Crisis 1: At least 2 billion people worldwide are malnourished. According to the CDC, from 1999 –2000 through 2017 –2018, the rate of US obesity prevalence increased from 30.5 percent to 42.4 percent, with the prevalence of extreme obesity doubling to 9.2 percent. And those statistics are from before the impact of the pandemic compounded these troubling issues.
Dietary risk factors — what scientists call “suboptimal nutrition” — whether from hunger or glut — cause 11 million deaths each year — and cut short 255 million more through chronic diseases directly linked to our food intake.
McKinleyville, California’s seafood industry veteran Bill Carvalho co-founded Wild Planet Foods in 2005, after years of exasperation with the unsustainable practices he witnessed — and sometimes reluctantly practiced — in his industry.
A seminal family visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium had rocked his boat. “In 2001, I really had an epiphany,” Carvalho tells We First. The aquarium was featuring a display called Oceans in Crisis. “I came out of there with the resolve to be an insider, to extend the olive branch to whomever would be interested in shifting to the right way of treating the oceans.”
Davis Smith, the serial entrepreneur who co-founded the outdoor gear and apparel brand Cotopaxi with Wharton Business School buddy Stephan Jacob, and outdoor industry veteran CJ Whittaker seven years ago, had an idea that one could use a powerful company purpose to attract talent and continuously better the brand community.
“Having a strong and authentic social mission can differentiate you from your competitors,” he told Entrepreneur magazine. “It can also help attract and retain great talent.” Cotopaxi got more than 300 unsolicited job applicants in the month of its launch. …
XOMA Superfoods is a new brand and subsidiary of NEXE Innovations, based in British Columbia, CN. Its president and director, Ash Guglani, who co-founded NEXE in 2015, after more than a decade in the capital markets, spoke with me about the company’s Lead With We purpose thinking, financing, operations, and storytelling.
“Xoma” comes from the Greek word for soil or earth, Guglani explains, and represents a new, more ethical way to get good coffee and other superfoods, scientifically supported, which “are good for both you and the planet.”
The brand’s story starts with a big problem: The precipitous rise of…
Purpose At Work: How Liberty Mutual Ensures Our Most Vulnerable Neighbors Get Support
Liberty Mutual Insurance operates in 29 countries and economies today. But it didn’t begin as the household name it eventually became. With roots in Boston, it opened its doors just before WWI to provide worker’s compensation insurance. It offered its first automobile insurance policy more than a century ago — when there were only about five million passenger cars in the US (27 years after the first recorded auto accident in Ohio City, Ohio!)
Starbucks Corporation, the American multinational headquartered in Seattle, Washington, is the world’s largest coffeehouse chain. Celebrating its 50th year in business, it boasts 400,000 associates at more than 33,000 stores in 80+ countries. Trinidad and Tobago? Yes. Uruguay? Yep. Andorra? Bahrain? Kazakhstan? You’ll find Starbucks. It famously opened two stores every day on average for 20 years — and even opened 50 stores during the pandemic in 2020.
Averaging more than $30 billion in annual sales — led by coffee, its “black gold” staple — Starbucks is the second most valuable brand of fast service restaurants in the world, after…
They didn’t set out to become cultural titans — or even to revolutionize their own industry. At the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif. 34 years ago, Amy’s Kitchen founders Rachel and Andy Berliner debuted what they considered an imperfect vegetable pot pie prototype developed in their own kitchen.
The response was prodigiously encouraging. But as the couple rocked their four-month-old baby that day, neither was predicting their company would evolve to exert a massive impact on the clean food and sustainability movements, no less spearheading a cultural shift across North America and Europe.
While diversity, equity and inclusion are paramount to attracting and retaining top talent, many companies miss the mark. When brands do implement a program, it may not actually be effective. “For so long, we looked up at largely white men and asked them how the organization is doing on diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Michael Munoz, who leads diversity, equity and inclusion within Marketing at Google, tells We First. “We need to look at the Black, Latinx, Asian, indigenous populations and ask, ‘How are we doing at building a culture where you feel empowered and a strong sense of psychological safety?’”
Many business observers might assume that when a company reaches the point where Alpha Foods finds itself today — six years in; 50 employees; $40 million in funding; 30-something SKUs; and 9,000 retailers offering its product — it means “the marketplace” was simply sitting there waiting for someone to just step in and capture the opportunity.
Not so, says the pre-prepared plant-based food company’s Co-founder and CEO, Cole Orobetz. To “really attract people like gravity to the brand, the messaging — and shift people’s perceptions of what plant-based is” requires “hand to hand combat,” especially for the sales and marketing…
To build a purposeful business you must intertwine products, partnerships and storytelling with societal issues that go beyond your brand or industry. An excellent example of a brand weaving together these critical pillars of conscious leadership is Coolhaus. Architecture and super premium Ice Cream might seem like an unlikely combination, but Natasha Case and her partner Freya Estrella have built a chill business around those very things. They innovate by combining collaborations with brands like Ritz Crackers, offering plant-based options as well as supporting diversity in entrepreneurship and LGBTQ rights.
CEO We First Inc, author NYT's bestseller We First, strategic corporate consultant and trainer, father, Australian, optimist.