We’re sharing our story in the hope of encouraging other businesses to do the same. This story encompasses our social purpose, sustainability and B Corp certification. If you’ve got any questions or queries please just get in touch.
It all started with our CEO, Sarah Gibson, sitting on the board for Big Brothers Big Sisters. This was something she was proud of but felt there was something more we could do as a business. Not long after this realisation, I came on board and this proved to be well timed. Sarah put it to me to come up with something for our new social purpose. Looking back, this is typical of Sarah’s leadership, which is giving people a crack regardless of their experiences. There wasn’t much to suggest I could put this together, but Sarah’s belief in me gave me confidence to give it a go!
I started thinking about what I didn’t have in my time at college and university. Like many youth in New Zealand I had dealt with depression and anxiety for a prolonged period and had some difficult times to manage with my parents and brother. The motivation to do something was there but what would it be? I eventually decided on a wellbeing guide. A simple book full of wellbeing tools that people could jump in and out of and feel more confident there was something they could do to feel better. This involved copious hours of research to understand what tools are out there and how they could be written in a way that was easy to read. I eventually decided on helping people understand tools like meditation, nutrition, power poses, self-talk and more. The book finishes with some suggestions on how people can put it into practice.
I also knew I wanted the book to be visually attractive so we had our design guru, Gemma McCabe, help us with that! After some back and forth we decided on relating the tools to animals which presented the opportunity for Gemma to have some real fun. And, so, Your Kingdom: A Guide to Wellbeing and Potential was born (we can thank Rory Tarpley for the name). Once it was finished, we realised we had some work to do to actually deliver it to the people we wanted it to impact.
Before Your Kingdom’s release at the end of May 2017, we worked with Tomorrow Inc to help us have the right impact. We decided on a buy one share one model (now buy one share two). For every copy purchased, we gift two to a charity or school for free. This gathered some wonderful momentum and, soon enough, we had businesses buy copies for their staff’s wellbeing too! This was amazing for us and we’re grateful to these businesses. We continue to have copies of Your Kingdom purchased by the general public and hope more businesses buy copies to improve the wellbeing of their staff and the community.
We soon realised we wanted to have impact in person too. Not long after Your Kingdom’s release, I started Zeno Project, an organisation that educates people on improving their wellbeing, together with co-founder Hanna. Redvespa has partnered with Zeno Project to deliver workshops to youth around New Zealand. Our next goal is to deliver a Your Kingdom online course for intermediate schools and colleges designed by Zeno Project. Watch this space.
It’s been a whirlwind journey for our social purpose and it’s entrenched in what we do as a business. We have a team to ensure it rolls on. We learnt the importance of having a social purpose that connects with the people in the business. And we’re proud that it has done and Redvespa people love it. You’d think our journey stopped here but we learnt so much through our social purpose about what we could be doing better as a business – outside improving the wellbeing of youth in New Zealand.
We had heard of businesses that become B Corp certified so we set our targets on this. Certified B Corporations meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. It’s businesses using business as a force for good. This resonated with us but we knew pretty quickly it wasn’t solely about us becoming certified because we were learning so much trying! The process was rigorous and it took about 9 months. We learnt we needed to improve our efforts in sustainability and contributing to the environment in particular. This is where Laura at Redvespa was immense in helping us improve. We’ve now got a Vision for Sustainability and practices in place at Redvespa to do better here. Eventually we became certified with a score of 80.10, which is .10 over the threshold to get certified. We figure this leaves us room to improve!
We always knew we wanted to be a business that wasn’t in business just to turn a profit, it’s about much more than that. Through this journey we developed new concrete practices and an identity that we’re proud of, but we still have a way to go. Regardless, we keep moving forward trying to make change happen, unleash potential and enrich people, business and communities. (we can now add the environment to that too!)
If this is a journey your business is thinking about undertaking we’d be happy to chat, just get in touch.
Zeno Project founder and Your Kingdom author