Today is an incredibly exciting day.
Since day one, Ethique has formally committed to donating 2% of sales (or 20% of profit, whichever was higher) to charity. From the start, I was told this was a terrible idea. Startups aren’t typically known for their cashed-up-ness, but nevertheless, I wanted to run a business my way and try anyway.
Our donations at Ethique have been widespread and we have worked with over 700 organisations ranging from schools, to community groups, to larger non-profits, film producers and occasionally, worthy individuals. From the feedback we have received from these partnerships, I believe that we have helped them make a difference. Since 2012, we have donated over $2m in value. I’m immensely proud of that number.
Now, the quantum of our donations is considerably larger and so I wanted to create an independent vehicle that could build on the impact that Ethique has had, with a clear focus, greater oversight and external advisors to help achieve big goals.
Ethique is largely a representation of my values and beliefs, which is natural, presumably, as the founder. As we’ve grown, we haven’t abandoned any of these, in fact we’ve added to them as we’ve learned more. I am passionate about many issues; from the climate crisis, biodiversity decline, economic equity, ocean pollution, habitat destruction, animal welfare, access to education in STEM, human rights abuses associated with the opaque supply chains of much of what we buy, conservation and many more.
Having done a lot of research and spoken to people with greater knowledge and experience on these key issues, it became apparent that if I wanted our donations to truly be impactful, we needed to narrow down our focus.
“No problem”, I thought, immediately landing on conservation as our ‘narrow’ focus. This encompassed habitat rewilding, ocean conservation and climate change. Of course, conservation, done right, in an intentional, intersectional way, impacts people. By working with grassroots organisations who work with local community groups and indigenous populations (like the Eden Reforestation Project), that leads to economic empowerment, access to education and so on.
And at Ethique, we already work hard to ensure we have a fair, equitable supply chain and we’re working with other businesses to help them do the same.
Turns out though, that’s still too broad.
I put it to the vote with the entire Ethique team, but giving any one of these things up was gut wrenching for all of us. So, we decided to tackle it a bit differently.
Instead of focusing just on supporting organisations already doing good work (which we are doing too - you can read about them here), we have also created an annual Fellowship.
The Ethique Fellowship will launch in July 2022 and will focus on finding five women around the world who are working on scalable, genuinely impactful solutions to the biggest problems we face, both social and environmental. There will be a lot more information to come on this, but by supporting and developing women working on mitigating climate change, rewilding damaged habitats, improving access to education and much more, we can help them grow their non-profits, give them access to our networks, upskill them (as needed) and finance them through the early stages. Working with these women will be an incredible privilege, and I cannot wait to meet our future Fellows.
Launching the Ethique Foundation has come about through an enormous amount of work from many people, both inside and outside Ethique.
Thank you to the external philanthropic advisors who have donated their time and knowledge to help us craft a program that won’t just be another vehicle for donating money, but something that will use the skills within the business, and our extended networks, to create long term impact through the Ethique Fellowship.
Thank you to my team for your honest opinions and thoughtful discussions as to who we should support and how, as well as all your work pulling it together.
And a heartfelt thank you to all our customers throughout the years, as we wouldn’t be in the position to create the Ethique Foundation without your invaluable support and cheerleading over the last (almost) decade.
From my initial experience of being laughed at by many for wanting to run a company like this, now we are used as an example of how companies should operate.
Hopefully we inspire many others to do the same.
If you want to know more about the Ethique Foundation, please visit its brand-new website here.