Helping to make the world a better place one pledge at a time is Do Nation. Following on from their successful B Corp September SDG Challenge, our next B Corp interview is with Do Nation founder Hermione Taylor…
Tell us in 25 words or less, what’s your mission?
Our mission is to help people to form healthy, environmentally friendly habits, turning our small steps into a powerful movement for change.
Why did you become a B Corporation?
Becoming a B Corp was a no-brainer for us, given we’re a completely mission-driven business whose focus is on helping other organisations to embed sustainable values and behaviours. In part, I wanted to become a B Corp to ensure that our commitment to our values is locked in no matter what, but I was also eager to become part of a community of forward thinking businesses, many of whom we’d love to work with.
What’s the story behind Do Nation, where did it all begin?
The idea of Do Nation was born when I cycled from London to Morocco in 2009 and decided to ask people for support through action instead of cash. Over 200 people sponsored our big challenge by pledging to take on their own small challenges – cycling to work, wasting less food or switching energy supplier, for example. My uncle even planted ten trees!
I was blown away by how grateful people were for the nudge to get on and do something positive, and for the opportunity to be part of our challenge. I was also amazed to see the cumulative impact that these small actions could have. Together, over the two months that we were cycling, our friends’ pledges saved as much carbon as 84 flights from London to Morocco!
So I set about turning the idea into a platform that anybody could use to run their own campaigns to raise pledges – whether in support of a marathon or their company’s own sustainability week.
How do you use business as a force for good?
Since 2013, our primary focus has been working with businesses and universities to help them engage their employees or students in sustainable behaviours, building culture and pride in the organisation, and raising awareness of their wider sustainability efforts. Companies pay a small subscription fee to access the Pro features on the site – impact reporting, team leaderboards and customisation.
By working with organisations in this way, not only can we keep paying the bills, but we can also reach far more people than we ever would on our own. The majority of our users now hear about Do Nation through their workplace, with these corporate programmes making the biggest contribution to our impact.
Why do you believe using business as a force for good makes business sense?
Having been brought up in a family of entrepreneurs, I am a big believer in the power of business to be a force for good – when done right. Clearly, many businesses create social problems rather than solve them, and the current economic system does not recognise any difference between the two.
So as soon as I heard about the B Corp movement I was sold – it is a great way to identify, reward and support those businesses that are doing good, and to inspire others to follow suit.
Name a project in the last year you’re most proud of?
Given that it recently picked up the title of ‘Employee Engagement Campaign of the Year’ at the BusinessGreen Awards, it would have to be the campaign we ran with Hill+Knowlton Strategies around New Year’s resolutions.
Their aim was to engage their staff in their bid to become a B Corp and so asked them to record pledges on Do Nation, pitting teams against each other to see which one could make the most pledges and save the most carbon. The team spirit really kicked in and two thirds of staff signed up, together recording over 1,000 pledges. You can read the full case study here.
What are the biggest challenges Do Nation has faced when driving positive change?
The biggest challenge is taking our impact to a globally meaningful scale, while working on a shoestring. The impact we’re having is clear – we have always been rigorous about measuring and reviewing that – and it’s grown steadily since we launched in 2011, all thanks to word of mouth. But to make our work really pay off we need to scale far more dramatically – reaching millions of people, not just tens of thousands.
Are there any organisations you’ve got an eye on who deserve to be a B Corp?
I’d love to see my brother’s company, Nonstop Snow, become one.
Name one action we can all take to drive positive change for good.
You can visit our list of actions for positive change, and make a pledge!
Visit our blog page to hear from more of our favourite B Corps, such as our recent interview with Bulb.