Comparing the last 12 months with the wildest of battles falls short: the global fight against COVID 19, the Black Lives Matter protests or the US presidential campaign these events, in particular, made the inequality more visible in our world.
For our benefit, COVID 19 has transformed the way we do business by opening up all sectors of society. Thanks to the proliferation of social networks, speaking and acting on inequality has become an everyday duty.
Governments, along with the private sector, are taking on more responsibility to start “rebuilding” the world we need. Here are three ways we have started to see change:
1) Conscious consumers
After surviving 2020, entrepreneurs want to turn the page to make equality a tangible reality. One way to do this is through its consumers, who are increasingly aware of how and what they want to spend their money on.
Claudia Castellanos, the director, and co-founder of the Black Mamba Foods company, which is dedicated to specialty items, has observed that customers are beginning to demand fairness and concern about good business practices.
Closing the gap between buyers and producers generates empathy in consumers helping them to understand how their choices can generate changes in the system-
“Good feedback between producers and consumers is important for both parties to make the right decisions,” said David Chen and Phoebe Swinn Yap of Golden Sunland, an agribusiness partner with small farmers in Singapore and Myanmar that helps them enter international markets.
2) New business models
Fighting social inequality is not a marketing strategy. This is expressed by Caroline Ashley, director of Forum for the Future, a non-profit organization that, together with various companies, works for a sustainable future. “Companies must remodel themselves in favor of the needs of the neediest groups.”
This approach is known as “inclusive business” consciously empowers those less favored groups, allowing them to participate in solving their problems.
Focused on the purest ethical values, this business model teaches business leaders to make their operations more balanced.
For its part, Black Mamba fights against gender inequality by supporting women through sustainable jobs. An example of this is its direct line of work with the women of the Eswatini community, in Southern Africa. Through this, they can support their families and educate on health, gender issues, and women’s rights.
The company is associated with Guba, an NGO that trains small farmers in regenerative agronomy and permaculture. Black Mamba is also a Guba customer, buying fresh food from them for its variety of chili sauces, chutneys, and jams.
Thanks to their equitable approach to employment policy, 80% of these farmers are women.
Strategic alliances are another door to enter equality and innovation. This is what the MIT D-Lab and SEED innovation channels think which seek to provide development professionals with egalitarian hybrid partnership models.
Their work together generated a learning laboratory that lasted 1 year. After consulting with social entrepreneurs, this lab-created the Partnership Co-Design Toolkit (P.ACT), a 4-stage framework that ensures partners can easily participate in developing partnership models that work anywhere.
One company that has benefited from this is ClinicPesa, a platform that finances healthcare in Uganda, created by Chrispinus Onyancha. In a business climate that favors personal influences, Onyancha needed support to create favorable conditions for his company. When they worked with him, the lab used the P.ACT tool and created a framework that segmented values and costs, potentially improving his business.
Although it is not easy to adopt a new approach, many entrepreneurs are committed to generating equality with their operations through structures that break the established and comply with a society that demands it.
Two thousand twenty exposed the deep economic cracks we are experiencing. Two thousand twenty-one is our chance to repair it. Rethinking priorities and acting with ambition for change will transform everything from the inside out.
The only sure thing we can be sure of is that after such a year, nothing can ever be the same again.
A big focus for us at eSmart Recycling when talking about Inclusion is equity of opportunity. We believe that in order for society to keep moving forward it’s imperative that all children have access to quality education. One of the most scalable ways to deliver sustainable education is through technology, and to accomplish this, we need access to computers and hardware.
This is why our business model is so unique in the sense that addresses two big problems at the same time, one of which is to recycle computers and electronics following best practices, and the other one is to use the equipment to fund computer labs for kids worldwide, and make technology accessible to kids and families.