Empowering all of humankind to live fully, in balance with the natural world
To empower in this context means to make it easier for. All of humankind reflects our organization’s aspirations to make sustainable goods accessible and affordable to consumers all over the world. We believe we can achieve this ambitious vision by selflessly and strategically allocating the value our organization captures. To live fully is meant to encompass the comforts and conveniences the majority of us in developed nations currently have access to, i.e., electricity, transportation and consumer goods that enhance quality of life. We foresee and very much desire a world where these comforts will extend beyond the borders of developed nations reaching all corners of the globe. If, however, this is not pursued with sustainability at the forefront, it will add to the already excessive demands humankind is placing on the natural world. In balance with the natural world stems from our organization’s conviction that our planet’s biocapacity, combined with humanity’s existing knowledge base and currently available technologies, makes it possible for people of all nations to enjoy such comforts (in moderation) without compromising human health or the health of the natural world in the process. Our organization’s ultimate purpose is to play a key role in the forging of this path.
This business model was designed to empower each individual to change the world for the better through the products they use. Every single aspect of its design is centered around targeting and mitigating multiple global scale challenges with maximum efficiency.
By creating a central online platform (store) where people can conveniently access sustainable and ethically sourced options for most of the consumer goods they use on a regular basis, we can eliminate the majority of the obstacle’s one would normally experience during the transition from conventional products to more environmentally preferable options (inability to conduct required research, absence of foundational knowledge, etc.).
Foundational Standards Alone Designed to Have Considerable Impact
To have a sizable impact on life systems from the start and to instill a firm sense of trust in our customers, our efforts were initially focused on establishing an unparalleled set of standards and thus setting the new benchmark for the sustainability marketed goods industry.
Average Customer Rating Requirements and Redirecting the Customer’s Focus
The superior quality component of our standards, specifically, has the potential to make reviews regarding the quality of a product a secondary or less important consideration (every product must maintain an average customer rating of 4 out of 5 stars or higher or it is removed). This structure or dynamic has the potential to redirect the consumer’s attention to a different type of product rating, a sustainability rating. When consumers are looking at variations of a particular product, that come from different companies, and in cases where each option appears to offer a similar amount of value (in terms of average customer rating, pricing, etc.), the sustainability rating was designed to be the deciding factor.
Each product is carefully analyzed across its entire lifecycle, from raw material extraction to end of life and everything in between (8 measures to be exact). This data is encapsulated in a simple numerical rating, or sustainability rating, in the top left-hand corner of each product image.
How Global Scale Problems are Mitigated Through Concept
In addition to the foundational standards established, the rating system as a whole and each of the criterion encompassed therein was designed to mitigate multiple global scale challenges. Let’s use the measure “Sourcing Raw Materials” as an example. The actions companies must take in order to earn a point in this category impact the following (the criteria companies must meet in order to earn a point within a measure can be viewed via the “Sustainability Rating” link at the bottom of the website):
Consider the use of synthetic fertilizers versus the natural process of decomposition (or composting) and all of the secondary effects; gradual loss of micronutrients and soil productivity, carbon sequestration losses, contaminate runoff, sub-optimal water retention, erosion, and the potential for desertification.
Resource Depletion, Habitat Destruction and Loss of Biodiversity
Consider tree-based products that are sourced from an area that has been clear cut on leased land vs. products sourced from an FSC certified forest for example.
Air, Water and Soil Pollution
Consider the mining tailings which result from lightly regulated mining operations versus carefully controlled practices, or the agricultural waste that stems from non-organic vs. organic operations.
Microclimates and percolation (formation of groundwater tables) are impacted by the loss of biomass and topsoil which oftentimes result from unsustainable primary sector activity (associated with extraction of raw materials). Pollution from agricultural operations, mining and other industrial activity too significantly impact freshwater availability as well as the global cumulative decrease in healthy soil (unhealthy soils retain less water).
Dead zones, coral reef bleaching, acidification, phytoplankton populations and biodiversity losses are all heavily influenced by non-organic agricultural activity and human induced climate irregularities.
Reduce Energy Used
In many cases, only a fraction of the energy is required to manufacture when using recycled materials versus virgin materials.
Illness and Disease
Consider how air, water and soil quality is impacted by (a) non-organic agricultural activity (b) poorly managed forestry practices and (c) lightly regulated mining operations to name a few, and the impact those activities have on the health of humans and that of the natural world.
Similar to the above example, each of the other criterion for the sustainability rating was designed to impact multiple challenges.
Implications for Competitive Environment
The long-term positive implications of such a system are important to emphasize. When customer reviews regarding quality become a less important consideration, and consumers purchasing choices are subtly being shaped by a sustainability rating, this can place a considerable amount of pressure on organizations – forcing them to adopt sustainability initiatives in order to remain competitive. This newly introduced dynamic has the potential to rapidly advance Responsible Production and Consumption or SDG #12.
Affordability and Value Distribution
Accessibility to sustainable and ethically sourced products can theoretically be improved through a trusted, united platform. This gateway has the potential to increase sales for the suppliers of such products and can conceivably pave the way to a decrease in per unit costs for manufacturers through scale, with the aim of bringing the cost of sustainable goods to a level that’s competitive with conventional products. As unsustainable activity continues to influence the supply of conventionally sourced products, market forces too will play a role in the eventual cost advantages and net positive gain of environmentally preferable options. Strict adherence to a stakeholder-based capitalism structure (fair-minded value distribution) can accelerate this transition.
Transparency and Democracy
This concept was designed to create and distribute value in a way that’s going to have the greatest societal and environmental impacts. In support of this code of ethics, when we are in a position to deploy the needed technology, we will have pricing transparency for each product, we will make financial statements publicly available, and democratic processes will be devised to equitably manage the way value is allocated.
Remarkable Gift and Single Greatest Purpose
Short term goals are centered around stabilizing global production and consumption while long-term plans are focused on restoration of already degraded ecosystems. A practical starting point might involve public sector collaboration centered around the regional collection of food waste and other organic matter from urban areas – hotels and resorts, restaurants, grocery stores, school and hospital cafeterias, etc. – speeding up the process of decomposition through composting techniques, and then using those materials to restore nutrients to affected areas. These actions can alone lay the foundation for restoration of certain types of ecosystems and begin reversing the secondary effects of degradation.
A portion of the restored areas could then be designated as permanent wilderness sanctuaries while the remaining areas could be sustainably and ethically managed for the continuity of needed resources. The ability to restore life is unequivocally the most remarkable gift we as a species possess and the action of doing so is arguably the single greatest purpose of our time.
A heartfelt thank you to those who inspired this vision
Andrew Kortina, Bill Gates, Catherine Long, Chelsea Rochman, Christopher M. Long, Dalai Lama, David Attenborough, David Suzuki, Delia and Mark Owens, Doug Tomkins, Edward O Wilson, Elon Musk, Howard Zinn, Jane Goodall, Jared Diamond, Jim Rohn, Kathy Stevens, Kieran Suckling, Klaus Schwab, Lawrence C. Smith, Liam Doyle, Linda Kledzik, Lindsey Christian, Mark Long, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Sam Altman, Sogyal Rinpoche, Stephanie Basileri, Sylvia Earle, The Union of Concerned Scientists, Thomas Long, and a special thanks to each of the purpose-driven founders of those companies whose products comprise our offerings, without whom, the creation of this united platform would have never been possible.