On March 29th, 100+ business leaders came together to discuss the meaning of Business leaders for positive impact. This evening was the occasion to challenge the idea of positive impact and what it represents for business leaders. Following a keynote by the author of Who Cares Wins, 6 social entrepreneurs pitched their projects and led breakout sessions in small groups to dig deeper into specific topics.
The Chief Sustainability Officer of BNP Paribas Americas, Hervé Duteil started the evening by stating what a business leader for positive impact is: “We believe businesses have ressources to change the world. We have the human, technological and financial resources to push boundaries and take a leading role in being part of the solution”. The social entrepreneurs who pitched their solutions were examples of this being put into practice. This perspective is shared by Sparknews’, Christian de Boisredon declaring in an opening “We think changing business starts by changing the way we talk about business, introducing impact and people and planet”.
For David Jones, founder of One Young World and author of Who Cares Wins, this is actually a necessity more than an option. Indeed, young people are looking for purpose beyond profit, something that each company has to keep in mind.
The goal of social entrepreneurship is to respond to pressing challenges in a sustainable manner. During this evening, 6 change makers pitched ideas inspired by their personal experience or issues they witnessed. The topics they highlighted are as diverse as environment, insurance risk mitigation, diversity in the workplace or blockchain for good. Each social entrepreneur then had the opportunity to discuss in a brainstorming session. These sessions were a time to dig deeper in each of these question but also for the entrepreneurs to benefit from attendees own experiences in leading companies.
TerraCycle, represented by its VP Global Business Development Anthony Rossi, is working on recycling the “non-recyclable.” Behind the process of recycling, the idea is to eliminate the idea of waste itself. Whether it’s coffee capsules, pens from a school, or plastic gloves from a manufacturing facility, TerraCycle can collect and recycle almost any form of waste. They partner with individual collectors as well as major consumer product companies, retailers, manufacturers, municipalities, and small businesses across 20 different countries.
Tech is an amazing opportunity for positive innovation. Adapt Ready is using data aggregation, machine learning filters and targeted data enrichment to improve insurance risk mitigation. The founder Shruti Rao discussed how each company/industry can make use of such risk insights to impact the business and create social impact.
Mohit Mehta, also focuses on how enterprise can help bridge the gap to financial inclusion. As Director of Economics at Blockchain for Change, he is using technology to serve the low income individuals. 2 billion adults worldwide do not have access to a bank account (Source: World Bank, 2017) and Fummi is targeting them. This Android app was launched a couple weeks ago and is using digital ID to help service providers to better track underprivileged populations by safe storage of information.
Nish Parikh, founded SourceAbled, a company working adults with disabilities by helping companies that face talent shortage, and the mismatch between jobs and work environment. SourceAbled offers to find talents, create the right environment and use technology to connect job seekers and employers. The brainstorming session focused on the topic of “how can global companies tap into untapped talent?” The attendees then listened to Irina
Lunina, founder of Miramom, a platform that helps experienced working professionals who are parents to find a flexible job. In the US, 43% of highly qualified women with children leave workplace due to lack of flexibility at the workplace. The break out session then focused on how the companies can change their policies in order to keep them or have them back.
The final pitch and brainstorming session were animated by Catherine Barba on how can companies’ integrate diversity in their innovation strategy ? A question she addressed by founding the Women In Innovation (WIN) forum. Their mission states “The future is diverse. The future is inclusive.”
1. Inspire with concrete examples & create synergies between people that share values and the will to have a positive impact.
2. Show how innovation can lead to economic models that deliver positive impact on society and/or the environment
3. Gather those who wish to develop positive practice and bring them to the forefront of their teams or business.
This is a new club on the model of Sparknews’ Positive Innovation Club launched in Paris in 2016. Since then, 40 members have joined the Club: LVMH, AccorHotels, Pernod Ricard, AXA, BNP Paribas, SUEZ, Total, Danone, Air France, Pierre & Vacances, Club Med, L’Oréal, La poste, ADEME, Nestle Waters, Sanofi, Lagardère… Each event organised was attended on average by 100 people in innovative places in Paris: coworking spaces like “SchoolLab”, incubators such as Paris Pionnières or spaces in innovative centers like Le HUB (Bpi France)… Members particularly enjoyed the networking side of the event, meeting people from different sectors, business units and companies, and co-creating solutions with them and social entrepreneurs around topics they care about. About 90% of the social entrepreneurs that came to pitch to the Club have kept on speaking with people from companies they have met in the Club.
The Positive Innovation Club in Paris brings together corporate leaders motivated by a desire to bring positive long-lasting changes to society through corporate actions.