People, purpose, planet

Why people, business purpose and our planet earth are now inseparable
Reading time: 7 minutes

Profit-oriented companies that have a vision (purpose) for a more sustainable future (planet) and rely on employees (people) who live these values and thus contribute to this vision can also increase the fourth P. The one which stands for profit and is crucial for the survival and growth of small and medium-sized businesses as well. Because, apart from the ethical consequences for entrepreneurs, thanks to the climate crisis, sustainability awareness and a new sense of values, consumers are increasingly evaluating companies on the basis of their environmental, social and corporate values.

People

What is the importance of people?

Not only has customer behavior changed in direction of increased expectations, a constant flow of information and a thirst for experience, a change in society can be felt in general.

People are reconsidering special values and are increasingly distancing themselves from what is known as a fast-moving consumer and throwaway society. They have the freedom to pursue different lifestyles and values. The World Economic Forum defines this society as Society 5.0, which was presented at the 2019 G20 summit in Japan. Thanks to modern technology people from all levels of society should have the opportunity to not only live in a problem-solving and value-creating way, but also to be free from discrimination and alienation, fear, unemployment and poverty and to receive equal opportunities on the basis of information. In addition, people of Society 5.0 should be able to live a sustainable life in every region, regardless of the available resources.

In summary, Society 5.0 should be a society in which every single human being can create values anytime, anywhere, safely and in harmony with nature.

How does this dream of a healthy and fair world, which – if you read or hear the news – seems to be a utopia, go hand in hand with local companies, especially stationary retail and gastronomy?

Although brick-and-mortar retail is suffering from a massive shortage of skilled workers, it is with over three million employees still of one the largest employers in Germany. The hospitality industry is facing similar challenges as well and, thanks to repeated lockdowns, had to deal with monetary losses and losing skilled workers. However, the main advantages of local companies are obvious: Not only do they create jobs at a local and regional level, but are also responsible for a significant proportion of business tax revenue. These in turn finance among other things education, further trainings and health facilities, as well as cultural and sports facilities or the local infrastructure.

The individual employee is able to work in the community in which he and his family live without having to travel long distances, to pay the heartily desired riding lessons for his child or to meet up with friends after work for a beer without having to make big arrangements.

“People, not companies, constitute the community. Those with a healthy dose of local patriotism give life to a community, a neighbourhood, or an entire city. Don’t we all prefer to take our bicycle to the weekly market, stop by our favourite café on the way back or visit our shop of choice because they informed us that the latest sneakers will arrive on Friday? Cohesion is usually only taught and learned in times of crisis. We should live it every day and ensure the preservation of our local community.” Markus Demirci, founder and CEO of mPocket.

Purpose

What is the purpose of a company?

Big brands like Apple with their Zero Waste Program or Nike promising to invest 1.5% of the annual income in communities prove it: Generating profit and generating social impact are not two separate goals but go together.

Consumers – especially financially strong millennials – are increasingly attracted to purpose-driven organizations. From the consumer’s point of view, promises made by companies must be translated into action. This development was intensified by the Covid-19 pandemic: The way we live, work and interact has changed over the long term, but also clearly uncovered social and economic inequalities.

In order for organizations to react responsibly, meaningfully and authentically to these global issues, they must recognize that they are not neutral parties to such matters, but can also make a commitment at the local level.

The opportunities to get involved in the local community even with your brick-and-mortar retail store or restaurant are endless, and even small things can benefit the community and make good business sense for the business in question. They can use their expertise while showing the human face of the business. For example, some restaurants provide food to local homeless groups or sports teams, while some contractors provide free labour and materials for community projects. Every individual but also every retailer or restaurateur can ask themselves the question of their purpose within our society.” Markus Demirci, founder and CEO mPocket.

Customers want to know the “why” of a brand, including the one of the store around the corner. This often goes hand in hand with what is known as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Not only the community idea, which has gained new followers as a result of the pandemic “We are all in the same boat – support local, buy local”, but above all the main pillars of CSR are social commitment and the preservation of jobs or the environment.

Community involvement can take many forms. For example, some businesses choose to support local charities or local events. Others contribute their knowledge to local educational institutions or community projects.

The possibilities to get involved in the local community with your brick-and-mortar shop or restaurant are endless and even small things can benefit the community and are economically viable for the respective company. They can use their expertise while showing the human face of the company. For example, some restaurants provide food to local homeless organizations or sports teams, while some construction companies provide free labour or materials for community projects. Every individual, but also every retailer or restaurant owner can question their own meaning within our society.” Markus Demirci, founder and CEO of mPocket.

Planet

What is the local retails impact on Mother Earth?

Shopping from local, independent retailers is not only beneficial for the community in front of and around your doorstep, but also for the planet.

Every single person who strives to vote for the way the world is made can do something about it every time they spend money. While the pandemic had very few positive side effects, at least a newfound appreciation and support for local businesses rose, more than half of consumers are now shopping locally again.

There are many ways to do something good for the planet through consumption and start already with the consumer transport itself, be it on foot, by bicycle or by public transport. This is compared to diesel delivery vehicles that deliver and return parcels.

Shorter supply chains and locally manufactured products, which are also typical characteristics of goods sold locally, also have an impact on the environment.

Packaging tends to be more economical and sustainable in local stores, although many big brands have already switched to recycled packaging and eliminated plastic wherever possible. A study by Oceana shows an alarmingly growing amount of plastic packaging caused by Amazon. Local, independent retailers can react much faster and more flexible in the event of a bad packaging practices.

Walking to a weekly market to buy locally grown or produced products, which we take home in a reusable bag, has a much lower environmental impact than a car trip to a supermarket that offers heavily packed goods sourced from large distribution centres, which are partly equipped with imports from all over the world. Self-selected food that is not delivered portioned in packages, specially prepared and consumed with the family is not only more sustainable, but also tastes better and is also food for the soul. Arranging to meet up with friends at the restaurant is “greener” than having the food delivered. Green doesn’t necessarily mean always green, but local and mindful.

Positive effects on the environment, support for local retailers and the preservation of jobs and the local economy, which in turn finance infrastructure, education, culture and sport through taxes and their own purchasing power, form a sustainable cycle and make the hometown worth living in.

The support of local retailers and the preservation of inner cities is particularly important to us at mPocket. We live these values and would also like to make a contribution to the ecological footprint. But also the local retailer has distanced himself from the idea that profitability and social influence are excluding each other. Rather, people, purpose and profit are connected. A purpose-based culture and brand values fuel even the smallest physical store by increasing customer loyalty, but also employee satisfaction and productivity. If it all takes place at a local level and if it is a real commitment, we all contribute to the preservation of our planet. This cycle of people, purpose, planet & profit should be maintained in the interests of a sustainable future.” Markus Demirci, founder and CEO of mPocket.

*For reasons of better legibility only the simultaneous use of male and female language forms is not used. All personal names apply to both genders.

Jasmin Janson

Marketing & Communication Manager mPocket

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