Companies with Causes Attract Millennials
Posted By Marisa Sanfilippo on August 17, 2017 at 1:49 pm
A recent study indicated millennials would take a pay cut to work for companies that aligned with their personal values. Other research indicates employees prefer hands-on charity work to donating money, and shoppers prefer brands that support environmental or social causes.
According to Richelieu Dennis, CEO of beauty manufacturer Sundial Brands, making an impact is how and why the company does business. It is continuously innovating and co-creating with retail partners and the community while maintaining an authentic brand.
The first step is in sourcing the ingredients in a way that benefits those who are producing them. Originally, the company sourced shea nuts and moringa through a fair-trade practice that bought the products from West African traders, who purchased from the women in Ghana who gathered the ingredients. It came to their attention that, while this may be better than some of the alternatives, it wasn’t truly helping the people who were harvesting. This kept the women doing the work in perpetual cycles of poverty.
About five years ago, Sundial partnered with Target to establish self-contained shea butter and soap-making cooperatives in Ghana. In these cooperatives, the workers were trained and given adequate equipment and running water. They put a plan in place to reinvest 10 percent of profits from the products sold in Target stores to further build the infrastructures of these communities.
Over the years, this business model has grown substantially. There are now 15 farming coops, and 10 percent of all profits sold are reinvested in improved infrastructure and maintenance.
Since 2014, the number of communities in the area with clean water has risen from zero to 13. About 97% of employees’ children are now enrolled in school, up from 37%. The average annual income has grown from less than $200 to $1,700.
The efforts of Sundial Brands has proven that being beautiful can also be an investment in creating a more beautiful world.
Health to Humanity
Health to Humanity is on a mission to help eradicate preventable diseases by producing and selling hygiene products in the U.S. H2H takes its profits in combination with donations to fund its international programs.
The company establishes work-skill programs with their partners to teach them to create their own hygienic product companies in their communities. H2H subsidizes the salaries of workers while these new companies get established.
The budding partner companies donate a portion of the products they create each month to local orphanages and then sell the rest at an affordable cost in their own communities.
H2H continues to provide training and support as the businesses grow, which provides support to the local economy and ultimately, a more hygienic world with fewer preventable diseases.
John Cefalu, the founder of H2H Soap, says he hopes his company is making an impact on the world around him.
“Consumerism is debatably one of America’s favorite past times. I truly believe that using consumerism as a tool to create impact makes it easier to create programs that people can believe in and get behind. Bottom line, it comes down to the fact that people, whether they live in Orange County
or Central Kenya, need something to be able to provide hope in their daily
lives,” he says.
Cefalu says feel-good stories connect cultures when everything else seems to be trying to disconnect them.
“Employees are no longer motivated simply with a paycheck, and the motivation that comes from working with a company that works for the people of the world is the greatest asset that I have come across. It also helps to change perception and open people’s eyes to what is possible. Young entrepreneurs can look to H2H as a ray of hope that anyone can create a successful business if they push hard enough; even if you are just selling a bar of soap.”
Cefalu says the driving force is people, not causes.
“People are our future, and so many people get blinded by tangible things that we forget that sometimes believing in someone is the most powerful empowerment tool on the planet.”
It is not only the large corporations such as Microsoft that are steadily turning profits into resources to make the world a better place. These small companies, and thousands more like them, are striving to turn their businesses and personal success into a force for good.
This is the type of company culture millennials are drawn to, and as that demographic continues to grow, the trend of charitable companies is likely to grow as well.