If you run a company or a fair chunk of it, and honestly want to steer your company to better climate and humanity focused stewardship (beyond keeping all those Gen Z and Millennials from joining your competition), it's worth having a genuine look at how the juniors in your office behave and using some of the principals in the development of your own and corporate KPIs.
Creating and ESG policy position, publishing purpose and even linking to UN SDGs is good, but genuinely taking the time to understand what your own employees and customers are really interested in will secure you far more impact.
STATUS IS TYPICALLY LINKED TO INFLUENCE, BUT IT IS SITUATIONAL.
IT MIGHT SURPRISE YOU TO DISCOVER THAT EMMA THE JUNIOR HAS INFLUENCE ALL OVER THE WORLD. IT'S BECAUSE OF A VERY SIMPLE SET OF REASONS. SHE BUYS FAIR TRADE, ORGANIC AND LOCAL GOODS. SHE ALSO RECYCLES, BUYS WELL MADE CLOTHES SHE CAN WASH AND MATCHES THEM WITH OP SHOP PURCHASES.
SHE POSTS ABOUT WHAT SHE DOES ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
It's not as if you have to spend hours a day mediating the subject. It's not something that you have to think about much once you get the hang of it, but if you do think about it, even a little, you begin to understand how your power, personally and professionally, can have way more conscious reach.
There are a thousand ways this point is true, but here's a few to get you thinking and whose logic might help drive your own corporate KPIs.
Fairtrade isn't just for ticking feel good boxes. It actually changes things. Fairtrade strategies effectively enable (mostly 3rd world) local adaptation and mitigation for climate, by ensuring that farmers get paid properly in the first place.
PAYING FAIR WAGES ALLOWS FARMERS TO PLAN THEIR PRODUCTION AND FARM MANAGEMENT AND GET OUT OF POVERTY. IT ALSO GETS COMMUNITIES AND COUNTRIES OFF INTERNATIONAL AID.
In many cases, fair trade support has also demonstrably lifted women in particular out of poverty, into education and roles within communities. The impact on climate when the lives of women is secure, is well documented.
WORKING WOMEN INVEST MORE IN LOCAL COMMUNITIES, MORE EDUCATED WOMEN HAVE LESS CHILDREN AND COMMUNITIES TEND TO BE FAR MORE PROACTIVELY MANAGED WITH WOMEN PARTICIPATING.
Biodynamic, organic and pesticide free food means less chemicals in the air, the waterways and in the ground. That means less people getting sick, less micro-organisms getting killed and less money for Monsanto. People like Emma know for instance that bee populations are dwindling because bees are being killed by pesticides ladeled onto crops like almonds. So she doesn't buy almonds or almond milk unless it's local and organic.
HIGH DEMAND FOR SPECIFIC FOOD DRIVES MONOCULTURE PRODUCTION AND HOMOGENISED FOOD SUPPLY. IT IS WELL DOCUMENTED THAT WE USED TO EAT AROUND 7,000 SPECIES OF PLANTS USED AS FOOD CROPS, BUT NOW PRETTY MUCH EAT 150 COMMERCIALLY GROWN CROPS.
Varieties within these crops are chosen for their responsiveness to chemical fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation water — and for their ability to withstand long-distance transport and sit in storage or on shelves.
One of the big issues with products like coffee, now the second most traded commodity after oil, is that that even if you buy Fair Trade and Organic, you are still generally shipping the product half-way across the world.
Buying anything local, supports your local community and the people who rely on you to make a living. Locally grown produce is invariably sold seasonally so is fresher, more nutritious and better for you.
Superannuation funds were among the first big players into the ethical investment space - and so they should be. Super is the one pile of money that is owned by every working Australian. With reportedly 86% of Australians now believing it’s important to invest in responsible or ethical options - that's not just ethics and morals, it's climate change.
Superannuation funds are a real litmus test of what is important to society as they need to be transparently investing in areas that won't become stranded assets by the time a 28-year-old turns 68. That's how a coal mine moves from being a climate change argument to an investment decision.
Voting with your wallet and posting on social media speaks loudly to the people who make stuff. Even if you don't do it, there are plenty of Emmas who are. The more we support good, clean, nutritious products, the more of them will be made. Brand loyalty in retail is a moot point anyway so it's not as if an expensive ad campaign is going to permanently revive flagging sales of crappy products.
People like Emma are conscious of the difference they can make to others - positively and negatively. They act consciously. They get brands to do better. They aren't just focused on who is doing what to who at the office.
By the way, Emma also takes less days off work, drinks way less than you and she really does have her eyes on you. Maybe you're a mentor, but more likely she's planning what she's going to do when she gets your job one day.
Maybe talk to her about it.