to the marvelous wonderland of Pinterest, Etsy and Ravelry – and let’s not forget the power of a Facebook group to gather like-minded people. Even in Budapest, there are second-hand furniture groups, from which I got six hand-painted silk pillows for a steal, and met a fascinating Croatian woman.

We have recently moved into a much larger flat so I’m going a little Pinterest-mad with redecoration ideas – some of which can be bought and some of which are going to be hobby-work challenges for both of us. I stumbled upon a tutorial to make pillow covers and even though I’ve never come close to making one before, I found a fantastic fabric shop in Barcelona, got hypnotised by the owner’s stories of the hand-weavers and dyers they work with and now there’s a pile of fabric waiting to be turned into something beautiful. How exciting is that?!DSC_0092

So get creative – if you think you could start making some of the homewares you covet from Anthropologie, there is a wealth of information on the internet so just jump in and see how it goes. Blogs like this, and companies like Hands Producing Hope, are a great resource for starting this journey – and as you read and learn more, new and creative ways to live more responsibly, ethically and sustainably will come to you. Tap into social media networks too – we are all interested in this stuff and enjoy helping each other, so I hope to see you online!

About Sanjukta: 

 

Sanjukta was born in India and grew up in Europe and the UK. She has been involved in political activism since her teenage years and is passionate about fostering a global culture of respect for each other and our planet. She has been blogging since she was an angry undergrad and would love to connect via Pinterest, Etsy or Instagram!

Reblog: Social Business Success and Staying True to Your Mission by Brittany Merrill Underwood

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Throughout history, there have been extraordinary men and women who have created movements and inspired social change in their time. We can call these people “social entrepreneurs.” What is different about the social entrepreneurs of today, however, is that they operate in a context where their scale and reach are literally unlimited. Because of the interconnectedness of our global society, social business movements in particular have emerged as one of the preferred paths toward addressing the great challenges of our world. And yet, too often, these movements lose their way.

While social entrepreneurs share many similarities with traditional business entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs differ in that their priority is not profit. The social business landscape is dynamic and diverse, but all social businesses have this quality in common: they are all driven by some cause greater than wealth creation.

Globalization has created unique opportunities for impoverished communities to participate actively in the world economy so that they can achieve sustainable growth and development. The explosion of American philanthropy and hybrid philanthropic developments (such as “impact investing”) have made it possible for social enterprises to scale more rapidly – and consumers pay attention. Informed shoppers (the beneficiaries) help drive and are responsible for proliferation of fair trade and social products in the marketplace. As a result, social businesses present unique opportunities for the economic development of the world’s poor.

But even as entrepreneurs begin to succeed in driving social change, they are met with new challenges. Ironically, success itself seems to cause the entrepreneur to become less effective at carrying out the organization’s’ core mission. Many lose focus on their social mission precisely because they grow. The demands of growth and competition of greater – and more profitable – markets can cause social businesses to make compromises that affect the impact of their core social mission. Over time, many social businesses lose focus on their social mission altogether, abandoning the very people who they initially set out to serve.

My belief is that this shift in focus signals the end of the social business movement. While quality products, operational excellence, and profitability (and even margin) are important aspects of a social business, the social mission must remain paramount. As the social business movement grows, higher standards for impact must evolve. If the business aspect grows, the social mission has to scale at the same pace. Without this commitment to the social mission, the movement will not last.

Today’s social businesses have a unique niche. They operate in an enlightened market environment where success is measured not by financial returns alone but by improvements to the quality of people’s lives. The critical distinction between entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship lies in the value proposition. The social entrepreneur’s value proposition is positioned to serve a highly disadvantaged population that lacks the financial means to obtain benefits on their own.

Economic and social change cannot be imposed from without.  But they also cannot be arrived at by doing business the “same old way”. Doing social business the right way means a long-term commitment to a social mission.

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