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Ways to do good
CELEBRATING BUSINESSES THAT DO GOOD
I’ve always been in awe of the ripple effect that one good deed can inspire. As Jana Stanfield said, “I cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good I can do”. Small businesses are in a unique position to give back and to make a positive impact on the planet or on the people in our community who most need our support. As shoppers, we should really be doing our bit to help founders on that mission. I’m a big believer that businesses that have another string to their bow by acting progressively ultimately create more interesting products or services too, because they need to make ‘doing good’ only ever add to the magic of what they provide. So if they’re using recycled material it needs to feel just as good as a synthetic one does, if not better. If it’s a restaurant run by people with learning difficulties, it still needs to provide exceptional food and service to ensure people come back — and the owners will be especially conscious of this. It means you’re more likely to get a first-class experience, and you’ll be helping spark positive change around the globe, too.
When the mission to be part of a better world starts to run through the lifeblood of a company, that passion and commitment, coupled with limitless creativity, is a mighty combination that we can all benefit from. So here are some outstanding examples of businesses that do good.
A meal out is such a treat — delicious food, perhaps even a crisp glass of wine and, hopefully, brilliant company. Imagine if that same dinner or round of drinks was helping to train and support Londoners living in temporary accommodation to move into their own homes? Social enterprises like Fat Macy’s are helping their employees secure housing deposits, and with a menu that includes plates like gin and fennel-cured salmon and aubergine maghmour, you’ll enjoy a culinary feast to boot. We went there for our team night out and it was exceptional. Similarly, Ignition Brewery in Lewisham employs and trains people with learning disabilities to brew and serve great beer — and I’m told it’s just the coolest place to visit.
The world is finally waking up to the terrible effects of fast fashion. What we choose to wear every day is not only an expression of who we are but can also be a way of showing how much we care for the planet we call home. Brands like FUND Jumpers, BATOKO and Cotopaxi are champions of sustainability. FUND’s jumpers are impeccably stylish but their yarn is made from low-impact biodegradable fibre (for every one purchased 100 school meals are donated to children in poverty too), and BATOKO’S joyous swimwear is made entirely from recycled plastic waste. Both the ocean and the land will win thanks to these brilliant brands. If you’re a lover of the great outdoors, check out Cotopaxi, the B Corp makers of perhaps the most vibrant hiking gear I’ve ever seen. Their social impact strategy is focused on alleviating global poverty and isn’t that something you’d be proud to wear?
It’s not just your clothes that you should consider buying from businesses that do good. Have you ever considered how your perfume could make a difference? Ffern makes their organic scents in Somerset. They only release four a year, so you are delivered a beautiful new blend at the beginning of each season. Their small-batch production process (they only make a bottle for each name on their ‘ledger’) means zero wastage, plus they’re the first perfume maker to eliminate plastic from their packaging — what a lovely way to kick off each of Mother Nature’s new beginnings.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth like me and my Harry, you’ll be thrilled to meet Refuge Chocolate. Their decadently rich goodies are literally the stuff of dreams (I mean, what better way to dress your hot chocolate than with brownie and caramel marshmallows?). Every purchase supports survivors of human trafficking in Northern Ireland. Doisy & Dam, meanwhile, are on a mission to cut palm oil out of chocolate entirely and source the cocoa that makes up their mouthwatering creations, both ethically and sustainably. The whole point of treats is that they should make you feel brilliant, right? So the fact that these radiate that goodness in all directions makes everything taste sweeter.
The fridge is a great place to consider when you’re thinking about businesses striving to reduce the world’s waste. The shocking news is that roughly a third of the food produced for us humans is lost or wasted¹. It’s a bloody startling statistic, but small businesses are making it easier for us to cut this figure down. Judging by the amount of ketchup we go through in our house, we should choose our condiments more wisely. From mayos to relishes, Rubies in the Rubble use surplus ingredients (ie. all the bits that are perfectly fine but would otherwise go to waste), and so much deliciousness is crammed into every bottle.
I don’t know about you, but seeing the scale of change that these small businesses are making, renews me with hope for the future. It is so invigorating when you realise the power you have to make a positive difference, and if we choose thoughtfully, our pounds can ricochet goodness into all corners of the world. Plus if you’re looking to employ new team mates at work, take a look at the The Hiring Chain, which shows the benefits and steps to hiring someone with Down’s Syndrome, for example. These are just some of the many options available and there has never been a better time to decide to do good things. Let’s support these incredible businesses and make the world a brighter, kinder place.