Etsy The global marketplace with the personal touch. Read how Etsy has united, inspired and grown a global community of makers and crafters.
Everton The football club that hasnâ€™t forgotten its roots. We spoke to Everton in the Community about the work it does in the neighbourhood surrounding Goodison Park.
Elephants Inspired by Africa, Elephant Gin does things differently; both in its ingredients, and by helping preserve African wildlife and the people who rely on it.
01 February 2017 ISSN 2513-8553
One thing at a time, as beautiful as possible
Awesome Foundation Liverpool, Liverpool, UK www.awesomeliverpool.co.uk
To the office of the Managing Director of Ethos, I see you wrote an article a while back about the Awesome Foundation for your website www.ethos-magazine.com. Wasn’t it published a week before the NYT piece about Awesome Foundation too? Good for you. And them. To jog your memory, The Awesome Foundation is a global community advancing the interest of awesome in the universe, $1000 at a time. There are 100 or so chapters around the world, each with at least 10 trustees that donate money each month to collectively fund awesome projects for their city. They’ve funded the world’s largest hammock, an Indiana Jones alleyway experience, magicians without borders, awesome swings of joy and a festival of beards to-name just a few of the projects they’ve supported or made happen around the world. They also fund a lot of awesome community projects. Nice people, all of them. I’m a trustee at the Liverpool chapter of said organisation and would like to enquire into the possibility of placing an advert with you for your forthcoming print magazine. Since Awesome launched in 2009, we’ve donated over $1m worldwide for awesome projects, but one large and prehistoric category still evades us. As yet, we still haven’t funded a project about dinosaurs, despite us hinting about it on our website with an amusing video clip from Jurassic Park. At the last summit, our yearly-ish global gathering, I suggested that we launch a sub-brand called Awesome Dinosaur Project Funders in Cities with Awesome Foundation Chapters, or ADPFCAFC for short. But the rest of the group politely suggested that this might be the most ridiculous idea they’d ever heard. At that very moment, sat wearing my ADPFCAFC polo shirt, I determined that by the time of the next summit, that each chapter would have received at least one Awesome application to fund a dinosaur-related project, so that I could put ADPFCAFC back on the table. Applications for a host city for the summit are now being taken and so I thought I’d best get my skates on. So, do you think an advert in Ethos could help inspire a flood of awesome dinosaur related projects? Hopefully even community-based awesome dinosaur related projects that bring joy to the cities where they happen? I have enclosed the suggested advert for your perusal and look forward to hearing from you. Many thanks, AB, Awesome Liverpool Trustee www.awesomefoundation.org
Editor’s Note The face of global business is changing. No longer do we live in an age of the faceless corporation; the rat-race; the uninspiring, sterile office block – today, business is exciting, it’s vibrant, it’s innovative – today’s business thrives on human interaction.
Editor: Lucy Chesters email@example.com Editorial assistant: Grace Dodd Design: Nicholas Dawes Publisher: Fiona Shaw
The magazine you’re holding is an example of the changing landscape of business. Rejecting traditional funding streams, we turned to the global community instead – to our audience – and asked them to help bring Ethos to life. It wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for those people putting their passwords into their PayPal accounts and crowdfunding our first issue…
firstname.lastname@example.org Printed in the UK by Resolution Print Management Limited. Contributors: Andrew Beattie, Amina Bihi, Robin Brown, Grace Dodd, Becka Griffin, Jennifer Howden, Patrick Hurley, Allan Melia, Fiona Shaw
With the growth of the internet, has come a growth of awareness, a need for transparency – people are simply more aware of what they’re buying, who they’re buying from, and how the profits are being spent by the companies that they’re investing their money in. Businesses are adapting in response to this global community of conscious consumers. Ethos Magazine tells the stories of these businesses; these valuedriven businesses, both big and small; local and global.
Ethos Magazine Ltd. Managing director: Andrew Beattie Operations director: Patrick Hurley Head of Film: Allan Melia Advertising sales: Andrew Beattie email@example.com
Technology has made our world smaller, yet our vision bigger. For modern day business, the world is its trading floor – cross-country collaboration between companies has become a way of solving some of the biggest issues facing our world today. Take Parley for the Oceans as the perfect example; first to grace the cover of Ethos Magazine, Parley for the Oceans has issued a global call-to-arms to the world’s leaders, thinkers, scientists and brands, to tackle the growing problem of ocean plastic pollution.
The Mezzanine, Northern Lights Building, Cains Brewery, Grafton Street, Liverpool L8 5AF www.ethos-magazine.com To subscribe to Ethos please visit www.shop.ethos-magazine.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. © Ethos Magazine Ltd. 2017. No part of this magazine may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
Sometimes a little escapism is healthy. Sometimes it’s okay to tune out for an hour; to switch off the news, and immerse yourself in the stories of good businesses – the businesses collaborating across continents, inclusive of all creeds and cultures – to make our world a better place.
system or transmitted in any form, without the prior
Lucy Chesters – Editor
Cover Photography: Zak Noyle
permission of the publisher. You may not distribute, display or copy any of the contents of the pages contained in this magazine to third parties without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Ethos Eights A round up of Ethos’s top eight podcasts, co-working spaces and events
Bristol, by Birch An insider’s insight to the city of Bristol
Cracking On The London-based concept store with a mission to help the city’s homeless
Plastic Fantastic: Cover Story Thought leaders on ocean conservation, Parley for the Oceans collaborates with big brands to intercept and redesign ocean plastic
Keeping it Real Mindful, transparent and humane, Etsy is the global marketplace with community at its core
Good Karma The Karma Cola Company is the soft drinks company pouring its proceeds back into the communities which source its ingredients
For Club and Community Everton Football Club is the Premier League side rooted firmly in its local area
High Impact Moves HCT Group is the social enterprise bridging the gap between local and community transport
A Double Helping Wise Greece is on a mission to ensure that those living in poverty are getting enough nutritious food to eat
Igniting a Weather Revolution Ignitia is the tropical weather forecasting service changing the long-term outlook for farmers in West Africa
Spirit Animals Elephant Gin is a distillery with a difference; donating its proceeds to two African elephant sanctuaries to support the war on ivory poaching
Norwegian Good Oslo’s Tøyen Startup Village is changing the way that our cities think
Talking Pictures A closer look at our Ethos film series, from our resident filmmaker
Fresh Ideas Free Thinking Inspiration and motivation from #EthicalHour’s Sian Conway
Birch Beccy Massey
Crack + Cider Scarlett Montanaro
Parley for the Oceans Cyrill Gutsch California
Jo Casley New York City
Karma Cola Company Simon Coley Sierra Leone
Everton in the Community Denise Barrett-Baxendale Liverpool
HCT Group Tracey Vickers
Wise Greece Melina Taprantzi
Ignitia Lizzie Merrill West Africa
Tessa Gerlach Africa
TĂ¸yen Startup Village Beathe Due , Charles Armstrong Oslo / London
#EthicalHour Sian Conway Worcestershire
Conferences & Events
03. Disruptive Innovation Festival Online – late 2017
07. NESI Global Forum 2017 Malaga – 19-22 April, 2017
The Disruptive Innovation Festival (DIF)
the development of alternative
is an online, open access event that
organisational models to increase
invites thought-leaders, entrepreneurs,
democracy. The Open 2017: Platform
innovators, businesses, makers and
Cooperatives conference aims to
learners to explore the question: “The
develop the growth of platform co-
economy is changing – what do I need to
operatives within the UK.
know, experience and do?”
Open 2017 aims to accelerate
Whether you’re interested in social entrepreneurship, ethical businesses or you’re looking for motivational mentors – there is an event for you. Here are eight of our favourite global gatherings, where the industry leaders will be congregating in 2017.
04. Ouishare Fest Paris – Autumn 2017
08. Do Wales Cardigan, Wales – July 6-9, 2017 A gathering of interesting people for a
OuiShare Fest is an interdisciplinary
few days of camping and inspiration in
festival that gathers creative leaders,
the Welsh countryside. Do Wales 2016
entrepreneurs, movement builders,
sold out in a day, and applications for
purpose-driven organisations and
2017 are open now. Hurry.
communities from across sectors and
countries who want to drive systemic and meaningful change. www.ouisharefest.com
01. Startupfest Montreal – July 12-15, 2017 Startupfest is a global gathering of the
05. TEDGlobal 2017 Arusha, Tanzania – August 27-30, 2017
world’s best entrepreneurs, founders,
TEDGlobal 2017 brings together an
investors, and mentors. It features world-
incredible group of speakers who can
class content, from back-of-napkin
collectively help shape how things play
ideas to champagne-popping exits,
out. Dreamers and doers. Technologists
across three days of keynotes,
and entrepreneurs. Business leaders and
interactive how-to sessions, thought-
provoking predictions, and a healthy
dose of irreverence.
02. Skoll World Forum Oxford – April 4-7, 2017
06. Creative Commons 2017 Global Summit: Sharing and the Commons Toronto – April 28-30, 2017
Skoll World Forum brings together
The 2017 CC Global Summit launches
nearly 1,000 of the world’s most
a new chapter for Creative Commons
influential social entrepreneurs, key
as a movement. The Global Summit will
thought leaders, and strategic partners.
provide a collaborative and fun space for
The gathering takes place at the
anyone in the world to explore the future
University of Oxford’s Saïd Business
of the Commons and sharing for users,
School where people exchange ideas,
creators, and activists.
solutions, and information.
Our working world is changing. As more people go freelance, work remotely and start their own small businesses, co-working spaces have exploded. At the beginning of 2016, industry magazine Deskmag forecast there would be 10,000 co-working spaces open by the end of the year. Here are eight of our favourites:
01. Mesh Oslo
07. IceAddis Addis Ababa
03. The Do Lectures Do Lectures
Cool and collaborative, this former
A beacon in a country with 6% internet
Up there with our favourite inspirational
nightclub has grown up, expanded
coverage and 30% phone penetration,
talks from creative people with passion
across the street and supports a raft of
this is the Ethiopian capital’s first co-
Norway’s most innovative entrepreneurs.
Definitely a club you’d want to be a
04. Reply All Gimlet
08. BeacHub Koh Phangan
A series of stories about how people and
02. LX Factory Lisbon
Who wouldn’t want to work in a co-
Sitting at the heart of a thriving new
05. StartUp Podcast Gimlet
design district, this industrial co-working
StartUp is a podcast about getting
space buzzes with fashion, advertising,
businesses started – including the
working space overlooking the Gulf of
culture shape the internet.
communication, multimedia, art,
company behind the podcast itself, in the
architecture and music input.
most meta fashion imaginable.
06. The Documentary BBC World Service
03. ImpactHub Birmingham
Thought provoking documentaries and
Light, bright and buzzy, with a secret
factual content from the BBC World
room and discreet cubby holes for
phonecalls. Scene of some recent Ethos filming, and eternally inspiring. www.birmingham.impacthub.net
04. The Trampery London
Podcasts & Radio
of the United States and its impact on
Shoreditch, the lavish Trampery space entrepreneurs, and has flowered into four venues across the capital. www.thetrampery.com
05. The Wing New York
A spin-off series from Radiolab offering a unique insight into the Supreme Court
Working destination of choice in is a hotbed of collaboration for tech
07. Radiolab Presents: More Perfect Radiolab
One of the fastest-growing forms of media, podcasts are listened to by millions of people worldwide for inspiration, motivation and sometimes a little comic relief. We’ve whittled it down to our top eight – enjoy…
08. Monocle 24: The Entrepreneurs Monocle A weekly offering of stories, ideas and inspiration from some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs.
Run by women, for women. A flexible work and social space specifically everything from a boardroom to a blow
01. The Minimalists Podcast The Minimalists
dry on hand…
This discussion about living a meaningful
Also, check out...
life with less, comes from two guys who
Uber sustainability brand,
gave up six figure salaries, to do just that.
Patagonia, is hitting the road in
designed for female entrepreneurs, with
06. C-base Berlin
the USA. It will visit colleges in cities around the country on its
Not, technically, a co-working space.
02. How I Built This NPR
But this legendary Berlin hackspace
A podcast about people who build
Tour, to both repair clothes and
made internet available to users in 2002,
businesses and movements. Including
teach people how to.
creating the flexible working model.
one about the ever inspiring Yvon
Chouinard from Patagonia.
Spring 2017 Worn Wear College
Bristol, by Birch
Started as a supper club three years ago, Birch is the sustainable Bristolian restaurant serving organic food straight from the owner’s allotment. Co-founder and foodie Beccy Massey, shares with us some of her favourite local eats and her thoughts on Bristol’s best beer. Birch 47 Raleigh Road, Southville, Bristol BS3 1QS
Situated 15 minutes from the centre of Bristol, in the Southville neighbourhood of the city, you’ll find the popular neighbourhood restaurant, Birch. Birch is owned by husband and wife team Sam Leach and Beccy Massey, who had dreamed of opening a restaurant just like Birch, since they met at Leeds University. The pair had a shared allotment and held supper clubs for up to 16 people at home in Bristol, before heading off to work in restaurants in London for over two years, to cut their teeth in the industry. Now three years old, Birch shares many of the same values of their early allotment and supper club days. One of the main focuses of Birch is on the sustainability of the food it serves, with much of it being sourced from their own garden. Food that can’t be grown is purchased locally from the region; direct from the farmers – all organic – and the menu is changed daily to respond to exciting new produce as it arrives. Bristol illustration: Becka Griffin www.etsy.com/uk/shop/BeckaGriffin
“ Favourite local products have to be cheese, bread, beer and pastries.... and Ottoman shoes (I am saving up for a pair of these!) ” Food and Drink spots • • • • • • • • • •
Katie and Kim’s Bar Buvette Bertha’s Pizza Wilsons Bravas Wallfish Wilks No Man’s Grace Bullrush Casamia
Breads & Pastries • • • •
Did you know...? • Bristol is the largest city in the south west of England • A thriving port city referred to as the ‘Birthplace of America’ • Bristol is a multicultural university city of 400,000 residents • Bristol was the European Green Capital 2015 – the first UK city to have held the title • Over 25% of the world’s natural history films are made in Bristol • Bristol ranks high as one of the happiest places to live in the UK
Hart’s Bakery East Bristol Bakery Mark’s Bread Farro Bakery
Sustainable Producers • • • • • •
The Severn Project Mark Cox Nibbley Leaves Feed Bristol The Community Farm Leigh Court Farm
Cheese • Trethowan’s Dairy Gorwydd Caerphilly (despite the name, is made just outside of Bristol) and all the cheeses made by Mary Holbrook in Timsbury.
Beer • Bristol Beer Factory • Moor Beer
Cracking On Founded by two Londoners who wanted to change the conversation around homelessness in their city, Crack + Cider is the first concept store, that enables customers to buy useful items for their homeless neighbours, distributing everything from a fleece to canine packs. Co-founder Scarlett Montanaro discusses the origins of their controversial brand name, what motivated the exciting launch in San Francisco, and disrupting the system failing our homeless community. She talks to Grace Dodd... There is a moment in A Christmas Carol which rarely makes it into adaptations because it’s so dark. Scrooge notices something lurking beneath the Ghost of Christmas Present’s robes. It turns out to be two street urchins, who have been flattened into humility. Dickens was confronting his readers with the dark underbelly of 19th century London. Although Scrooge wants to turn away, the spirit forces him to look into their faces, to acknowledge the poverty he has helped to entrench. The irony is that, almost 173 years later, this has new resonance for audiences. Almost 19,000 families became homeless after being evicted by a private landlord in the past year; the highest number recorded. Recent reports suggest that the number of rough sleepers in England has risen by 30% between 2014 and 2015. On a national scale, the data on homelessness is starkly Dickensian. Perhaps that’s why, when she talks about the origins of her non-profit Crack + Cider, co-founder Scarlett Montanaro considers the name itself a big risk. “We were worried that people might think that we were making light of a very serious topic.” But she knew that had to be the name, because it was frank and honest – it was an incentive. “The bigger
12 | Crack + Cider
Photography by Andy Shiels and William Teddy
Crack + Cider founders Charley Cramer and Scarlett Montanaro
goal was always to change perceptions and force people to think about homelessness.” The basis for the idea came about when Montanaro and fellow founder Charley Cramer were sat drinking coffee in Berlin; “coffee we had just spent €7 on,” she told me. That’s the thing about Montanaro, she’s very aware of how much things cost; of her own privilege. “A homeless guy asked for spare change and I was forced to weigh up the benefit of giving him money in that situation.” She came to the realisation that a pound from her pocket wasn’t going to get him out of his homelessness, but it may buy him a warm meal. That’s essentially what Crack + Cider is; a small, warm gesture from one stranger to another in the busy urban sprawl. Upon arriving back in London, Montanaro and Cramer, who work full time in advertising, started
planning how they could get Londoners to shop for essential items online, and ship them to homeless people across the city. While researching, one of their homeless neighbours then said something so blunt it became the name of the organisation: “people don’t give me money because they just think I’ll spend it on crack and cider.” Initially, they sought advice from local homeless shelters about which items rough sleepers needed most. “We came at this completely blind. It was a brand new experience, a chance to hear people’s stories.” And they soon discovered that there were different levels of homelessness; “people who are newly homeless, people living in hostels, and temporary accommodation. There’s a hierarchy and rough sleepers seem to be the forgotten ones. So we partnered with food banks and soup kitchens, rather than shelters; rough sleepers are unrepresented. We also learnt that the majority of the UK’s homeless population are men,” says Montanaro.
Crack + Cider | 13
“ We’re all just some bad luck away from being in the same situation as the people we walk past on the street every day ” “The simple fact is: councils are unlikely to prioritise a single man over a single woman with children,” she tells me. “But there is an increasing awareness about the cracks in the system. As part of their strategy for reducing homelessness, over the next four years, Liverpool City Council will adopt an early prevention and intervention approach, directed at single people and childless couples. These are the people who are always in the back of Montanaro’s mind. While visiting the community café Rhythms of Life, in Hackney, she met a young man who’d started out in life like any other, but fell victim to a random act of violence, which left his life irrevocably altered. “The brain damage that he sustained from the machete attack has left him unable to work; relying on a local soup kitchen for food, he has to sleep in bins for warmth and shelter. “We’re all just some bad luck away from being in the same situation as the people we walk past on the street every day so the old adage of, ‘treat others how you wish to be treated’ has more resonance now than perhaps it ever has,” says Montanaro. However, some people don’t seem to be adhering to this maxim. According to the homeless charity, Streets of London, two thirds of rough sleepers surveyed claimed to have been insulted by a member of the public, and one in ten said that they had been urinated on. As an organisation created and run by two women, Crack + Cider is tackling needs, that many consider taboo. “We’ve launched the women’s pack which includes toiletries and sanitary products. Shelters receive funding for ‘essential’ items such as razors and condoms, however, tampons and towels are seen as ‘luxury’. Whilst the British public kicked up enough fuss to get the tampon tax removed, it didn’t change the status of sanitary products within government
14 | Crack + Cider
when it comes to homeless women. “Many women are having to make the choice between a meal and their dignity each month and it just isn’t ok.” Sales savvy, Montanaro concedes that the most popular items on the online shop are to do with image. “Our socks and thermal set are the most popular items – it may be the price point. At £7, people buy them as Christmas gifts and they make a good secret Santa. In terms of the items most needed it’s backpacks. But, backpacks don’t keep someone warm. However, the fact that people are buying anything is excellent.” It brings to mind the question of who Crack + Cider’s customer base actually is, in these hard economic times. “We don’t carry much data, simply because we didn’t expect to be this big,” says Montanaro. “It’s not students or graduates, because they don’t have any money. Our customers are city dwellers; the people walking past every day; they’re the people with the disposable income.” In November 2016, Crack + Cider started distributing to San Francisco, taking up a temporary ‘brick and mortar’ residence at the Tenderloin Museum. The data on homelessness in San Francisco is very similar to London. The city has around 6,686 rough sleepers, a significant portion of whom urgently need adequate mental health care. The decision to launch in San Francisco seems a sentimental one, rather than purely a business move. “The whole Tenderloin district is the epicentre of the ever-growing homelessness issue within the city,” says Montanaro. “You step off one block filled with cafés and luxury apartments onto the next with people sleeping all over the streets. The disparity between the rich and poor is quite alarming; we want to leverage that disparity of wealth by asking the people who have so much to give generously to those who have so little.” As well as its successes, Crack + Cider has come up against hard times. Despite the success of their
own pop-up store, the communal shop hosting the business, One Good Deed Today, was forced to close its doors after only one year of operating. “Even the name of the shop was a good match for Crack + Cider,” says Montanaro. “Everything was ethically sourced, everyone would bring their laptops in; it was lovely. “The shop was on Kingsland Road, the epicentre of the socially conscious hipster – yet it’s been shut down. People are aware of the problem and they’re just buying stuff on Amazon, I guess. It’s a shame.” It is quite clear that Montanaro is bursting with new ventures that she wants to share; “We’ve got loads of ideas, but no funding. We’ve always said we would never spend public money on anything but stock. We’re still working in advertising full time to do this. But people are always asking ‘how can I bring this to my city?’ – so we’re working on an open source toolkit. We would take people from a few different cities and give them a production
timeline, design assets, launch event instructions – even weekly Skype calls and press calls.” Crack + Cider is not the only one taking a radical approach to make a difference for the lives of our homeless neighbours. Housing First – the first model of supported accommodation, which was developed by Pathways to Housing in New York in the nineties – has been received positively by Shelter UK, which is considering ways it could be adapted and implemented in the UK. Housing First believes that “housing is a basic human right, not a reward for clinical success,” and that “once the chaos of homelessness is eliminated from a person’s life, clinical and social stabilisation occur faster and are more enduring.” It removes the traditional ‘staircase’ approach, as residents are given their own apartments, rather than climbing up the social housing ladder, ensuring that they have a firm foundation for drug and alcohol rehabilitation. However, this does raise concerns about whether we will be just feeding vulnerable
Crack + Cider | 15
“ We need a seismic shift in the way we think and talk about homelessness ” sit in offices, who turn to each other, and decide, ‘no, we’re not going to help you’. It’s those people who use the language of ‘intentionally homeless’.” She refers to an offensive poster, put up by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in 2015, which discouraged members of the public from giving money to rough sleepers. “Instead of a chalk drawing around someone’s body, it was a silhouette in change. It said ‘don’t contribute to a person’s early death’. But those posters don’t give us a solution or offer an alternative,” she says. “It’s so important to hold them, as well as big corporations accountable and ensure they pull their weight in this world. “That’s how people have always got things done in the past but we don’t seem to do that anymore. I think we’re in an age of political helplessness, but we can still make a difference. Write weekly letters to your local MP, go to marches, and call out corporations who aren’t doing enough. If we all make a nuisance of ourselves then eventually things will have to change.”
people back into a private renting sector that is just going to chew them up and spit them back out again. Montanaro is highly aware that Crack + Cider is only putting a plaster on the problem. “Giving someone a hot meal will get them through the night, but it doesn’t solve the larger problem,” she says. Though she’s hopeful that, on an individual level, attitudes towards homelessness are already starting to change; “homelessness affects so many people,” she tells me. “We must realise it can’t be down to thousands of people’s bad choices.” She encourages people to take individual action, and to join in with the little things, such as religious groups taking free food to their homeless community. Since starting Crack + Cider, Montanaro has become increasingly frustrated with the system at large: “We’re doing the jobs of government and corporations. It’s the people who
16 | Crack + Cider
Incidentally, the Conservative Party backbencher Bob Blackman has proposed a Homelessness Reduction Bill for 2016-17, which is currently at the Committee Stage in the House of Commons. It aims to make local authorities more responsible for preventing homelessness in the first place, but the bill’s language remains problematic, as it allows local authorities to withdraw assistance if someone is perceived as becoming ‘intentionally homeless’. Montanaro frequently uses the phrase ‘epicentre’ to describe cities with huge homeless populations, and you can see why. She very passionately wants people to know that homelessness is a humanitarian crisis. But she also wants people to understand that homelessness is not a natural disaster, it is a man-made one. It is a failure of national and local government; a failure of society and not of the individual. We need a seismic shift in the way we think and talk about homelessness.
With kind support from...
“When we launched in Norway in 2013, we could never imagine that ‘kahooting’ would become an actual word. But now it is, there is even a New York Times Article about it!” says Johan Brand, CSO and co-founder of Kahoot! a free game-based learning app that can be used on any device with access to a web browser. It encourages classrooms to adopt a mentality of play, making learning fun for scholars of any age, level, or subject. Teachers can use Kahoot! as a tool to get a snapshot of how well their class is doing, by creating a quiz – or ‘kahoot’, with a multiple-choice series of questions. You can personalise it by adding as many diagrams, images, and videos as you like. You can also pick from more than 14 million public kahoots within hundreds of different topics. While displaying the games on a shared screen, the players answer the questions on their own devices – uniting the classroom in a ‘campfire moment’ and fostering healthy competition. You can even encourage your pupils to create and share their own games, as they grow from a learner to a leader. Rather than endlessly flipping through the dense pages of a textbook, students are actively engaged in a gamified learning experience. Laughter, enjoyment, excitement, cheering and hugging after getting an answer right. This is what makes learning awesome, even for the quiet kid at the back of the class. With 50 million people in over 180 different countries using Kahoot!, the Norwegian startup has grown into a global startup phenomenon. Recently Kahoot! released the latest addition to the tool, a new game-mode called ‘Jumble’. Jumble captures the enthusiastic spirit of Kahoot!, but this time it’s not just about getting the answer right; players have to place the answers in the correct order. Teachers all over the world have already welcomed Jumble into their classrooms with great enthusiasm. To open up a world of untapped fun, excitement and potential, start using Kahoot! today.
Plastic Fantastic Leading the ocean plastic debate, Parley for the Oceans is a global movement of scientists, artists, thinkers and doers reimagining how we produce and consume plastic. Lucy Chesters spoke to founder Cyrill Gutsch… Evolution; albeit an evolving theory in itself, most of us are familiar with the idea that we were once sea-dwelling creatures that evolved over millions of years, to walk on the land. But, with the evolution of man comes the evolution of man-made; and in an ironic twist of fate, it is this evolution that, without change, threatens man the most. Man-made plastics have been evolving rapidly since the invention of Bakelite in 1907, and – a little over a century later – we are witnessing an estimated eight million metric tons of plastic-waste pour into our oceans each year. Ocean plastic pollution occurs when plastics from the land – like drinks bottles, plastic bags, and straws – are carried by the wind and rain to the sea, via rivers and other outlets. Easily transported due to its low density, it is estimated that there are up to 51 trillion pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans. This plastic pollution, combined with careless overfishing and global warming, is having a destructive effect on the earth’s ecosystem, and it is predicted that the current deadline for a total ocean collapse – which will see our marine food chains deplete by around 90% – lurks on the horizon. But there is hope; there is still time to turn it around – precisely ten years – and Parley for the Oceans has the solution: global collaboration. Founded in 2012, Parley for the Oceans is a global movement of creators, thinkers and leaders who have united to protect our oceans. Addressing the major threats to our planet’s fragile ecosystem, Parley collaborates with artists, musicians, filmmakers, fashion designers, journalists and scientists, to save our beautiful seas.
18 | Plastic Fantastic
“ Borne from the ocean, to walk on the land; this unique footwear is produced from recycled oceanplastic, and it sets an unprecedented industry standard ”
(Above) Photography by Jason Childs ©
Parley’s most game-changing collaboration to date is with clothing giant adidas. Together, they have created truly evolved sportswear by turning ocean plastic debris into a formidable land-dwelling creation – the ocean plastic shoe. Borne from the ocean, to walk on the land; this unique footwear is produced from recycled ocean-plastic, and it sets an unprecedented industry standard. “This wasn’t just a shoe; it was a letter of intent – it was a battlecry,” says Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley. “With adidas, we negotiated a long-term collaboration roadmap, in which we laid out what we wanted to achieve together; we decided that we have to make an impact. The impact was to change the way that the company was dealing with plastic,” he says.
Plastic Fantastic | 19
“ Like those before us, we will leave traces for future generations to find; but our fossils won’t be crude handtools or jewellery; our fossils will be a whole different type of crude – mass-produced plastics, made from crude oil ”
Above portrait of Cyrill Gutsch and Doug Aitken by Ami Sioux Background artwork by Julian Schnabel
“At the beginning of our partnership we decided that we needed a flag; we needed to show that our intentions were clear. So over six days we created the prototype of a shoe which was made from gillnets and ocean debris that was taken out of the sea,” says Gutsch. “It was useless waste – that we have given new life.” In 2016, global scientists proposed a new epoch: Anthropocene – the official ‘age of humans’. Like those before us, we will leave traces for future generations to find; but our fossils won’t be crude hand-tools or jewellery; our fossils will be a whole different type of crude – massproduced plastics, made from crude oil. It’s a sad fact, but it’s exactly that – a fact; plastic will be our fossils. We are currently living through a profoundly unstable geographical era, which will be characterised by fossils of plastic, concrete and nuclear energy. Every piece of plastic that has ever been produced, still exists in some form. “There’s such an urgent need to think and redesign the way we are dealing, the way we are producing, the way we are consuming,” says Gutsch. “If you look at the environmental problems that we are facing right now; all of the big issues are backed by a force, by a mistake, by an old-fashioned, volatile way of running business,” he says. True collaboration by the world’s big businesses is key to solving our present plastic problem. “We have to innovate our way out of it,” says Gutsch. “We have to learn from nature; in nature there is no concept of waste, everything becomes something new. We need substances that break down without leaving nasty traces,” he says. “Right now, we’re producing all of these substances, like plastic, that are never dying. We use them for minutes; we use them for half an hour – and then they stay on this planet forever. They cut down in size but they never disappear. We’re toxicating our planet right now and this is what we have to end immediately.” Parley’s ground-breaking partnership with adidas began in April 2015, with the announcement of the world’s first ocean plastic shoe. The shoe, which was 3D printed, began its life as ocean waste which had washed up on the Maldivian coastline. And it was recently announced by Eric Liedtke, the adidas group’s executive board member responsible for global brands, that the clothing giant has committed to, “making one million pairs of shoes using Parley ocean plastic in 2017.” “Adidas really is a founding partner of ours,” Gutsch tells me. “They’re the first company that committed. Our collaboration started slowly; we created a radical game plan and strategy which we call Parley A.I.R; and adidas is implementing that by cutting down on plastic use wherever they can; intercepting their own trash; and redesigning key materials,” says Gutsch.
Plastic Fantastic | 21
“Adidas is an ocean champion for us – they’re an example of how a heavy polluter can become the motivator and the agents of change for the whole industry.”
I felt like a villain – because it was people like me creating the damage. We are the ones driving and inspiring business. It made me realise that there’s a real need to think about, and redesign the way we’re producing and consuming.”
The Parley A.I.R Strategy (Avoid. Intercept. Redesign) has collaboration at its heart. The corporate partner guidelines, described on Parley’s website, state this clearly: “Nobody can end this problem alone. We need to approach it from different angles and in a collaborative and multidisciplinary way. The responsibility lies with the creative industries, followed by major brands, environmentalists, and finally by consumers.”
Gutsch recalls his feelings after the meeting, which took place in the confines of Watson’s lawyer’s office in Frankfurt: “The most shocking thing was that this guy sitting in front of me, had been arrested for doing my job; protecting my life. Because every breath we’re taking is generated by the sea, and without that oxygen, we would not be here.
Before founding Parley, Gutsch was a designer and creator working with businesses around the world. “At heart I’m a creator, I’ve always been involved in
“He was out there protecting my life, while I was busy destroying it. The worst part was, I was not aware of anything until I met Captain Paul Watson –
Avoid.Interce turning things around or establishing new things – that’s what I’ve done my whole life,” he tells me.
I had no idea that we had a problem with our oceans…”
But in 2012, a chance encounter brought Gutsch to where he is today.
Climate change is happening. Our oceans are warming; our coral reefs are bleaching; our commercial fisheries are nearing the point of collapse, due to overfishing. “We are destroying our supplies,” says Gutsch. “Mainly our oxygen supplies. If the animals die, then they cannot run this very important ecosystem for us then we will not have the chemistry that we need to live on this planet.”
Whilst attending Art Basel Switzerland, a mutual friend alerted Gutsch to the plight of Captain Paul Watson, co-founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Watson, an activist for marine conservation, has been defending our deep waters for over 40 years, often controversially so. After an international arrest warrant was placed over Watson’s head in 2012, he was pulled off a Lufthansa flight and imprisoned in Frankfurt. Watson’s story reverberated with Gutsch, to the point where he boarded a flight to Germany, to meet with him. “I felt it was my calling to help him. He’s a person who’s dedicated his whole life to a purpose – to save our planet.” says Gutsch. “I felt responsible;
Positive change can only be achieved through collaboration. Collaboration between the creators, the scientists, the artists, the thinkers the doers, and of course, the brands. Parley has collaborated with brands in the past, including G-Star and Bionic, and there are six more partners – or “equal innovation leaders” as Gutsch refers to them – lined up for 2017. The
Parley X adidas collaboration aims to drive global awareness and find comprehensive solutions for our ocean plastic problem.
“ We want people to see saving the oceans as being lucratively beneficial – to see them as more lucrative to save, than to destroy. ” “People rarely change their lives overnight to protect the sea and become hardcore activists; that’s not what we expect. We want people to see saving the oceans as being lucratively beneficial – to see them as more lucrative to save, than to destroy.”
But first, the world needs to wake up to our plastic problems. In December 2016, millions of people tuned into Leonardo DiCaprio’s documentary, Before the Flood, which was made in collaboration with National Geographic, and highlighted the very real problems created through global warming. Climate change was given centre stage, sparking conversation across social media platforms in the weeks following the global live-stream. This type of awareness needs to be designated to our ocean plastic problem. “We know more about space than we do about the deep sea,” says Gutsch. “We need to create fascination and love for it – to inspire people to explore it.
“We need people to actually see an advantage to protecting the ocean. Doing the right thing for the
ept.Redesign planet, goes hand-in-hand with there being a profit and benefit of doing so. “Deep down this is the only true motivation, and that was a really hard realisation for us to make,” admits Gutsch. “In the beginning we were very naive. We just thought that everybody should be obliged to do it, but we soon learnt that nobody can afford to spend too much time on these subjects, and it eventually fades away.” In November 2016, football teams Bayern Munich and Real Madrid stepped onto the playing field in Parley X adidas, ocean plastic jerseys, created entirely from upcycled marine plastic waste, sourced in the Maldives. A game-changing collaboration, this partnership proved that anything is possible when it comes to plastics. Plastic has huge untapped potential; it’s just a case of getting it back into the supply chain, recycled and repurposed as opposed to simply being wasted.
“ How can people protect something if they have no idea what it is? People won’t fight for something that they don’t understand ” “How can people protect something if they have no idea what it is? People won’t fight for something that they don’t understand.” It is this line of thought that inspired another of Parley’s collaborations. Partnering with Doug Aitken and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Parley has installed three stunning underwater pavilions, which are submerged in the seas surrounding Catalina island, in Southern California. These pavilions, which are actually three explorable underwater sculptures, act as a kaleidoscopic observatory of ocean life. These temporary geometric sculptures invite swimmers, snorkelers and scuba divers to explore and experience how life works under the sea’s surface.
Background artwork by Julian Schnabel
“ There’s a tension between beauty and fragility; between magic and horror – and that’s what makes Parley ” Gutsch told me of his surprise at the public’s reluctance surrounding the pavilions; “people are very surprised that they have to actually put their heads under water; sometimes they’re scared, anxious and concerned to do so. “But we want people to explore; we want people to be fascinated; we want people to capture the beauty, but also open up to the fragility of the oceans,” he says. “There’s a tension between beauty and fragility; between magic and horror – and that’s what makes Parley.” For more information please visit www.parley.tv or www.underwaterpavilions.com, or search #fortheoceans (Left) Underwater Pavilions 2016, installation view, courtesy of artist Doug Aitken, Parley for the Oceans and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
With kind support from...
The Leather Satchel Co.
Liverpool, UK www.leathersatchel.com
At the Leather Satchel Co., sustainability is vital. We’ve never bought into living within a throwaway culture – we use traditional skills, passed down through generations to make bags, satchels and accessories that last for decades. Our satchels represent the very best in ecologically-friendly leather work. The template for making them has been honed over 50 years, so there’s very little scrap. Traditional handbag manufacturers send up to 75% of their leather to the scrap bin; our waste is just 7%. We’ll never use exotic animals, sourcing our hides from cows within the dairy and meat industry, and pushing to choose skins from high-welfare animals. Our satchels have evolved over centuries. We’ve done a lot of research about where they’ve come from, their styles, and the creative decisions leatherworkers have made to optimise their production value. Our bridle leather is dyed using techniques honed over thousands of years; our premium leathers are finished in Scotland, using vegetable dyes and natural oils; and our classic leathers are based on hard-wearing clog leather imported from Holland. Chrome tanning creates a spectrum of neon, metallic finishes and eye-popping colours. We visit each of our tanneries to ensure they leave a 0% carbon footprint. All of our bags and satchels have a five year craftsmanship guarantee, and a lifetime repair service. Because they’re such a lovely simplistic design, our bags are easy to fix. It’s more sustainable to fix a satchel than make a new one; we know the value and beauty of heirloom accessories. People send us their bags after 20-25 years, so that we can polish them up for the next 20 years. We’re eco-warriors at heart, playing a small part in changing how consumerism is driven. We aim for a more sustainable way of life – we still make bespoke bags and satchels that showcase your individuality – but we’re focused on the future, combining traditional skills with innovative technology to create things that last. And that’s why we built our design tool. In spring 2016, we celebrated our 50th birthday by launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund our stateof-the-art online customisation tool, so you can create your own, unique satchel design.
New York City
Keeping it Real
Photography courtesy of Etsy.com
“ Etsy is an online global marketplace that didn’t just survive during the recession, it flourished ”
26 | Keeping it Real
Global marketplace Etsy didn’t just survive the 2008 recession, it thrived, creating a raft of small businesses in its wake. Lucy Chesters spoke with Etsy’s Jo Casley about the rise of the global platform and its close-knit community of makers. There aren’t a lot of businesses which can say that they survived the global recession of 2008 without at least taking a slight hit. And there certainly aren’t many companies which actually thrived during one of the darkest periods in recent economic history. Well, let us introduce the exception to the rule: Etsy. Etsy is an online global marketplace that didn’t just survive during the recession, it flourished. Specialising in handmade and vintage items, Etsy gave the world a platform on which to sell its wares and secure an income during those fraught economic times. On 29 September 2008, after the bankruptcies of Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual, the stock market saw the biggest single point loss in its history; Etsy on the other hand, had record sales. Sales figures for artisans trading on Etsy in November 2008 were $10.8million – compared to $4.2million in November 2007. And they have continued in this vein ever since. As of 2016, Etsy boasts 1.6 million active sellers, listing over 35 million items to a market of over 26 million buyers, grossing upwards of $2.39 billion in sales. Handcrafted in an apartment in Brooklyn in 2005, Etsy’s founder Rob Kalin – alongside two close friends – designed and coded the original website; assembled the servers and even spliced the cables themselves to get the website off the ground. “From day one Etsy has been all about handmade,” says Jo Casley, Etsy’s PR and communications manager. Recognising the need for a dedicated online marketplace for hobbyists and professional merchants alike, Kalin opened up a world of craft that transcends borders, languages and devices and, “reimagines commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world.” Etsy focuses on new ways of doing business and actively promotes a system of collaborative consumption; establishing itself as a prime example of the sharing economy. The term ‘sharing economy’ is a socio-economic system that encourages individuals, corporations,
governments and non-profits to share human and physical resources, and can be traced back to the mid 2000s. The sharing economy is an umbrella term which encompasses everything from recycling and upcycling to the distribution of used goods, crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending. It is people who are at the heart of a sharing economy; it is the people who supply the goods and the services to make a sharing economy work. The sharing economy is designed as an empowering new economic model, putting people and the planet at the heart of its economic system; it encourages individuals to reuse and trade in goods, rather than buy or own them themselves. Advances in technology and the internet have enabled individuals with certain skills, resources and services to connect efficiently with consumers globally, resulting in new business models, organisations and communities in both the public and the private sector. Etsy’s sophisticated technology platform is the key to its success. In 2008, Chad Dickerson joined Etsy as its first chief technology officer and swiftly established the company’s engineering culture of treating ‘code as craft’. “Technology means that someone hand-spinning yarn in Scotland can sell it to a knitter in Paris, who in turn can create unique goods and sell them to consumers all over the world,” says Casley. Etsy’s sincerity as a modern version of an age-old means of selling products allows its users to create a virtual storefront from which to trade, with no investment and virtually no financial risk. All that is needed is a little bit of imagination. And, of course, your own craftsmanship. Originally adopted by craft makers from the east coast of the USA, Etsy soon established itself as the only dedicated marketplace for handmade, vintage and craft supplies on the internet. Etsy now has a global reach, with active sellers and buyers in almost every country worldwide. “Sellers have always been at the centre of our marketplace,
Keeping it Real | 27
and our aim in everything we do is to help creative business owners build sustainable independent businesses,” Casley told us. Etsy’s business model is based on shared success; Etsy makes money when its sellers make money. It costs $0.20 to list an item on the website and Etsy generates its profits through a 3.5% fee for each completed sale. In addition, Etsy offers value added services which make up 47% of its total revenue; these include promoted listings, discounted shipping labels and direct check out options.
“ Etsy is a company with a heart. Etsy’s ethos is simple; it has always stated that it will never put profits above people and this is reflected in the company’s core values ” But most importantly, Etsy is a company with a heart. Etsy’s ethos is simple; it has always stated that it will never put profits above people and this is reflected in the company’s core values. Etsy is committed to being mindful, transparent and humane; to plan and build for the long term; to value craftsmanship in all that it makes; to make ‘fun’ a part of everything it does and most importantly to keep it real. As a socially and environmentally conscious company, each Etsy office recycles and composts its waste, and bikes it to community farms each week; provides entrepreneurial training for artisans looking to support themselves and their families and they give all of their employees five days each year to spend volunteering in their local communities. On top of these benefits, Etsy pays all of its part-time, temporary workers at least 43% more than the living wage; covers over 80% of health insurance premiums for employees and their families; offers counselling services, a health and benefit programme and 100% of its employees have stock or stock options. Etsy is so committed to creating a lasting change in the world that it registered as a B Corporation in May 2012. Introduced in 2006 as a way of defining a new generation of businesses, B Corporations (or Benefit Corporations) are certified by the non-profit organisation B Lab, to meet thorough standards of social and
28 | Keeping it Real
environmental accountability, performance and transparency. Certification is granted on the basis of how well a company treats its employees; its positive contributions to the environment and its community; its relationship with its customers and the company’s overall governance. Jay Coen Gilbert, founder of B Lab, said in his TEDxPhilly talk that he wanted to use “business as a tool for social change” and that a B Lab certification “marries the power of business with the purpose of civil society, to alleviate poverty, build stronger communities, create great places to work and to restore the environment.” Etsy joins the likes of Kickstarter and Change.org, as well as over 1,200 other companies, in 33 countries worldwide, to “harness the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.” In April 2015, Etsy became a publicly traded company, and was an instant hit on its Wall Street debut after a hugely successful IPO. Etsy’s strong core values and B Corporation certification are a rare sighting on Wall Street, its presence a stark contrast to other companies, many of whom value profits over people. Becka Griffin, an illustrator based in Liverpool, runs a successful Etsy store, selling handcrafted prints, cards, wrapping paper and mugs, each brandishing her own original designs. Becka Griffin Illustration opened its Etsy doors in May 2011 and this year will celebrate its 6th Etsy birthday. “Etsy was my first attempt at online selling. I don’t think I would have been able to grow my business so quickly if it wasn’t for Etsy,” Griffin told us. Originally selling her work in local craft fairs, Griffin’s Etsy success has allowed her to turn her passion into her profession, and she is now self-employed full time; her artwork her sole source of income. “I love the immediacy of Etsy. Something which is an idea at breakfast time can become a product which is for sale by lunchtime, posted out by teatime and is in the new owner’s hands the following day.” Griffin runs monthly workshops to pass on her Etsy knowledge and expertise, to fledgling sellers, “I love interacting with other sellers face to face,” says Griffin, “I’ve made a number of really close friends through selling online.”
Etsy’s community of millions is what binds it together and what makes it truly unique; it is a company with community at its core, and it works hard to make Etsy accessible on a global scale, surpassing language barriers and myriad cultures. “There’s a functionality on Etsy to set up teams,” says Griffin. Currently the team captain for the Merseyside Etsy team, Griffin maintains a community of 591 Etsy sellers, all hailing from the local area. “It’s a space where we can work together and support one another; it’s really nice because it’s not a space for self-promotion – it’s a place of positivity where we can help one another and grow from each other.” This isn’t a one off – there are Etsy teams all around the world dedicated to helping their respective communities of makers and sellers. As a way of nurturing its global community and encouraging it to flourish, Etsy holds an annual European Captain’s Summit, which brings together the different team captains from across the continent,
for a weekend of workshops and talks. Taking place in a different city each time, Griffin attended the 2015 summit, which saw Amsterdam as its host city and was attended by Chad Dickerson, who held one of the weekend’s talks. In 2016 Griffin attended a special Etsy ‘fly-in’ to Brussels, where she, alongside her Etsy peers, met with policy makers in the European Government to share their views on VAT and microbusinesses. “Etsy makes it clear that it values the thoughts and opinions of its sellers,” says Griffin. “It really is a very inclusive community to be a part of,” she adds. We asked Casley if there were any particular markets that they wanted to target. “We do know that a high percentage of our sellers are women, so we are excited to bring more men into craft – but really we are just excited to be supporting creative independent businesses everywhere, and giving anyone with a craft skill the means to build their own business as either their main or supplemental income.”
Keeping it Real | 29
30 | Keeping it Real
Good Karma Abiding by its ‘drink no evil’ mantra, the Karma Cola Company transforms Sierra Leonean cola nuts into delicious and preservative-free soft-drinks, and gives the profits back to the villagers who harvest its ingredients. Lucy Chesters spoke with cofounder Simon Coley about everything from cultural exchange in Sierra Leone to motorbike loans, and becoming local legends. Karma – the Buddhist and Hindu principle that the sum of an individual’s actions has a direct effect on their future fate, and perfectly reflected in the age-old adage: ‘what goes around comes around’. This is also the mantra of the Karma Cola Company. Not normally a concept that is associated positively with global business, karma is the lifeblood and soul of the challenger soft drinks brand, which does good in the communities where it sources its produce. Founded in New Zealand in 2012 by Simon Coley and brothers Chris and Matthew Morrison, the Karma Cola Company is a Fairtrade, organic drinks company that benefits the lives and communities of its growers and farmers in Sierra Leone. Before starting the Karma Cola Company, the three founders shared a background in the drinks industry and had worked with Fairtrade imports. “We spent time importing Fairtrade bananas into New Zealand, which taught us a lot about supply chains, and how we could promote the benefits of the lives of the growers and the environment that they were growing in,” Coley says. With experience under their belts, and on a quest to discover an item less perishable than bananas,
they found themselves looking to West Africa – the home of the cola nut. The cola nut is the core ingredient in the world’s most popular soft drink; with over 1.9 billion cola drinks consumed each day around the world, that’s over a million a minute. However, although the demand for the cola nut is high, the communities who harvest the cola nut see no return on their yield, despite their crop being at the heart of one of the world’s most infamously enigmatic recipes. Realising that this needed to change, and discovering that there was no such thing as a Fairtrade cola nut, the three founders set out on their path to creating the Karma Cola Company, and its charity the Karma Cola Foundation, which is dedicated to helping the communities of Sierra Leone. “We spoke to Albert Tucker, who had experience of running pioneering Fairtrade companies and who subsequently became the chairman of the Karma Cola Foundation,” says Coley. “He introduced us to a group of villagers in Sierra Leone who lived amongst the rainforest where the cola grows – and they very generously sent us a pack of cola nuts.” Using the donated cola nuts, the trio went through around 60 recipe variations until they hit upon the authentic cola recipe that makes up their flagship soft drink. The next step was to send a batch of soft drinks to the Boma villagers, whose efforts had been instrumental in bringing Karma Cola to life. “I think that they were perplexed,” Coley tells me. “We’ve almost become a part of the local mythology now; I was there a couple of weeks ago, and the village storyteller was telling me about how they had sent away a packet of cola nuts and received these drinks in return – he went on to describe the benefits that the Foundation’s funding has had on their community.”
Good Karma | 31
The Karma Cola Foundation invests all the proceeds from the sale of Karma Cola, back into the Boma and Tiwai communities where the cola nut is grown. The designation of the Foundation’s funds is through a democratic process which asks the people of Sierra Leone what they need, and then turns their needs into a reality. “We think that trade is the best form of support for the communities,” says Coley. “Rather than handing things out, we think about things in terms of giving the people a hand up. “We have a simple rule around the funds that we can give back through the sale of our products – it needs to be spent on things that support the entire community and helps to create some form of future economic independence.”
Bridge – joining old and new Boma and ensuring the safe transportation of people and supplies. It’s helped with food security in the region by funding a rice hut, meaning that rice growers can save on labour by storing the rice that they harvest. The Foundation’s funds have set up a seed bank, which is a place to store and withdraw certain seeds, meaning the community can manage the seasonal fluctuation between seed availability. “I guess the impact on the community is our reliable relationship; it’s really important for us to have a mutually beneficial, respectful relationship that isn’t just charity,” Coley explains.
“We think that education is really important. The biggest challenge in a community like this is that it’s natural for young people “ ...these places grow to farm, or to marry a farmer. and change, and to Over the past 30 years, the There aren’t many other choices, West African country has create any kind of so it’s important for us to help been plagued by war, famine independence then broaden horizons. Not every and disease. The ten year war you need other types kid in this village can become a ripped through the communities of professions and farmer – these places grow and of Sierra Leone, tearing apart vocations; it’s all change, and to create any kind families and decimating vital down to education ” of independence then you need infrastructure in its wake. More other types of professions and recently, the country was devastated by the ebola vocations; it’s all down to education,” he says. crisis which claimed over 11,000 Sierra Leonean lives, and saw the country placed in a state of As well as creating Karma Cola from the Sierra quarantine, making the transportation of food and Leonean cola nut, more recently the Karma Cola basic supplies virtually impossible – resulting in a Company has added a couple more strings to its nationwide famine. bubbly beverage bow... “During the ebola crisis, a group of three young women asked us for a loan to purchase some motorbikes. They wanted to travel to the larger markets outside of their community, to bring back urgent goods that they could sell,” says Coley. “They became entrepreneurs; they started their transportation business which provided a muchneeded shop for their village, and they’re still going strong today. They’ve paid back their initial loan and now they’re running a self-sustaining business in its own right.” Since its inception in 2012, the Karma Cola Foundation has sent over 80 young women to school, and is currently researching how to continue this with bursaries for tertiary education. It paid for the construction of the Makenneh
32 | Good Karma
Lemony, the company’s organic Fairtrade lemonade uses lemons sourced in sunny Sicily, combined with cane sugar from the Suminter Organic Farmers Consortium in Maharashtra, India. And Gingerella, a feisty, flavoursome ginger ale, combines Fairtrade ginger found in the Sri Lankan rainforest, with Indian cane sugar and Sicilian lemons. As with all the Karma Cola Company’s soft drinks, trust and transparency are key. You’ll find no bleached sugars in its drinks, nor will you find any preservatives, phosphoric acid, high fructose corn syrup, caramel colouring or E numbers. With Karma Cola, what you see is what you get, and unlike other cola companies, the full list of ingredients is readily available online.
Photography by Simon Coley
The Karma Cola Company speaks to today’s conscious consumers who care about what’s in their drinks; where the ingredients come from; and about the manufacturing process involved. The company wears its ethical badge with pride – its slogan direct and honest: ‘drink no evil’. As Coley and his co-founders focus on the future of the company and where it can take them next; they are always drawn back to their roots in the villages where Karma Cola began.
“ There’s much more that we can learn from the people of Sierra Leone. Their sense of pride after so much hardship is a real lesson to me ”
“There’s much more that we can learn from the people of Sierra Leone. Their sense of pride after so much hardship is a real lesson to me,” Coley says. “A community who doesn’t have electricity, who will rise in the morning when the sun comes up and look after each other – and have, not simplistic, but simpler lives perhaps to us – but a very strong community spirit and caring relationships for each other. The world can learn a lot from them.”
Good Karma | 33
For Club and Community Since 1998, Everton in the Community members have been walking the ‘Blue Mile’ of terraced houses and giving back to the neighbourhood that gave them their name. Today, Everton in the Community’s awardwinning hub stands just as proudly as the club’s stadium, working towards goals like widening employment opportunities and improving youth health. Andrew Beattie caught up with those who are making a real difference both on the pitch and off. You know you’re near Goodison Park, home of Premier League side Everton Football Club (EFC), long before the top of the stand peeks its head above the rooves of terraced houses which surround it. The ‘Blue Mile’, as the club has christened the mile in any direction around the ground, is awash with EFC related insignia – from flags on the side of main roads, to pieces of street art and royal blue embellishments. But this paraphernalia doesn’t simply signpost the 40,000 plus fans who come to cheer their beloved team on match days; a team that has played more top flight games than any other in England. The Blue Mile signifies the immediate community surrounding the stadium, which EFC – the club’s business which turns over £120+ million per year – and its charity Everton in the Community (EitC), consider to be more than just neighbours – they’re friends, and in increasing numbers, colleagues.
For Club and Community | 35
Goodison Park is in one of the oldest districts of Liverpool; an area which has had its fair share of hardships over the past few decades – falling into the most deprived ten percent of neighbourhoods in the UK in recent times. Child poverty levels in Everton are also high, with over half of the children living below the breadline. Except for nearby Stanley Park, the mile around the ground is densely packed with terraced housing – almost 10,000 properties sit within this mile. EitC was launched in 1998, to help tackle many of the issues that its immediate neighbours faced – and those faced by people across Merseyside. Today, EitC employs 120 full-time staff, 72 casual staff and 200 volunteers, who operate 62 annual programmes from its base, just a three-minute walk from Goodison Park. The purpose-built community hub stands on the same site as a community green space, and the Everton Free School – a sixth form college for 14-16 year olds who struggle in mainstream education. In 2015, EitC engaged with over 20,000 people across the 62 programmes, tackling a broad range of issues from children’s health and wellbeing, to employment training for people in the later stages of their careers. EFC considers EitC as one of the four pillars of the business – the football club, its youth team academy and free school make up the others – and each of these four pillars are intertwined, making it hard to unpick the business of running a Premier League football club from the charity work that is undertaken by EitC. Currently, 75% of the apprentices trained at the community hub go on to work at the club in some capacity; from helping manage the club’s website and media operations, to day-to-day business admin. Since 2010, EitC has won over 80 awards, including: ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ and the ‘Best Community Scheme in Europe’, at the Stadium Business Awards. The EitC campus includes the community hub, or the ‘People's Hub’ as it has been named in true Everton fashion (there is a pub around the corner nicknamed, ‘the People's Pub’ and to its fans, EFC is known as ‘the People’s Club’). The Everton Free School and adjoining green space, represent a
36 | For Club and Community
£6million investment from the football club itself, plus additional funding by the club’s partners and sponsors. It also means that if the club decides to relocate Goodison Park – which under its new owners increasingly seems like an inevitability – its community work will always be rooted on its home turf. EFC director and EitC’s executive chair, Denise Barrett-Baxendale, says: “It’s important to us that we continue to build on the work of Everton in the Community and remain embedded in our community. While it’s much deeper than bricks and mortar, these buildings are a physical demonstration of how we are broadening our work in L4. This area has been our home for well over a century and while our stadium may take us elsewhere in the future, a piece of Everton will always remain through our commitment to working with this community.” Today, Barrett-Baxendale heads up EitC and sits alongside a restructured board of directors, following investment by its majority shareholder, and former Arsenal Football Club shareholder, Farhad Moshiri. In 2014, Barrett-Baxendale was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to the community of Merseyside, through her work with EitC. Last year, the club’s under 23 team manager – former player David Unsworth – and his players made a proposal which would offer much needed help to the local community, named ‘Home is where the heart is’. Following Unsworth’s pitch, EFC purchased a house which sits next to the stadium – 41 Goodison Road – to be used as a shelter providing supported living for 16-24-yearold men who are at risk of becoming homeless. Unsworth and his team have committed to help raise £231,000 to help fund this space through several activities – including the squad sleeping on the streets of Liverpool for the night. Unsworth says: “Modern-day footballers are in an incredibly privileged position and are supported by their club with everything, including dietary and fitness support and psychological matters.
Photography by Amina Bihi
“‘Home is where the heart is’ will see us offer that same level of support to the most needy across Liverpool and draw upon all areas of expertise within Everton in the Community, to ensure that young people accessing the facility will be given tangible life skills to set them on the right path in life.” In 2015, EFC employed Sarah Atherton as its neighbourhood manager, the first Premier League club to employ someone in this capacity. The role, which started off by knocking on the doors of residents and shop owners to say ‘hello’, has grown in importance to both the club and its surrounding residents. The role means that EitC and residents within the Blue Mile have someone to call on at the club, if they need to; they receive quarterly newsletters and updates about match days at Goodison Park; and a Christmas card is sent to every one of them each year. “We have several new focuses that will impact on the Blue Mile in various ways,” Atherton says, when asked of her hopes for the coming year. “From continuing our Youth Zone for younger people; to starting knit and natter social groups; to launching health groups such as ‘blue walks’ for residents. The reason behind these groups is to target all age ranges and interests within our neighbourhood. Capturing all interests and impacting increasing health, wellbeing, education, employment and welfare statistics in the area.” It’s likely that in 2017, EFC will announce that it is leaving Goodison Park to move to a new home in the city. In instances across the country where a football club leaves a place, the community goes on to face significant challenges; the loss of a regular influx of football fans who eat, drink and spend in the local economy leaves its mark and communities suffer as the money and subsequent investment leaves. But in this case it’s different; the Blue Mile around Goodison Park will become the Blue Mile around the community hub and free school – the place where EFC’s work in the community happens. Will the blue flags remain? Probably not. But the Everton crest will still be worn proudly here, on the front of football shirts belonging to kids playing in the street, as well as the 320 plus EitC staff and volunteers in the place that gave the club its name.
For Club and Community | 37
High Impact Moves For growing social enterprise, HCT Group, transport isn’t simply about moving people from A to B – it’s an opportunity to solve problems, invest in communities and make a difference. Robin Brown talks to a company thinking about financial and social returns.
The Big Society may not have made it much beyond a Conservative Party focus group as a concept, but David Cameron’s vision of a Britain stronger through community action, intervention and support thrived regardless. For HCT Group there’s also the expression of the stakeholder nirvana Tony Blair promised to lead us to: a social enterprise that uses profits raised from local transport and ploughs them back into community transport and training. Established in 1982 as Hackney Community Transport, HCT Group – as it is now – has grown from a handful of volunteers and a couple of minibuses with a turnover of £200,000 in 1993, to a large scale social enterprise with 1,000 employees, ten depots spread across London, Yorkshire, the south west and the Channel Islands, a fleet of over 500 vehicles and a 2015/16 turnover of £44M.
38 | High Impact Moves
The social enterprise employs a variety of forward- HCT Group has acquired a wealth of knowledge in the public transport sector, running bus routes in thinking, collaborative and holistic methods in places as far-flung as Jersey, Guernsey, Yorkshire, tackling various social and environmental ills through transport and mobility solutions. That Bristol and London. It’s led to Vickers advising on might mean using profits from private-sector the Buses Services Bill currently in Parliament. If implemented it may lead to closer working transport contracts to help vulnerable people get relationships between service providers and from A to B by laying on personalised services, local authorities; introduce new training them to use public transport and allowing users to “ We’re running franchising powers with decision making at a local level and more design bus routes. public transport services as a means passenger input. Under Dai Powell – CEO since of reinvesting profits “We think franchising, which 1993 but formerly a bus washer into community gives local authorities much within the group in the ’80s – it transport ” has grown into a sprawling social more influence over routes, enterprise incorporating a number of legal forms timetables, rural services, prices and more, is and regional operations. But what may at first the way to go. HCT’s view is that franchising is a very good thing because local authorities and appear a complicated structure is actually very councils are closest to their users, understand their straightforward, says HCT’s Tracey Vickers. needs and are answerable to them, whereas most “We’re running public transport services as a mainstream providers are answerable only to their means of reinvesting profits into community shareholders. transport. They’re the big red shiny London buses. “We are large in the social enterprise world but We also run the mainstream and school routes in we’re medium-sized in terms of transport. I don’t Jersey and Guernsey, school routes in Leeds, and special educational needs (SEN) services in Bristol. think other transport companies really know We take the profits from these to subsidise our not- what box to put us in. We’re winning Transport for for-profit services.” London tenders for large London routes so I think they’re unsure if we’re a threat or not.” Vickers describes her role as ‘evolving’ but she’s As a result of its portfolio of transport contracts, officially Head of Social Impact and Head of the HCT raises healthy profits from a number of CEO’s Office. It’s a wide-ranging brief that takes in strategy, governance and the group’s social impact regional bus franchises or mainstream and and Social Enterprise Champions programmes. school bus services and, contrary to received wisdom about social enterprises, is not Recruited from management consultancy dependent on grants or subsidies from local McKinsey, she admits that working within a group or national government. like HCT brings new challenges. “The challenges are probably more around different cultures and the different approaches rather than necessarily in terms of values. I am working for a visionary with lots of amazing ideas and he needs some help to wrestle them under control. Once you’re on board with the values that doesn’t change the how or what, but it’s the why that’s made greater. “Often this amazing idea is very clear in the CEO’s head but part of my job is getting that from the CEO’s head to a detailed plan that can be presented to the board and turning it into a workable idea.”
“There are also a lot of myths about social enterprises in terms of being regarded as charities who shouldn’t be allowed to win tenders. There’s this idea that we get tax breaks and it’s not a level playing-field but that’s not the case. I don’t think the other private transport providers know what to make of us. “We don’t think of the private sector as baddies – there are some things they do really well such as recruitment or stakeholder engagement that we can learn from. However, there’s this sense that only they can do it because they’re the private sector – and that’s a fallacy.
High Impact Moves | 39
“Shareholders don’t drive our decisions. What drives our decision – which makes things harder and easier in a way – is if we want to have impact we need to be profitable so that might require us to invest internally. Private sector companies don’t have these debates so there’s a two-fold approach of combining impact with being a robust organisation. We always have to ask ourselves: ‘is this the right thing to do?’” HCT’s journey has hardly been orthodox, being primarily guided by the company’s values and commercial imperatives. As funding sources dried up in the early ’90s, what had previously been known as Hackney Community Transport transitioned into a social enterprise. Today over 98% of the group’s revenues come from commercial contracts. Vickers suggests there are lessons for all sectors in looking at their income streams and sees opportunities for charities and social enterprises in learning to trade. “I think what is evident is that as grants are decreasing, people and companies are going to have to find new income streams. So, if you draw a line from that, the chances are you’re going to have to trade. Learning to trade was a big part of the HCT journey, taking us from being a typical charity to being a social enterprise. I wouldn’t be surprised if social enterprises have different legal forms so they can tap into different income streams.” Vickers says that as one of the largest social enterprises in the country, others seek out HCT Group’s expertise in the transport sector and as an organisation with social and financial imperatives. “We’re open to sharing how we got to where we are today. There are organisations set up to help social enterprises with impact. But it’s much harder on scaling. People often want to know how we got from being anarchists with buses in the ’70s, to running red buses in London – and lots on becoming a more commercial player. “There’s always a tension. You want to be liberal and creative. But as you scale you need the processes, the efficiency and good internal systems so you can look after your employees.
40 | High Impact Moves
“You can’t be a good social enterprise with impact if you’re a terrible employer. “It’s still a nascent industry. We haven’t been a social enterprise for very long. The nature of the business and economy is that it’s tricky learning to navigate away from something like grant-funding to something else. Some have managed the transition and some haven’t. But it’s the same for the private sector. Any income stream can dry up. What works for us won’t necessarily work for other people.” As a social enterprise HCT Group is always examining the financial case for bidding for new contracts and pushing into new areas. But the financial imperative is always balanced by the need to deliver impact. “When we’re looking at where to put our resources we make a business plan. We look at whether we’re fostering dependence or making a difference. We consider traditional financial returns but also the social returns. We ask ourselves whether it’s viable but right at the centre we consider impact. Sometimes it will be indirect. A cash generator might mean we can have impact somewhere else. But the question always comes back to impact.” Vickers cites HCT’s Travel Training programme that teaches children or young adults with special educational needs how to use public transport as an example of the group’s touchstone. “What normally happens is, children with SEN are sent to school in a taxi, and that fosters dependence. We take them out of the taxi and show them one-on-one how to get public transport and it makes such a difference in areas beyond simply getting to school. It’s giving kids independence and allowing them to be teenagers. So now they have the life skills that allow them to go to college or work. There’s more to it than just getting them out of a taxi, provision for which only goes up to a certain age anyway. “If you commission for the taxi that’s what you get. If you commission for a bus you will get a bus,” says Vickers. “But if you commission for a solution to get someone from A to B you will get a solution which brings with it innovation. It’s easy to get siloed into what solutions can be,” she adds.
(Below) Photography by Jonathan Cole
“ If you commission for a solution to get someone from A to B you will get a solution which brings with it innovation ” “Today I walked to work but tomorrow I might get a bus or a tube.” Another eye-catching programme is the 812 bus service HCT Group runs in London, a need that was identified when it became clear that mainstream bus routes can be difficult to access for those with limited physical mobility. “The 812 bus is unique because the users designed the route. It’s a smaller bus designed to go along roads red buses can’t go along. We’ve addressed the local need and it’s designed by the service users. So we know we need to go down Acacia Road because we’ve got to pick up Beryl on a Tuesday. Ideas can come from the top but they can equally come from the service users themselves. The failure of a unified public transport strategy in the UK may reflect poorly on successive
governments, but it has created a space for social enterprises such as HCT to innovate, disrupt and demonstrate how a more holistic approach can have multiple impacts.” The Bus Services Bill and HCT’s continued success suggests that the ‘privatise first; ask questions later’ orthodoxy in transport is being reexamined in favour of seeing public transport as an opportunity to address social and environmental needs, rather than simply moving people from one destination to another. “HCT would say, idealistically, there shouldn’t be a gap between private and public, because if services are designed intelligently it shouldn’t fall to charities to plug the gap for people who can’t get to their nearest bus stop,” says Vickers. “If you commission for a solution there shouldn’t be a gap,” she says, “Social enterprises fulfil a need but it’s more about people helping themselves. We do this because of societal need.”
High Impact Moves | 41
With kind support from...
Go Green Leasing
With the uptake of electric and hybrid vehicles on the rise, today’s carbon conscious consumer is much more aware of the impact their action's are having on our planet. At Go Green Leasing it is our mission to reduce both ours and our customer’s carbon tyre track, whilst keeping them from burning a hole in their wallet.
As we’re always striving to be carbon neutral, our fleet includes a range of low C02 emission and hybrid vehicles suitable for any journey or business. We know that many of our clients are increasingly environmentally conscious, and we want to reward them by offering great deals and ensuring they have viable financing options. Go Green leases some of the most eco-friendly cars on the road, like the Nissan Micra Hatchback and the Smart Fortwo Coupe. To minimise our own ecological impact, we’ve sprouted several green initiatives. We donate 1% of our turnover to an environmental education scheme, teaching the next generation about safeguarding and preserving our natural resources. We also promise, whenever possible, to utilise renewable energy alternatives and to recycle any company waste. Wherever you’re going, our experienced car specialists can help you find the best and greenest deal. As you can tell, we’re passionate about doing our bit to make the roads a little greener!
A Double Helping Wise Greece is the ethical business with a double mission. Sure, they want to promote that healthy Mediterranean lifestyle that we all aspire to achieve. But, they also want to ensure that those living in poverty are getting enough nutritious food to eat. Patrick Hurley spoke to founder Melina Taprantzi, and chewed over what it’s like doing big business in Greece’s humble social enterprise scene.
Eight years after the Greek economy started showing signs of trouble in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 global crash, the headline writers have moved on to other countries; the magazines with breathless profiles of flamboyant political saviours have new subjects. The European Union has more pressing concerns too, with the UK’s current self-immolation and soon come high-stakes contests in France, Netherlands, and Germany. But beneath the surface, the long-term effects of the country’s government debt crisis have not gone away. Three million people in Greece live below the country’s poverty line, which is itself vastly below similar figures in the UK. Half a million people a day use charity-provided soup kitchens, and almost half of all Greek children go without food during the school day. It’s safe to say that the impact of the largest peacetime recession in Greek history will take many more years to recover from. With every crisis comes an opportunity, however.
And into the gap left by a withdrawal of state support has stepped a plethora of independents and social enterprises desperate to provide an alternative to poverty for the victims of the ongoing economic turmoil. We caught up over Christmas with Melina Taprantzi, the brains behind one such business, Wise Greece, to discuss how it’s making a positive difference to people’s lives during a maelstrom of insecurity. A small-scale business with global ambitions, Wise Greece promotes top quality Greek produce – mostly food, but some luxuries too – internally and around the world, making sure that it helps the small farmers and producers within Greece to grow and export their products. But at the same time, any excess profits from its sales go towards buying food for the homeless, the elderly and children in need. Taprantzi explains: “There is a double mission to Wise Greece; on the one hand, we help the small Greek farmers to be sustainable and offer more
A Double Helping | 43
“The economies of scale inherent in bulk buying seem to be a more efficient way of fulfilling a social mission than donating cash and hoping for the best” jobs to other people, while at the same time we manage to provide healthy meals to people who live under the poverty line.” Poverty expresses itself in many ways – from a lack of food, to poor housing, to ill health. So, in a country where so many live in poverty, why has Taprantzi chosen to provide meals to the poor rather than look to donate money from her profits instead? “Wise Greece never donates money,” she tells us. “We co-operate with a hundred producers to cover buying food in bulk to donate to the charitable institutions. We want to promote the healthy Greek diet.” The growth in the food production industry and the economies of scale inherent in bulk buying seem to be a more efficient way of fulfilling a social mission than donating cash and hoping for the best.
44 | A Double Helping
It’s not just a social mission that Wise Greece looks to implement, however. Like any business, it lives or dies by its balance sheet. And so, to maintain a healthy revenue stream, they rely on wholesaling what Taprantzi proudly calls, “Greece’s exceptional olive oil, honey, wine, sauces, spreads and jams”. Once she gets started on the quality of their produce, it’s difficult to stop her – her passion for good food shines through. “Wise Greece promotes all the exceptional products that Greece has to offer. Among them you can find food, but also natural cosmetics, handmade soaps, designer items and unique souvenirs. What makes us really proud is that many Greek products have won prestigious awards such as the Great Taste Award, and it proves their quality. Greek and Mediterranean cuisine in general are famous all over the world. Anyone who visits Greece remembers our great food.” Colour us impressed. But it’s not just within Greece that Taprantzi sells her products. Unusually for many social enterprises, she has secured
exporting arrangements with many retailers across Europe and further afield. She is bullish about the prospects for further expansion: “In the last three years, Wise Greece has managed to gather 1,000 products from 100 producers, exported them to eight countries, offered four tonnes of food to people in need, and won prestigious awards too. With every Wise Greece product that you buy, you help us provide more meals for people in need.” There appears to be no slowing down or trailing off, of Taprantzi’s ambitions. And having won the Greek ‘Startup Award’ in 2016, and been presented with the ‘Models of Excellence’ award by the President of the Greek Republic, why should there be? It’s also warming to see her commitment not just to good business but to the ethical values that underpin her work: “The most important thing is that we receive very warm comments by the consumers about our products and social mission, by the charities that we help with donations, and the producers that see their products available in shops in Greece and overseas for the first time.”
It’s just as well that Taprantzi is so upbeat. In the four years since she first started working to create Wise Greece, economic conditions in her country have worsened, and are now accompanied by a sense of wearied resignation rather than the impassioned pre-revolutionary fervour of 2010. The relatively new government led by Alexis Tsipras, however, has proven itself to be not much friendlier to social enterprise than previous governments. A 2011 law recognised social enterprise as a legal concept in Greece for the first time, but the definition was drawn so tightly that it excludes the vast majority of organisations that might self-define as working in the wider ethical entrepreneurship sector. Speaking in 2015, Dr Ioannis Nasioulas of the country’s Social Economy Institute complained how state action and legislation negatively impacted on the growth of the social economy, with the impact that such organisations can have, not being recognised by those in the corridors of power. It’s certainly the case that the law has
A Double Helping | 45
“ Society must be like a functional team, all citizens contribute, receive and work under a general concept of solidarity ” not led to the expected growth rates in the social and ethical business sector. A 2014 EU report estimated that there were fewer than 700 such businesses in the country, with many of them non-operational. In contrast, the UK government estimated in 2012 that they had 70,000 comparable businesses currently trading. The difference is stark, especially given the extent of demand for services in Greece. It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Taprantzi, for one, has no plans to follow the 200,000 plus people who have left the country in the last seven years. Instead, she’s seeing opportunities where others see problems: “In the beginning, it was really hard to find producers to work with us, since nobody trusted a start-up social enterprise, since this model is really new in Greece. However, due to the economic crisis, many young and openminded people left their jobs to become producers themselves, and they were the first ones to trust us.” Indeed, optimism is shot through all that Wise Greece does. After all, there aren’t many businesses that would actively welcome a reduction in demand for what they do. “We would be happy if Greece doesn’t need Wise Greece in the future,” Taprantzi exclaims, “but there are a lot of things that still need to be done – the ongoing crisis in our country, the refugee crisis, the lack of basic food supplies.” She continues: “Working and serving an important social cause at the same time is really inspiring. You must always keep in mind that what makes you different is that the social mission must always be at the very core of your business.” The continuing belief that good work can be done even in the most trying of circumstances is inspiring. And the way in which Taprantzi nonchalantly accepts the man-made problems of economic depression but still has faith in the power of people to overcome is heartening on so many levels. She’s not working alone, though, and this
46 | A Double Helping
may help to explain how she keeps going amidst the turmoil. Wise Greece has four employees, all working and earning a wage doing good work in the wider Athens region, and with 50 occasional volunteers, the company is finding a ready-made community willing to help out, and see them succeed. The city’s social enterprise scene is small, but very supportive of what Taprantzi is doing. Boroume, for instance, redistributes leftover food from restaurants to charities, and the Myrtillo Café provides not just employment and training to vulnerable young people in the city, but also a place for the main players in the region’s new ethical economy to meet and plan. Taprantzi is stoic about the slow growth of the country’s social enterprise scene, however, seeing instead positives in the relationships being developed between producers, partners, customers and the recipients of aid: “Be patient, persistent, keep focused, prepare to be able to overcome the obstacles and be strong enough to endure. Society must be like a functional team, all citizens contribute, receive and work under a general concept of solidarity.” As for the future? “We are currently working on expanding our network in new countries, but also trying to build strong co-operations with people and companies that share the same values and vision as us.” We can only wish them the best luck in the world, but the final word must be on the real mission of Melina Taprantzi and Wise Greece: “It is important for us to be able to offer help to even more people in 2017. Our goal is to triple the amount of food that we donate, to help even more people, and to children, families, the homeless and refugees across Greece.”
Photography courtesy of Wise Greece
With kind support from...
Liverpool, UK www.wordscape.org.uk
We work with amazing businesses. Businesses that really care about what they do, and make a massive difference to the lives of the people around them. When I started out as a business journalist, 20 years ago, I was always frustrated by two things. Firstly, people’s perception of business was pretty negative. It was aggressive and detached from our everyday lives. It wasn’t about the brands we believe in, the places we go to or the services and shops where we spend our money; it certainly didn’t inspire or teach us anything. It was a whole different sector. With a dull – or, occasionally, dubious – reputation. Today, we work with socially responsible businesses; sharing their stories, ideas and ideals: in books, films, online and off. On campaigns and events. And we’re privileged to meet some amazing people and brilliant businesses. Some of them have used their success to give something back. Some started with the sole intention of improving things for others. And some have married their passion with ideas of sustainability, responsibility and community. In the aftermath of the financial crash came the need to support the people around us more than ever. We’ve embraced values like localism, handmade and sustainability. We cherish the communities we live in, and understand how important they are to our collective wellbeing; they are the businesses we want to hear about. Whose stories we cherish. Philip Pullman says that, ‘after nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.’ They capture our imagination and inspire and galvanise us to act. We work with organisations to create something worth believing in... something authentic and well-crafted, that gets to the crux of what you do. Our job is to probe the thought processes and purpose behind your work. We put ourselves in the shoes of your customers because it’s hard, when you work on something day in, day out, to recognise what people need to know. We help you pull out the most salient and useful information – and shape it into a strong story: something that people remember. Come and tell us your story. Fiona Shaw is a director at Wordscapes
Started by a team of physicists and meteorologists in 2010, Ignitia is the tropical weather forecasting service changing the long-term outlook for farmers in West Africa. Ignitia’s project manager Lizzie Merrill gives Grace Dodd her forecast for the company’s future, and the farmers most affected kindly shared their stories with us... Ignitia’s inception came back in 2010, when scientists and meteorologists recognised that there was an immediate and urgent need for a reliable, accurate and accessible weather forecasting service, aimed primarily at farmers in tropical climates. After much research, Ignitia was born; and the farmers using it, haven’t looked back since. Interestingly, because literacy rates are low in rural areas, Ignitia is marketed under a different name in each country. Merrill explains: “in Ghana, we advertise as Iska. This means wind in Hausa. In Mali, we market our product as Sandji, which means rain in Bambara; people are able to easily make the connection that our product is weather related.” Whichever name it is known as locally, the model remains consistent across the continent. Sensing and predicting weather changes in the atmosphere; the model focuses on convective
48 | Igniting a Weather Revolution
processes, particularly length scales of 1-9 km (commonly known as the grey scales) – a spatial scale long referred to as ‘physics’ of no man’s land’. Through GPS, farmers receive a specifically tailored weather report, including a two-day, monthly, and six month forecast by text. No internet access is required, which means that even the most remote farmers can make informed agricultural decisions. Founded by climate researcher Liisa Petrykowksa, who is now the company’s CEO, Ignitia is rooted in science. “Liisa realised that there was an incredible amount of detailed satellite data around the equator but no reliable forecasts,” says Merrill. “She gathered a team of scientists, from institutions including NASA, and relocated to Ghana to begin developing algorithms to simulate tropical weather patterns. “Ignitia began as a research project to understand the differences in tropical weather events and create a model to more accurately predict them.” The team spent three years developing the technology, trialling a beta version in 2013. Launched in partnership with MTN Ghana in 2014, the operation reached its two year milestone in 2016. A finalist for MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy, the organisation has been acclaimed by both Impact Hub and the UNDP as winner of the Accelerate 2030 challenge.
“ Predicting West African weather patterns requires much more precision than preparing citydwellers for the drizzly day ahead ” The team is also making international waves in terms of gender diversity. Ignitia and six new member companies of Business Call to Action are owned by women. Merrill views the company’s inclusivity as part of an organic shift, “women are often underrepresented in most professions that are not deemed feminine, and STEM is no exception,” says Merrill.
Farmers subscribe to receive forecasts: daily, monthly, and seasonally.
“Women, especially, are not seen as trailblazers in emerging markets or the startup world. But I don’t think gender was ever the focus for Liisa. She is a scientist who came across a problem that needed a solution and set out to solve it – which she did – successfully.” It was a difficult problem to solve. Predicting West African weather patterns requires much more precision than preparing city-dwellers for the drizzly day ahead. “Unlike other regions, convection forces in the tropics can appear much quicker, and without seemingly any notice to the untrained eye,” says Merrill. “So having a model that is calibrated to a higher degree of geographical specificity, means that we can make predictions twice as accurately as global models. For example, the BBC has an accuracy of about 39% in the tropics. Ignitia is around 84% accurate.” Ignitia is able to reach its customers quickly, relatively cheaply, and without having a damaging impact on the landscape; their high-resolution forecast model runs on its own supercomputer cluster underground in Stockholm. “Ground monitoring stations in sub-Saharan Africa are sparse, and often in states of disrepair,” explains Merrill. “By relying on satellites and remote data we are able to both predict weather without the need to build or invest in expensive infrastructure, and are able to expand our weather predictions to new areas and markets more quickly than other services.”
Ignitia’s weather model develops a localised forecast based on GPS
Forecasts are delivered via SMS. No smartphone or app required.
Farmers decide when it’s best to plant, fertilise and harvest their crops.
Igniting a Weather Revolution | 49
“ What we’ve created is a tool that can be used to mitigate the effects of global warming, for an area that is experiencing change more rapidly than other parts of the world ” In 2013, torrential rains caused flash floods in Mali’s capital Bamako. During the same year, temperatures reached 43°C in Navrongo; the hottest temperature ever measured in Ghana. “The most immediate benefit is better on-theground decision making at all parts of the farming process,” claims Merrill. “Fertiliser and pesticide can be the most expensive inputs, and are washed away by heavy rain if applied at the wrong time. Even for harvest, crops such as cotton and cocoa must dry before storage. Unexpected rain can reduce yields and quality. “We’ve had farmers delay renting equipment and hiring labour due to the prediction of rain, saving them money and allowing them to reschedule. Farmers have purchased drought-resistant seeds, a huge expense and investment, due to forecasts of a drier season than normal.” Unlike other weather broadcasters, Ignitia is building up a rapport with its loyal customer base. “Farmers are often stereotyped as unintelligent, and that just isn’t true,” Merrill asserts. “What farmers need are reliable tools and access to quality technology like in other parts of the world; and that’s lacking in the tropics. With our technology, farmers are able to receive reliable, GPS-specific, tropical forecasts and they know what to do with that information. Using our service season after season has the potential to increase yields and incomes – and that’s exactly what we’re seeing.” Emmanuel farms cashew, groundnut, and yams in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana. He talks about life before subscribing to Ignitia. “I had a groundnut farm of about 2.5 acres and ended up not being able to harvest anything because I didn’t know when it would rain. I planted too early and it spoiled everything. I used to listen to the radio and TV, but,
50 | Igniting a Weather Revolution
after subscribing to ISKA, I stopped because these forecasts are much more accurate,” he says. Enoch, a farmer from Suhum, had a similar experience; “I didn’t get weather reports before ISKA. I am a vegetable farmer, and had no source of irrigation, so it was difficult because you did not know when it would rain.” It is clear that the reports offer immediate benefits for both men. “I’ve been receiving the forecasts for two years now,” Enoch tells me. “I know when to apply fertiliser without wasting any of it, and it’s all because of the predictions.” Emmanuel’s farm has seen its production transformed: “This season I was able to harvest about five bags; I’ve never harvested that much before. Since I started using ISKA my farming results have gotten better. I tell all of my friends to subscribe!” The implications are far-reaching. According to ONE international, by 2040 average global temperatures will have increased by between 1.5°C to 2°C. This half a degree would cause aridity so intense, that African farmers could lose between 40 and 80% of their croplands used to grow maize, millet and sorghum. Merrill sees great potential for Ignitia: “What we’ve created is a tool that can be used to mitigate the effects of global warming, for an area that is experiencing change more rapidly than other parts of the world. We plan to continue working within the agriculture industry, but are open to other industries and supply chains that can be affected by erratic weather.” Ignitia’s next mission involves using artificial intelligence for West African storm tracking. The storm tracker would run through records of 14 years of individual thunderstorms in the region. Part of the input data would come from
unconventional sources such as mobile tower signals for rainfall detection; a ‘nowcasting’ system based on lightning strikes and model output fields. As Ignitia’s eye is always trained on the horizon, its loyal farmers are looking forward to other useful services. Emmanuel thinks that further pest and disease control information would be very useful for farmers. And Enoch would like to see a “system that gives fixed prices for vegetables across the country that would prevent markets from cheating farmers when they go to the village to buy crops; or alternatively, a system that would provide locations where farm products can be sold at a fixed price.” Through cool and collective problem-solving, these West African farms are flourishing and the farmers who tend them can hope for a greener future.
Photography of Samuel (top), Emmanuel (middle) and Enoch (bottom) courtesy of Ignitia
Igniting a Weather Revolution | 51
With kind support from...
Liverpool, UK www.appreciatingpeople.co.uk
A new strategic planning tool has come to the fore. Known as SOAR™ – standing for strengths, opportunities, aspirations and results or resources – it was created by Jackie Stavros and Gina Hinrichs in 2009. It is appreciative inquiry’s* contribution to strategic planning – a positive alternative to a more traditional SWOT analysis, and links strengths and aspirations in a single process. *Appreciative inquiry is a process for engaging people in building the kinds of organisations and a world they want to live in. Working from peoples’ strengths and positive experiences, AI co-creates a future based on collaboration and open dialogue. David Cooperrider: founder of Appreciative Inquiry Traditionally, organisational and management development has used SWOT as part of its business and strategic planning process. It’s been standard for years now, and can sometimes be useful. But it fails to encourage staff creativity; weaknesses can easily take over, and it divides internal and external categories too stringently. SOAR™ encourages an innovative approach to planning that encompasses the whole organisation. The categories can be considered from both an internal and external perspective, and focusing on the strengths of individuals or companies – and aspiring to new opportunities – can be more powerful and effective than dwelling on deficiencies. It helps planning and generates enthusiasm. Weaknesses and threats aren’t ignored – they’re reframed and given the appropriate focus within the opportunities and results conversations. Our clients around the world use SOAR™ to make real differences in their businesses and communities. To get a feel for SOAR™, try this activity:
Help your organisation soar Divide your paper into quadrants, heading each with S, O, A, R respectively – ‘R’ denotes either resources or results, depending on your context. You don’t have to go through each stage chronologically – sometimes it’s helpful to go to aspirations before opportunities – this can reveal more opportunities. Our questions are just for guidance – feel free to add or delete where necessary.
1. What are the existing strengths in the company and your team?
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
2. What skills, knowledge and expertise of staff, clients and stakeholders can be drawn on? 3. What does the company / team do well? 4. What are your major achievements?
What are the existing opportunities? What are the internal opportunities? What are the external opportunities? What are the unexpected opportunities? In what ways can clients and stakeholders help identify more opportunities?
Results and/or resources
1. What is your passion and motivation for the work you do?
1. What are the resources needed to move forward?
2. How will you know it’s successful? 3. What successes or changes might you see in the organisation in 12 months’ time?
2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
4. What new ways of working / services being provided might you see in the organisation in 12 months?
What are the first steps and smallest actions? How will you know you have got there? What will success look like? How will the staff know the results? How will the clients notice any results?
Tim Slack is a director at Appreciating People, a Liverpool-based organisation that provides practical ideas to support company growth and staff development. They’re experts in using strength-based approaches to organisational development, particularly in the use of the appreciative inquiry philosophy.
Spirit Animals Capturing the spirit of Africa with every bottle, Elephant Gin is a distillery with a difference. By donating proceeds to two African elephant sanctuaries, the company supports the fight against illegal ivory poaching, which still prevails across the continent. Jennifer Howden spoke to Elephant Gin founder Tessa Gerlach... The largest living land mammal on the planet, the elephant can reach 6,000kg in weight and 6.5 meters in length; however its intimidating size does not match the calm and loving creatures within. These gentle giants are emotionally intelligent, social creatures with evidence pointing to strong family bonds. With a lifespan of up to 70 years, elephants spend their lives with family members and grieve the dead. With all of this in mind, it is very hard to hear that these beautiful animals are under attack by illegal ivory poachers, who kill the elephants for their tusks. The demand for ivory has increased dramatically in recent years, with over 95% of African elephants killed during the last decade alone. The statistics are shocking; as it stands, one elephant is killed every 15 minutes. The majority of the world’s ivory trade takes place in China, where the material is considered a precious metal and is utilised in ornaments and some medicines. Despite a worldwide ban having been implemented in 1989, the ivory trade is as deadly as ever. But
Photography courtesy of Elephant Gin
54 | Spirit Animals
there’s a company that is standing up for these magnificent creatures: Elephant Gin. Heading up the fight against illegal ivory poaching is Elephant Gin, the award-winning handcrafted London dry gin, which donates its profits to two African elephant conservation charities: Big Life Foundation and Space for Elephants. The team behind Elephant Gin strongly believes that this generation has a responsibility to support the African elephant, so that they will be around for many years to come, and can be appreciated by future generations. “More has to be done to raise awareness of the plight of this endangered species, which without our support and at the continued rate of poaching, will be extinct in 12 years,” says Tessa Gerlach, founder of Elephant Gin. Inspired by the beauty and spirit of the African continent, Robin and Tessa Gerlach, alongside their friend Henry Palmer, created Elephant Gin, “with a vision to conserve the wildlife that we feel so passionately about,” says Gerlach. During their time exploring the African continent, the Gerlachs were heavily involved with foundations in South Africa which shared their vision; to protect the African Elephant against illegal poaching. Taking its inspiration from the traditional sundowner experience – a drink usually enjoyed after a day out in the African bush – Elephant Gin is a love letter to the continent – its product passionately rooted in the place where it was born. “Everything from sourcing the botanicals;
“ Elephant Gin is a love letter to the continent – its product passionately rooted in the place where it was born ”
“ It is very important for us to never provide funding to a big corporation, where the money just disappears into a big black hole ” determining the shape of the bottle; naming the company, and planning the production processes, reflects our passion for the beautiful continent,” says Gerlach. “Since the very beginning, Elephant Gin has been identifying suitable projects to benefit Africa’s elephants and their ecosystems in Kenya and South Africa,” says Gerlach. “Instead of contributions ending up scattered in various projects, we have concentrated on applying the funds to specific programmes that we believe in, are passionate about and meet certain criteria of traceability, leadership and people involved. “For us to invest in and support a conservation project, it needs to be something tangible where we can work toward set targets and see real developments and successes. It is very
56 | Spirit Animals
important for us to never provide funding to a big corporation, where the money just disappears into a big black hole,” she says. Made with carefully selected ingredients that capture the spirit of Africa, Elephant Gin is handcrafted in Hamburg, Germany, for wildlife adventurers and urban explorers alike. Created using 14 carefully selected botanicals, five are distinctly African herbs which produce its distinct flavour: buchu, lion’s tail, devil’s claw, baobab and African woodworm. Taking time to import the freshest roots, herbs and fruit from across the African continent, Elephant Gin has created a product with a passion and a purpose. Once created and sent off around the globe, 15% of Elephant Gin’s profits go to its two chosen foundations. “With Big Life and Space For Elephants, we have found partners that we can trust without a glimpse of doubt,” says Gerlach. “They don’t just work in conservation, they live conservation and their heart beats as much for themselves as it does for the wildlife around them.
“ With them, we see every penny well invested and see the Elephant Gin funding help where it’s most needed in Kenya and South Africa.” Big Life Foundation is an anti-poaching organisation, which protects two million acres of wilderness in the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem of East Africa; and Space For Elephants is focused on restoring the old elephant migratory routes that were lost when game reserves were fenced. Elephant Gin’s contributions will help to provide salaries to the rangers and protect the animals by giving back freedom to thousands of elephants. “Elephant Gin’s contributions go toward one outpost to fund eight rangers’ salaries, rations & equipment – such as tents, rucksacks and sleeping bags – for three months at a time,” says Gerlach. But the work of Elephant Gin doesn’t end there; “In South Africa, we built a school and community hub that educates and provides jobs for people that would otherwise be lured into illegal activities,” Gerlach tells me. “While we make a real difference in the lives of these people and ultimately the African elephants, the outlook is still quite grim. More has to be done to raise awareness of the plight of this endangered species.” Elephant Gin has also been instrumental in supporting the Mavela Project, which is Space for Elephant’s dedicated project to help the communities who are negatively affected by illegal poaching. “Unemployment is rife in the affected areas, which is attractive for poachers in getting information and assistance from the local communities,” Gerlach says. “We realised that even with strong anti-poaching units, community members will assist poachers for a small amount of money where they can. “Think about it – if you were so poor and unable to provide for your family, it would be unbelievably tempting to go and hunt wildlife in exchange
for great sums of money,” Gerlach admits. “The strategy of Space for Elephants is to get the communities involved by creating employment opportunities and make them aware of the value of wildlife by showing them how to earn a living from protecting, instead of killing it,” she says. “At Mavela, and with the sole support of Elephant Gin, this strategy is coming to fruition as people are taught how to attract tourists, and offer tours around the landscape. By educating them that living elephants could be a source of income for the long term, they start to listen and even protect the elephants from other dangers. “Ultimately, poachers nowadays find it more difficult to make use of these communities to assist them.” Each bottle of Elephant Gin is as unique as its namesake. “No elephant is like the other; and therefore no bottle of Elephant Gin should be identical to the rest,” says Gerlach. The stamp-like label is a nod to the letters sent home by 19th century explorers of Africa, and each bottle is adorned with hand-written labels and embossed with a crest; each batch is named after a great tusker or elephant, allowing the company to tell the great stories and share the spirit of Africa. So what’s next? As well as creating its newest product – Elephant Sloe Gin – profits of Elephant Gin will continue to be given to elephant conservation foundations throughout the African continent. “Our focus is to share the product with people from around the world and we therefore want to make it available in many more countries, our next stop: Kenya,” says Gerlach. “I like to imagine the gin being sipped in the African savannah or bush, in true sundowner spirit, back where it all began.”
Spirit Animals | 57
Clockwise from top: Tøyen Startup Village and VR club photography by Ali's Chetreanu; Biblio Tøyen photography by Christian Bermudez
Oslo’s smart new workspace at Tøyen Startup Village looks at ideas that change the way our cities think about communication, transport, social welfare and finance. And it focuses on how those ideas and opportunities work for the local community. Fiona Shaw went to look at the best view in Oslo. For many years, Norway was the baby sister of the thriving Scandinavian startup scene; Oslo comes fourth in StartUp Heatmap’s ranking of fellow Scandi capitals, behind Stockholm, Copenhagen and Helsinki. Yet the city is Europe’s fastestgrowing capital, with a growing startup scene and an innovative, progressive outlook built into every new business. 2016 saw – with the backing of IKT-Norge, the Norwegian Tech Industry Association – the development of the inner city Tøyen area as a new ‘smart’ district, designed to support startups, whilst creating opportunity for young people in the area by feeding those tech and entrepreneurial skills into local schools and colleges. Yet in spite of a strong focus on startup growth, they have kept one eye on the recurring question: how do you create opportunities and a self-titled ‘startup area’ without unleashing a wave of gentrification that drives out the area’s residents? One of Tøyen’s key strengths is its diversity: it has been a haven for refugees and immigrants since the 19th century. It’s also one of Oslo’s most vibrant districts – central in the city, it brims with parks
58 | Norwegian Good
and botanical gardens, boasting the Munch museum alongside paleontological, geological and zoological treasure troves. But its recent history has been marked by social issues, and one in three children in the district still live below the poverty line. A new science centre and swathe of student housing – alongside 30,000 new homes – are headed to the area, but there remains a number of empty properties. The seed that became Tøyen Startup Village (TSV) was designed to make it easier to start up a sustainable business for entrepreneurs, facilitate cooperation between large and small companies, and focus on innovative solutions to city life. It will concentrate on the development of city, community and welfare services, bringing those values – the expertise, opportunities and IP, to both Tøyen and the people of Oslo. And, whilst doing so, will establish a TSV mentor programme and startup school. The city is working with consultants from London’s Hackney district to make sure that the project is as sensitive and sustainable as possible. Charles Armstrong founded Shoreditch co-working space The Trampery in 2009 and first got involved with Oslo’s startup scene in 2011, forging a creative triangle with the city and Austin, Texas. “I was fascinated by the city’s energy and how rapidly the community was growing,” he says. Armstrong saw the potential for Tøyen to become an innovation district, giving a well-received speech to politicians and technology leaders in April 2015. The idea led to a summit on Tøyen and The Trampery’s engagement on a project to speak to stakeholders and develop a long-term strategy.
Tøyen Startup Village is based in the 12 storey In the past Tøyen definitely wasn’t somewhere tower of a former tax office, part of a ’60s-built entrepreneurs would consider as a location – when shopping precinct surrounding a central square, I started interviewing stakeholders it was clear that with a post office, grocery shops, bars and cafés. people were open to the location, but they needed It is the intersection of two of the city’s metro to see a critical mass of infrastructure and activity lines, and site of extensive housebuilding. The before they’d consider moving. aim now is to transform the area into “ We need co-working spaces where we an innovative and enriching startup arena, with both local and international can meet, also in person. Places where relevance; a natural landing place for people can learn from each other and companies looking to open in Oslo’s collaborate so brilliant ideas can be born ” fertile economy. That, in turn, will provide expertise, networks and other resources, “Tøyen,” he says, “is an interesting paradox. It is creating jobs across the neighbourhood. geographically quite central with extremely good transport connections, yet psychologically it’s “Historically, innovation districts have tended thought of as a peripheral part of the city. Many to grow by displacing established communities, cities have neighbourhoods like this, and they often accompanied by a polarisation of opportunity have good potential for innovation communities.” where existing residents are excluded from the benefits,” says Armstrong, who saw its effects TSV’s purpose is one of balance – alongside the first-hand in Hackney in the late 1990s, “despite cultural events the area has become known for, the best efforts of the council. From the outset I like Øyafestivalen, it will create relevant jobs and believed Tøyen needed to follow a different path, opportunities for the next generation. A focus with the established community fully involved in on city-led solutions for education, health, social the new opportunities. But it had to be baked into development and trade will have a positive impact the project from day one. We dedicated a whole on Tøyen, Oslo and further afield. section of our report to recommendations for an engagement programme with local schools and At investment body Oslo Business Region, ethnic groups to make them part of the project.” managing director Fredrik Winther says: Sustained commitment is the key, he says. “If the “Technology and globalisation means that a rapid city government and other partners sustain their growing number of us will have an employer, an commitment to this, Tøyen will become a case office and a colleague who works from somewhere study for a socially-inclusive cluster formation that far away. Increasingly our work becomes even has worldwide significance.” more based on projects, and many more will be self-employed instead of having a fixed employer. Oslo is already home to a number of successful co- Because of this we need co-working spaces working spaces, including Mesh – which merged where we can meet, also in person. Places where at the end of 2016 with Copenhagen’s Founders people can learn from each other and collaborate House – Startup Lab and 657. Armstrong says: so brilliant ideas can be born. Today, a large “They made a huge contribution to the emergence majority of such co-working spaces are tailored of a cohesive entrepreneurial community and to entrepreneurs or the creative industry, but in the provided an interface that helped government future, other industries will need to be part of such and corporations engage with startups. The environments, big and small.” Trampery’s research in 2015 indicated there was no short-term pressure for additional co-working In May 2016, Beathe Due arrived to manage Tøyen capacity but Oslo lacked grow-on space and StartUp Village. “I don’t think that TSV would have needed more facilities for corporate innovation. been realised without the Trampery’s help – they We also identified opportunities to create new ‘hot are a great source of knowledge on how to do this,” spots’ to support sectors of strategic importance. she says. “Our aim is to help people in the local The plan for Tøyen Startup Village set out to fill area, so there were a lot of public meetings; at these gaps. every stage we have tried to involve locals in what this could be. We have a very clear mission that “The first people I met who saw its potential were we want to be part of the environment that we are Heidi Austlid and Fredrik Syversen at IKT Norge. located in.”
All TSV tenants are expected to participate on a voluntary basis on activities in the area. Due was involved in establishing Oslo’s Girl Geeks network back in 2010, and a Code Club is one of the activities TSV will start for local residents. “Kids between 10 and 15 can learn how to code,” she says. “It’s not mandatory in school – yet – so we need to prepare kids for a digital future.” She also points to the stunning Biblo Tøyen – or youth library – as an example of new opportunities being created in the area. “It is a magnificent library for 10 to 15 year olds, breaking and changing all the library rules… A unique and innovative space.”
“ Tøyen is a very rich local area – there are so many different people here. If we can succeed with something at Tøyen, we can transfer it to other places ” TSV focuses specifically on startup growth. “We are not an incubator,” says Due. “The main umbrella we have here is city development – there are lots of social entrepreneurship ideas. One company is delivering platform for preparing society for the wave of elders. While the state doesn’t have enough warm hands to take care of them, they can actually be a useful resource – grandparents can help kids with homework, or volunteers can help each other out in the neighbourhoods. Tøyen is a very rich local area – there are so many different people here. If we can succeed with something at Tøyen, we can transfer it to other places.” The job is a “fun challenge,” Due says. Her varied professional background includes a Masters in the history of ideas – on the relationship between human society and technology. Working for Norwegian communications behemoth Telenor, she became involved in Oslo’s hackathons and jam movement. “I fell in love with the methods,” she smiles. “Of collecting people of all ages, backgrounds and competencies, and putting them together for 48 hours. The projects and ideas that come out of them are amazing – they’re far more than you get in one year of processes and democracy.” Though her background is in tech, it is simply a means to an end, she says. “Tech is everywhere. Our focus here is not on tech in itself, but on city development – communication, transport, social welfare, finance. Technology is part of everything –
it’s so fundamental that we have a fashion designer, someone building in wood, app developers, big data analytics, people looking to change or make the welfare system. It’s important that these people meet in a physical space – when you’re a startup you can’t afford to hire people who have different skills to you. Spaces like this encourage other kinds of skills that you can merge.” Armstrong agrees: “I never believed in the classical incubator model where fledgling businesses are brought together with a handful of expert advisors. It’s not scaleable and it doesn’t offer sufficient diversity of expertise to really be useful. For an entrepreneur the most useful person to speak to is someone who confronted the same challenges a couple of years ago and found a way through. In a similar way locating corporate innovation teams in entrepreneurial environments can offer benefits for both sides but it needs to be structured correctly.” And TSV will work hard to create opportunities for more than just its tenants. It has signed an agreement with Oslo and Akershus University College to bring students into Tøyen, and Tøyen Academy will bring together young people in the area. “We’re planning now to have a course together with the library and kids from the academy to help people who’re not used to tech. We can help them make email accounts, or pay for things through the internet… Elementary services for people who don’t know how to do them; for elderly people.” A pilot ran at the end of January. “We try to participate in the local society,” says Due. “We have some of them as trainees, helping out here. And if they have a good idea, they can work on it themselves – there is space to sit here and try and get going.” And coffee will continue to be one of the area’s great connectors. Next to open will be TSV’s work bar, next to the square’s grocery store. Fuglen owner Einar Kleppe Holthe was one of the team that pushed the idea, brokering a deal with the building’s owners, Entra, and suggesting the idea of a coffee-serving work bar as the project’s glue. Holthe, owner of the city’s lauded coffee shop cum vintage furniture store, believes that coffee’s universal accessibility will create interaction with residents, and give the village a local identity.
Nyby NYBY turns today’s public service offering upside down. A peer-topeer platform for public services, communities and neighbourhoods, NYBY is a social tech startup, currently piloting its service in collaboration with three Norwegian municipalities and multiple stakeholders. It launches in summer 2017 – stay tuned on www.nyby.com
Schibsted Growth Norwegian media giant Schibsted Group’s ‘Growth’ offshoot was TSV’s first collaborator. The group operates numerous titles in 29 different countries, championing smart, digital innovation and using advanced technology and data analytics to change the world through journalism.
Sportyer Like Nyby, Sportyer.no is another sharing economy-led business, describing itself as ‘like an Airbnb for sports halls and other training facilities’. The company lets consumers hire space that’s not in use, a market reckoned to be worth two billion kroner every year.
Too Good to Go Founded in Denmark in late 2015, in less than a year food-waste social enterprise Too Good To Go was operating in six different countries, including Norway. Combatting the one third of all food previously thrown away globally, TGTG matches leftover food in cafés and restaurants with local consumers, via an app.
62 | Norwegian Good
“ Tøyen’s diverse population will be the engine that drives innovation for generations to come ” “It will be our front face,” says Due. “It’s at ground level – you can come in… for information, coffee, free seating; sit and work there. We can offer people a membership so they can use the meeting rooms and discounts on other facilities. It’s a very important space, where everyone can come in and ask questions. We’ll put the VR club in there – bars have Quiz Tuesdays – we’ll have VR Tuesdays, or Wednesday, or Thursdays. The technology is amazing. That’s what we want people to come in for. Fantasy is the limit.” But what does the area’s smart city, tech approach mean for local residents at threat of gentrification? “The situation in Oslo is difficult because of the prices, whether we are here or not,” asserts Due. “It is expensive to live in the city centre – people are moving out. We can’t do anything about the price of houses; but what we can do – and part of this village thinking – is that there are so many square metres available of office space. We can encourage people to work here and create new jobs that will be good for everyone. We try to use the local businesses – we don’t serve food ourselves, for instance – we buy from local business and participate as much as we can.” Armstrong says: “Part of my argument for fostering an innovation district in Tøyen was that it’s Oslo’s most ethnically diverse neighbourhood. This is a huge advantage. It’s no coincidence that successful innovation clusters often form in areas with a history of immigration and diversity. These places evolve a special kind of openness and respect towards different ideas and beliefs, which turns out to be the most fertile ground for innovation. Tøyen’s diverse population will be the engine that drives innovation for generations to come.” Some of TSV’s tenants live locally; some have been working from home; some are very new, whilst some have moved from another city to gain a base in Oslo. Winther adds: “The diversity that Tøyen Startup Village brings to Tøyen, to a far greater extent than single small offices would do, should act as example for urban development everywhere.”
Talking Pictures With a series of Ethos films under our belt, and many more in the pipeline, Ethos’s resident filmmaker Allan Melia looks back over the past year, and trains his lens on what’s to come...
Launching Ethos Magazine’s film content last summer with Ethos presents, Homebaked, felt like the perfect start to our documentary series. For those who don’t know the organisation, Homebaked is a co-operative bakery and Community Land Trust based in Anfield, Liverpool. Its purpose: to raise money to help regenerate the area and build homes for local people.
“ We were constantly struck by Homebaked being not only an excellent producer of high-quality fresh food but also a vital source of inspiration for the community, and we could only hope to capture this in the film ” Over a number of months, we would visit them to film interviews and document new parts of the business unfolding; be it a brand-new pastry roller, pie machine or plans for the next community event. We were constantly struck by Homebaked being not only an excellent producer of high-quality fresh food but also a vital source of inspiration for the community, and we could only hope to capture this in the film.
Currently in production is our second mini documentary about co-working spaces and the makers who occupy them. The film will focus on the importance of spaces and places which accommodate the art of making, and why it’s important to keep these skills alive, for people of all ages and backgrounds. Expect to see everything from crafters of reclaimed wood to technologists working with the Internet of Things. Later this year we’ll also be developing a series of short films based around a specific (yet to be decided) theme. We’re super excited for this year’s films and we’re looking forward to releasing the first one this month. Feedback so far has been very positive, Homebaked’s Sally-Anne Watkiss told us that Ethos presents, Homebaked, “really captures the essence of Homebaked beautifully,” – we couldn’t have wished for a better compliment.
Following this, we started an interview series: Ethos meets – which got off to an inspiring start at London’s co-working space, The Trampery, interviewing companies such as Lemonaid, RentezVous and Much Better Adventures, to gain an insight into their reasons for setting up an ethical business. Next was Impact Hub Birmingham to meet Nick Booth of Podnosh, before heading back home to Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle for a chat with David Connor about his work for IMPACT 2030.
Talking Pictures | 63
In this edition of Fresh Ideas Free Thinking, we caught up with #EthicalHour founder Sian Conway, about creating a social network with real social purpose. More than just a hashtag, #EthicalHour is a space for ethically-focused blogs and brands to connect. Conway shares how she’s been inspired by the queens of cruelty-free, Lush; and moved by the story of the Gandy brothers. Join the #EthicalHour Twitter conversation every Monday from 20:00 GMT – just search @EthicalHour
What do you do?
Who do you do it for?
I’m the co-founder of ethical #EthicalHour is all about creating fashion brand Little Lotus opportunity. People are capable Boutique and founder of the of incredible things, but they need world’s first support network for the right environment and support ethical businesses and bloggers – to reach their potential. If you can #EthicalHour. I work in marketing empower someone to change and mentor young entrepreneurs. their situation, that can have In June I was looking for new ways lasting impact on their life and to promote the community Little Lotus “ If you can around Boutique, which empower someone them. Social gave me the to change their enterprises idea to start a situation, that can around the world Twitter chat have lasting impact are doing that, for ethicallyon their life ” and they need focused blogs support; that’s and brands. It quickly became what #EthicalHour does. popular and now I’m building it into a support platform. I’ve been lucky to work around the world with people from a Where do you do it? range of backgrounds who are turning their business dreams I live and work in Worcestershire, into reality and creating positive UK. #EthicalHour is an online impact. From women in Sierra community of businesses all Leone who survived civil war and around the world. I’m inspired by are re-building communities by travelling and it has always been starting businesses; survivors of my goal to start a business I can the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia run from anywhere. who are creating a better life
through traditional handicrafts; to young entrepreneurs in the UK. These people have passion and purpose, and – with the right support – will achieve amazing things. That encourages me to build the #EthicalHour community as a place where anyone with drive, determination and an ethical outlook can come to build a thriving business with social purpose.
What has been your favourite project of the past year that you’ve been involved in? As a mentor and advocate for aspiring entrepreneurs, I was proud to become an Ogunte ambassador for the Impact Women project, which aims to connect one million female social entrepreneurs by 2020. As a peer-to-peer support network, the project provides a platform for mentoring and collaboration. It’s ambitious in its aims and closely aligned to what #EthicalHour is trying to achieve. The more platforms available, the more
Photography by Sian Conway
likely social entrepreneurs are to thrive and that will lead to positive change, so I’m proud to be involved.
their first children’s home. It’s an incredible story of how personal tragedy can become a powerful force for social change.
What is the most innovative, ethically-minded business that you’d love to collaborate with?
What are the five most interesting things that you have come across or read recently?
One brand I really admire is cosmetics retailer Lush. They actively avoid marketing themselves as ‘ethical’, ‘eco’, ‘responsible’ etc. and instead let their products and actions speak for themselves. They understand the challenges of ethical business and marketing, and their branding, campaigns and approach is impressively innovative. I’ve learnt a lot from their ethos and I’d love to collaborate with them.
There’s a video called “What do you desire?” which features a speech by philosopher Alan Watts. He asks what you would do if money were no object – where are your passions? If you’re passionate about something, you’ll become a master and you’ll find a way to make money from it. It’s an important message for anyone with a desire to make a positive change in the world, start a business or pursue their passion. In contrast to Alan Watts, entrepreneur Mark Manson asks “what are you willing to suffer for?” which resonated with me. Running a business is not an easy path. Understanding this will help you identify what you truly want and Mark puts this as a challenge to the reader – pushing you to examine your motivation.
What ethical business leaders inspire you? Rob and Paul Forkan are two social entrepreneurs with an inspiring story. After being orphaned by the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004, and inspired by their unique upbringing travelling the world, the two brothers started flip flop brand Gandys. They have committed to making it a success, even achieving the backing of Richard Branson. They donate 10% of profits to helping underprivileged children through “Orphans for Orphans” and in 2014 opened
A key skill for anyone who wants to spread an idea or establish a business is to be able to grow an audience. I’m fortunate that I work in marketing, but many people in the #EthicalHour community tell me it’s their biggest challenge. I’d recommend “Growth Hacker Marketing” by Ryan Holiday. In the digital age, it’s easy to reach a large audience if you know how, and Ryan teaches strategies and tactics which can be used by any business. As an ethical business, it can be hard to see beyond your principles
– but this isn’t always the most effective way to sell what you do. It’s something we talk about a lot during #EthicalHour chats and I think this article about why not to brand your business as ethical sums it up really well. I’m currently reading “Tsunami Kids” by the Gandy brothers. They recount the horrors of the Boxing Day tsunami and give a personal, moving account of how they’ve turned their business from a spare room operation into a global brand committed to giving back.
What’s the book, books or author that most shaped your thinking for the work that you do? I come from an arts background and one thing I try to instil in any entrepreneur I work with is that creativity isn’t just about painting a picture – it’s a mindset and way of life, and essential for anyone looking to go into business, especially to create social impact. The book that has really shaped my thinking is “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s an empowering read that helps you understand where ideas come from and how to build your creative confidence.
Thank you to the people and businesses who supported our Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign; and for those who have helped us out on our journey – you’ve made us what we are today.
Founding Subscribers Eddie Shaw, Folken, Iain Cropper, Jacob Culpin, Jim Thompson, Johan Brand and Kahoot!, Keith Hanshaw and the Leather Satchel Co., Open Culture, Paul Beattie, Suzanne Quinney and Tim Slack at Appreciating People, Tim Moore, Wordscapes.
With thanks to Adrian Ashton, Adrian McEwen, Alan Chesters, Amy Beattie, Amy Brooks, Andrew E, Annemarie Kropf, Andrew Worsley, Andy Jenkin, Anthony Seasman, Becka Griffin, Becky Herbert, Ben the Carpenter, Bridget Waters, Britt Jurgensen, Carol Shaw, Carol Yates, Charlotte Corrie, Chris Herbert, Claire Dove, Clare Owens, Claudia Angeli, Christa Moreau, Colchester SOUP, David Connor, David Floyd, David Frazer, David McCabe, David Parrish, Diana Heredia, Diego Adolf, Eddie Shaw, Elaine McGoldrick, Elliot Jay Stocks, Elizabeth Keating, Gerasimos Kouloumpis, Gene Homicki, Graham Smillie, Hannah Wells, Hayley Yates, Hayo Roskam, Hege Tollerud, Hermione Taylor, Hetty Wood, Irene Melia, Isabella Angermayr, Jacinta Plucinski, Jackson Edmonds, Jake Higginson, James Noakes, Jamie Watters, Jane Leah, Jane MacNeil, Jedd Flanscha, Jennifer Howden, Jeremy Leslie, Johan Brand, Joseph Brammall, Joseph Dodgshun, Kai Brach, Kate Stewart, Kaya Herstad-Carney, Kimberly Robinson, Lee-Sean Huang, Lee Omar, Leon Rossiter, Lindsey Harrison, Lucy Byrne, Lucy Moss, Luke Burrell, Lyndsey Yates, Martin Chesters, Mark Russell, Martin Gratton, Mia Tagg, Mike Carney, Nick Booth, Nick Taylor, Nicola Higham, Nicola Wass, Norma Kirkland, Olda Subrt, Oliver Wagg, Padraic O’Reilly, Paul Morrison, Paula Sutherland, Petra Hall, Ricardo and Beatriz, Robin Brown, Ronnie Hughes, Sally-Anne Watkiss, Sam Asiri, Sheila Hillhouse, Sherouck Omara, Steven Hassall, Susannah Garfit, Thomas Jones, Thomas Rippel, Tim Slack, Tom Crone, Tris Brown, Udo Sollberger, Wagner Matos, Wayne Malcolm, Yeshua Adonai.
Special thanks to Beautiful Ideas Co., Homebaked Anfield, Hop and Barley, Impact Hub Athens, Impact Hub Stockholm, Impact Hub Westminster, magCulture, Mamnick, Smiling Wolf, The Trampery.
The Awesome Dinosaur Project Funders in Cities with Awesome Foundation Chapters.
DO YOU NEED SOME MONEY TO FUND AN AWESOME DINOSAUR PROJECT? GOOD. Since 2009 the Awesome Foundation has funded over $1m worth of awesome projects in almost 100 cities around the world. But weâ€™re still waiting to fund a project about dinosaurs. Are you the person that will get $1,000 for an awesome dinosaur project? We do fund other stuff too, lots of it, and all awesome. But sadly no dinosaurs. Yet. Contact the dinosaur project funders at www.awesomefoundation.org
Published on Feb 1, 2017
Get your hands on the first edition of Ethos Magazine. Our cover story focuses on Parley for the Oceans; thought leaders in ocean conservati...