Tag Archives: public relations

When is the right time to hire a PR agency?

This is a question that frequently arises as companies grow. We have 25 years’ corporate communications experience to draw on in being able to advise on this. We have worked with hundreds of companies at different points in their development, from seed funded start-ups to listed multinationals looking for a reputational reboot or an image refresh. There are probably just 2 key questions that you need to ask yourself when thinking about whether it is the right time to work with a PR agency regardless of size and life stage of organisation.

 

1.  Are you clear on what you want PR to deliver?


2. Do you have enough time and resource to work with a PR agency?

 

This article addresses question one, with part two to follow next week.

1. ARE YOU CLEAR ON WHAT YOU WANT PR TO DELIVER?

This might seem like an obvious question, but it is more complicated than it may appear. PR is just one discipline in a big bag of ever blurring marketing competencies. If you asked most people to describe what PR means to them, most would say ‘press coverage’, but media relations (or some call it publicity) is just one of the ways in which PR does the job of building awareness, preference and influence with different groups of stakeholders.

Public relations, to give it its full name, can be relevant for all the different audiences that matter to organisations, from perhaps the most obvious one – customers, to others including investors, commercial partners, trade and industry groups, regulators, NGOs and even internal audiences like staff and other companies in a group.

With these potential audiences there are naturally different ways to reach them. The media is certainly one route, but it is by no means the only one. Social media channels are what we PR firms class as ‘owned’ rather than ‘earned’ media and they need content strategies and pro-active management in order to do their work of engaging with relevant audiences.  Speaking at conferences and events, organising your own events from attention grabbing stunts, to product sampling, round tables and panel discussions, winning awards, publishing research and white papers, making a podcast or a video, holding a staff townhall – all of these are valid ways of reaching an audience and PR firms get involved in delivering all of them to a greater or lesser degree, depending on client needs.

So, if you know the who? (audience) and the how? (the channel you are going to use to reach them), then you need to figure out the what? Or rather, the content, what you are going to say – your messaging. This is also a very typical part of a PR firm’s mandate, to help clients figure out what they want to communicate when they stand on platforms or give press interviews to make the desired impression. All this may appear to be achingly obvious, but ask anyone who has experienced the messaging inconsistency of a fast-growing company’s leadership team who are all going off in different directions with their own agenda and they will tell you that projecting a consistent and clear message doesn’t happen without some professional intervention. The other classic is the untrained spokesperson who lets slip some information before they should to a journalist, either because they are nervous, distracted or pressured into it.

Let’s assume for the sake of brevity, that you have figured out your messaging, (naturally it flows from your vision and mission), and you have a clear comms plan in place that is going to get your story in front of the people that matter, the only thing left to figure out is how you will know what success looks like?

There are plenty of people who think PR is an expensive waste of time. There are others, like Bill Gates who share the opinion, “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.” I would put money on the fact that the main difference in their experience is that those in the Gates camp were clear from the outset what they wanted their PR to deliver and they agreed with their PR team how it would be measured, evaluated and reported on.

Too often, inexperienced people – on both the client and agency side – fail to do this part well enough at the outset. The result is that they discover too late that their expectations were never aligned, or that their understanding of the impact of the outcomes was not the same.

In its broadest definition, (that of attention that has been earned because something was clever,  entertaining or thought provoking rather than paid for through advertising or sponsorship) PR can deliver an outsize return on investment.

But it is important to be realistic. One press release about a product upgrade isn’t going to set the world on fire. Generally speaking, to get attention, you need to invest careful thought and realistic amounts of money, but that’s not to say that an unusually creative idea, or a brilliantly charismatic spokesperson won’t generate a huge return on investment (ROI). That’s the holy grail that every client and every PR person is always chasing.


NEXT TIME:

2. Do you have enough time and resource to work with a PR agency?

Gong wins again at 2023 Africa SABRE Awards

Gong Communications was delighted to win two Certificates of Excellence at the 2023 Africa SABRE Awards which highlight superior achievement in branding, reputation, and engagement.

The team was recognised for its work across Africa with clients the Global Institute for Disease Elimination (GLIDE) and Aon, the multinational financial services firm.

The international development communications team has been working with GLIDE as its PR partner since 2021, naming and launching its inaugural Falcon Awards for Disease Elimination (FADE). The team received recognition within the Central Africa category for its media relations support as well as developing and managing the content for GLIDE’s Webisodes Campaign, “Building Awareness to End Diseases of Poverty”.

As D&I communications experts, the Aon team was commended, alongside its African partners Phyllion & Partners Limited, within the Superior Achievement in Research and Planning category for their work on the industry staple, Dive In Nigeria. The 2022 event marked Gong’s third year in supporting the insurance giant’s event and is part of the global Dive In Festival – the largest diversity and inclusion employee engagement brand platform of its type, developed with Gong.  This year’s Dive In Festival will be held between 26th-28th September 2023 and will include branded events across the globe.

It’s the third consecutive year that the corporate communications team, which operates out of its London and Nairobi offices, has enjoyed success at the SABRE Awards. In 2022 the team won the Central Africa and Media Relations categories for its work with African private equity firm, Birimian Ventures. In 2021 the Aon team won again within the Research and Planning and Public Education categories, receiving a Certificate of Excellence in the Financial and Professional Services category.

Greece’s Sovereign Wealth Fund appoints bespoke team of International ESG advisors to build value of its public assets portfolio

A multi-disciplinary group of international advisors led by ESG specialists, Earth Active, has been appointed by Greece’s sovereign wealth fund, Growthfund.

The group, comprising London-headquartered Earth Active and Gong Communications and Athens- based Sympraxis, combines expertise in ESG audit, capacity building, policy and strategy and best practice implementation with ESG stakeholder communications.

Commenting on the appointment, Anthi Trokoudi, Chief Communications and Sustainability Officer at Growthfund said, “The international team we have appointed draws on specialists with many years’ experience, much of it honed in complex contexts where they have perfected the art and science of combining data and culture to bring about transformations that support ESG best practice. What our team in Growthfund aims for with regards to the vital issues of Sustainability and Climate is to achieve managing public companies and public real estate responsibly”.

Narda Shirley, Gong Communications Founder & CEO said, “The role of the sovereign and public wealth funds has never been more important in demonstrating global leadership on climate change, a just transition and the biodiversity crisis. Our bespoke, cross-functional team brought together for this unique engagement is supporting the team at Growthfund in delivering its vision to add value to Greece’s public enterprises and assets for the benefit of its people. We feel very lucky to be part of this ambitious project and for the association with such an iconic portfolio of assets that includes at one extreme flagship real estate and at the other, infrastructure projects such as the refurbished Corinth Canal.”


About Growthfund

Growthfund, the National Fund of Greece is a holding company established in 2016 with the Greek State as its sole shareholder, as represented by the Minister of Finance. Its mission, as Greece’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, is to: play an active role in the modernisation of Public Enterprises, maximise the value of public property, ensure enhanced services for citizens/consumers and contribute to the national economy.  In 2021, Growthfund (HCAP), signed up to the One Planet Sovereign Wealth Fund initiative (OPSWF). Growthfund’s portfolio includes subsidiaries and holdings in public enterprises that are active in key sectors of the Greek economy, such as Real Estate: Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), Hellenic Public Properties Company (HPPC), GAIAOSE, ETVA-VIPE, TIF HELEXPO; Energy and Utilities: PPC, EYDAP, EYATH; Transport and Infrastructure: Athens International Airport, OASA (Transport for Athens) AEDIK, 23 Regional Airports; Food Supply: CMT, CMFO, Hellenic Saltworks; Technology: PHAISTOS Fund; and Postal Services: HELLENIC POST The value of the portfolio managed by Growthfund currently stands at €6 billion, and its companies have a total of 31,000 employees.


About Earth Active

Earth Active is a globally experienced team of bespoke ESG advisors, with headquarters in London. We create sustainable value for clients from their investments by understanding the intrinsic links between E, S and G, and focusing on the investment outcome. We are specialists in leadership and governance with a deep technical understanding of the challenges of climate change, biodiversity, environmental, and social performance.  We work across the agriculture and forestry, energy and renewables, manufacturing, industrial and extractives and retail sectors for clients including development finance institutions, commercial banks, private equity and multinational companies.


About Gong Communications

Gong Communications, part of the Wilful Group, is a corporate and B2B communications agency with offices in London and Nairobi. A certified B Corp since 2017, Gong works at the intersection of finance & risk, sustainability and global development for clients including the IFC, UNESCO, Aon and Old Mutual. Alongside ESG, key themes in its work for clients include stakeholder communications around diversity and inclusion, innovation, entrepreneurship and technology.


About Sympraxis

Sympraxis team provides end to end sustainability strategy, implementation and communication services to clients such as OTE (Deutsche Telecom), Papastratos (Philip Morris International), Beiesdorf, Google, SOS Children’s villages and the European Commision. In the past 22 years Sympraxis has supported more than 500 projects with an overall value that exceeds 50m€, in 16 countries throughout the globe.

Gong Communications launches Morrow Sodali ESG capability in the UK

Gong Communications launches Morrow Sodali ESG capability in the UK via thought leadership programme and expert panel event

 

Investor and stakeholder expectations are changing rapidly, and while climate issues have taken centre stage in ESG plans and disclosures, an increasing focus is being placed on social impact reporting. Decisions taken by corporates are under increased scrutiny, with stakeholders keen to understand how businesses are ensuring they contribute to a just and green transition.

A global business with a 50 year track record of successfully advising board members and executives, Morrow Sodali provides bespoke counsel to reinforce and reassure boards on best practice when it comes to ESG.

To help launch the company’s UK ESG offering, Gong Communications worked with Morrow Sodali to design and host a panel event focused on the challenges and evolving requirements of social impact reporting. Held at The Walbrook Club in the heart of the city, a panel comprising representatives from the Financial Reporting Council, ShareAction, Rio Tino and The Church of England Pensions Board was moderated and hosted by BBC business journalist Adam Shaw. A packed room of decision makers from FTSE-listed companies kept the discussion going well after the panel itself.

In addition to the event, targeted thought leadership opportunities were secured for Morrow Sodali in Global Investor Magazine and Portfolio Institutional Magazine and a short video was produced to record both the event and the business’ understanding of this fast-evolving issue for publicly listed companies.

 

 

To learn more about our thought leadership and publishing support, and how we can support you with video production, contact us

82 million refugees calling for sanctuary – what can we do?

 

1 in every 95 people on Earth has fled their home. War, religious violence, political persecution and famine are forcing people from their homes to the temporary safety of neighbouring countries – 85 per cent of which are developing nations.

As part of a wider community of B Corps using business as a force for good, we wanted to use our PR expertise to help the very charities that are creating a safer, more inclusive world for forcibly displaced persons and refugees. And so, on 20 June 2021, Gong’s Refugee Press Office was born.

WHERE ARE WE NOW?

Twelve months since we launched our CSR press office, we’ve been busy supporting several refugee and humanitarian-related charities.

We’ve long been advocates for Refugee Support Europe, backing its mission of Aid with Dignity. With refugees and migration becoming increasingly politicised in the UK, the work of charities and NGOs in protecting the rights of refugees has never been more important. Volunteers are the backbone of these organisations, so we were delighted when Refugee Support asked us to help them with PR around their annual Dignify Festival. The event brought together established and upcoming music and comedy acts to raise funds to support the resettlement of Afghan refugees and provide them with essential food and hygiene items.

Held at The Bedford in Balham, Ronnie Scott’s regular Sarah Jane Morris and Hip Hop Blingo kept the crowd entertained on a drizzly November evening. In the run up to the event, we secured coverage in local titles to support ticket sales, securing coverage in London News Online, South London Press and Balham Newsie.

The event was a huge success, raising £65,000 to support the charity’s operations.

DIGNITY FOR VICTIMS FOR WAR

The war in Ukraine has seen more than 14 million people flee their homes in search for safety in neighbouring countries and across the world. Moldova, one of the poorest countries in Europe which sits to the southwest of Ukraine, has seen its population swell as a result. This is exactly where Refugee Support decided to set up its next Dignity Centre. To assist in their fundraising efforts, we placed op-eds on behalf of co-founder, Paul Hutchings in the Independent and Charity Times, where he highlighted the importance of buying locally to boost local economies where refugees reside, rather than shipping donations from the UK.

PR WITH PURPOSE ACROSS THE GLOBE

Gong has also been lending its expertise to the Refugee Consortium of Kenya, helping to increase engagement across its social platforms.  We have delivered research on digital volunteer networks for Indigo Volunteers, a platform which connects volunteers with humanitarian projects.

Elsewhere, we have been busy assisting Alive & Kicking, an African social enterprise that promotes health education through sport, with the announcement of the winners of its second annual Youth with Refugees Art Contest. It has created over 1,000 jobs and donated more than 120,000 footballs to young people to improve health, fitness and wellbeing.

Refugee-Support-Europe-with-Gong-Communications
Pictured: Refugee Support volunteers at the Dignity Centre.

THE YEAR AHEAD

Looking ahead to what our CSR programme will look like over the next 12 months has got us buzzing with ideas. Employees are asked to pitch charities that they are passionate about, before the whole company votes to decide a favourite. Whichever it is, we’ll make sure we do our bit as a dedicated B Corp, to show how business can also be a force for good.

If you run a refugee charity and need communications support from press office, events management, brand awareness to digital PR and website development, please get in touch at info@gongcommunications.com.

Better business for all

On April 20, Gong Communications founder, Narda Shirley joined other signatories to the Better Business Act at the House of Commons to lobby MPs for a change in the law. If passed, the Better Business Act would amend section 172 of the Companies Act so that businesses are legally obliged to consider all stakeholders. As it stands, company directors are accountable to shareholders with profit maximisation as their primary fiduciary duty.

 

signatories

 

This change would mean companies are no longer able to pursue profit at the expense of workers, communities or the environment. It could help transform the way we do business and free decision-makers to act in favour of balancing in long-term interests, rather than chasing short-term financial gain.

Better Business Day kicked off with a panel discussion featuring CEOs from graze.com, Pukka Herbs and Ella’s Kitchen, moderated by Financial Times journalist Joy Lo Dico. Innocent Drinks CEO Douglas Lamont, co-chair of the Better Business Act Campaign, told the audience: “We must remove that hiding place for directors that all they have to do is maximise profit in today’s world. Companies must now balance the interests of people, profit and planet.”

Mary Portas, the campaign’s other co-Chair added her remarks and shared anecdotes about her early career as a young female company director at the luxury retailer, Harvey Nichols. She reflected on the role she and other company Directors played, believing it was their responsibility in the ‘80’s ‘greed is good’ culture to encourage consumer consumption of brands without thinking about the effect on the environment or the workers in global supply chains.

The campaign has already gained over 1,000 supporters, including The Body Shop, Oddbox and Virgin StartUp. It was initiated by B Lab UK, which serves the growing community of UK-based companies which are certified B Corporations.

Gong founder Narda Shirley says. “We know from the work we do with our clients that lots of businesses are already acting in a way that takes care of their employees, communities and the environment. But the law has not kept up with this change in business culture – that is what we’re trying to address with this act.”

One of the key actions of the campaign is to get signatories to write to their MP. There is a template letter on the Better Business Act web site that cites a survey of members of the Institutes of Directors as finding a majority think the current Companies Act focuses too much on shareholders and not enough on wider stakeholders.

It also references Research by the Better Business Act which shows that companies run in line with the principles of the Act can expect faster growth in turnover and headcount; greater levels of employee retention and diversity, and higher levels of innovation.

The same research found that 76 per cent of people in the UK want businesses to be legally responsible for their impact. They think that business has a responsibility to protect the environment and the majority favour brands that do good in the world.

At Gong, we urge businesses to add their voice in calling on the government to change section 172 of the Companies Act to make this official. Let’s ensure that all businesses are held to account and are legally required to make decisions that benefit workers, communities and the environment, while delivering profit.

To join the campaign, click here.

Unlocking the wildlife economy

Africa is taking the lead when it comes to realising the potential the wildlife economy has to offer. Home to abundant wildlife and diverse habitats, it is perhaps not surprising that the journey to unlocking and diversifying the wildlife economy begins on this continent.  


 

Investing in natural infrastructure is a win-win. It means habitats can be restored, species saved and jobs created. It benefits people, nature and business alike, but governments and policy makers often fail to see nature as a key strategic asset. Instead, conserving wildlife is frequently viewed as a direct threat to economic development.   

Helping to turn this view around is the School of Wildlife Conservation (SOWC) at the African Leadership University in Rwanda. Its Director of Research Sue Snyman says the economic value of wildlife in Africa is still not recognised. To remedy this, SOWC has published a report on the State of the Wildlife Economy in Africa to show governments in concrete terms just how much the continent’s natural capital contributes to the economy.  

The report focuses on the ‘Big Five’ activities of the wildlife economy: ecotourism, carbon markets, forest products, hunting and fishing, and game ranching. Snyman hopes the research will encourage governments to invest more in nature.  

 

HOW DO YOU PUT A PRICE ON AFRICA’S WILDLIFE?

Traditionally, the wildlife economy has centred on ecotourism. In Africa alone, the wildlife safari industry is estimated to bring in between US$12.4 billion and US$42.9 billion in revenue. In 1981, our client African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) helped found one of the most famous ecotourism projects on the continent – the Mountain Gorilla Project in Rwanda. Thanks to its work, the mountain gorilla population has grown from only a few hundred at its lowest point to over 1,000 today – giving them the dubious honour of being the only great ape species whose population is increasing.  

The project has been such a success that it is now facing another problem: a lack of space. The gorillas are so numerous that they are frequently roaming outside the park boundary, putting them in direct conflict with people. The Rwandan Government is planning to expand the park by 37.4 square kilometres, increase tourists’ viewing opportunities and invest more than $70 million in social housing and infrastructure for Rwandans living around the park. This will provide jobs for more than 7,500 people in tourism, construction, agriculture and service sectors.  

 

WHO BENEFITS?

 This is the wildlife economy operating at its best. A system where everyone and everything benefits – wildlife, habitats and people alike. But the Covid-19 pandemic threw this, and many other ecotourism projects across the world, into chaos. When the tourism industry shut down, it became very clear that the wildlife economy needs to diversify if it is going to survive.   

One way to do this is to find other uses for species. Developing a sustainable wild meat sector through game farming (think ostrich, crocodile, antelope) can bring benefits to local communities, like food security, and even to the environment if it is done in the right way. So can game ranching – if management practices are up to scratch. The South African government is working with experts to explore the potential for a certification scheme within the ranching sector.  

Hunting remains a highly emotive topic. Some countries, like Kenya, have banned it altogether. Others, like Zimbabwe, focus on foreign hunters rather than locals, and countries such as the UK have plans to ban the import of hunting trophies from Africa. Francis Vorhies, Director of the African Wildlife Economy Institute (AWEI) at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, believes that 2022 needs to be the year we start a serious conversation about hunting. To this end, AWEI will be researching the role wild harvesting – including hunting – can play in conservation and economic development.  

It can be easy to forget that the wildlife economy is about more than just animals. Traditionally, definitions exclude plants but according to Gus le Breton, CEO of African Plant Hunter, that is wrong. Plants provide both the habitat and food for wild animals and are integral to the wildlife economy, he argues. In his vision, Africa is the new frontier for natural ingredient research. 

 

WHAT IS THE GLOBAL IMPACT?

The FairWild Foundation is trying to ensure that plant species, such as the baobab, rooibos, myrrh and frankincense, are harvested and traded responsibly. It has already certified 25 species from 14 countries. Newly appointed CEO Deborah Vorhies says she hopes the scheme will grow the market for wild-harvested plants and at the same time conserve landscapes and enhance local livelihoods.   

Plants and trees also form a central plank to another facet of the wildlife economy – carbon markets. Last year Gabon became the first African country to receive payment for reducing carbon emissions by protecting its rainforest, which covers 90 per cent of its territory and captures more carbon than the country emits. So far Gabon has received $17 million, the first tranche of $150 million from the UN-backed Central African Forest Initiative, by showing it has reduced deforestation.   

Private sector interest in natural climate solutions has also grown significantly. French multinational Danone, for example, has invested €3 million in a project to restore a mangrove forest in Senegal, which is expected to capture and store around 600,000 tons of CO2.  

Relationships between investors – be they from the private sector, governments or UN agencies – and those on the ground delivering conservation need to be nurtured if the wildlife economy is to blossom. In March, we helped AWF do just this at an event for more than 50 guests from the sustainability, finance and investment sectors and expert speakers from AWF Rwanda, Wilderness Safaris and FSD Africa, at the Royal Geographical Society in London.  

 

If you are a charity or startup business seeking investment and require PR support, please contact our expert communications team direct at info@gongcommunications.com and we’ll be in touch.

B Corp Month 2022 Part 3: A celebration of 10 international companies #BehindTheB 

PART 3: HOW CAN OTHERS B THE CHANGE?

In the finale of our 3-part series zooming in to focus on 10 inspiring international B Corps, we’re heading out East Asia to spotlight 3 more certified organisations. Gong’s B Corp Committee member and Senior Account Executive, Ryan Witton, acts as your guide to the final fab three.

If you missed Part 1: Where it all started, click here for the full blog.

To catch up on Part 2: B Corps all over the world, click here.

TREE PLANET

Tree Planet began life as a simple tree planting game on smartphones in South Korea and led to the planting of over 1 million trees in areas suffering from desertification like China and Mongolia. Now environmentally conscious individuals can plant trees by ‘adopting’ a pet tree that will sit in one of Tree Planet’s many themed forests. 

Tree Planet aims to plant 100 million trees worldwide by 2050, and more recently began its ‘Make Your Farm’ project to introduce environmentally friendly and sustainable coffee production methods to independent farmers. 

 

MYCOTECH

In West Java, Indonesia, Mycotech binds agricultural waste with mushroom mycelia to literally grow 100% natural building and textile materials. These eco-tech building materials offer effective heat insulation while its leather-like durable fabrics are animal-free and used in a variety of fashion apparel like shoes, wallets and bags. 

Mycotech has a strong circular economy model, re-using, recycling and composting its side streams and waste products, with very little entering landfill at the end of the process. The company-wide mantra is, “Change is a choice – and we choose to take the steps forward towards sustainability.” We’re with you Mycotech! 

 

ETHIQUE

And last but by no means least, we head down to NZ to meet a cosmetics brand based out of Christchurch, with a core guiding principle: healthy products, made with sustainable, naturally derived ingredients. Ethique eschews plastic bottles and harsh chemicals and instead produces super dense beauty product bars. These types of solid cosmetics have a long shelf life and can be used endlessly due to a high concentration of ingredients. Ethique advises consumers that their solid bars last up to 5 times as longer than their liquid alternatives with the added bonus being chemical and preservative free – great for all budgets, skin types and local water quality. 

 

That’s a wrap! We hope you’ve enjoyed following us on this virtual trek to meet just 10 of the amazing7 4,700+ B Corps across the globe. If your organisation is on a mission to make positive change for people and planet, access B Lab’s free eLearning toolkit at https://gongcommunications.com/gong-tapped-for-danone-and-b-lab-employee-engagement-brief/ 

B Lab is the non-profit network transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet.

B Corp Month 2022 Part 2: A celebration of 10 international companies #BehindTheB 

PART 2: B CORPS ALL OVER THE WORLD 

Welcome back for part 2 of this 3-part blog celebrating the achievements and commitments of international B Corp organisations. With 4,700 of them already certifying as part of a movement that believes business can be a force for good, we’ve picked 10 companies dotted around the world to shine a light on their activity, creating change for people, community and planet.  

Here’s more from Gong’s B Corp Committee member and Senior Account Executive, Ryan Witton. 

If you missed Part 1: Where it all started, click here to read the full blog.

 

TAZE & KURU 

In the city of Ankara, Turkish brand Taze & Kuru (meaning fresh and dried) is using ancient methods of food preservation to reduce food waste and embrace cultural traditions. It has pioneered a unique renewable energy powered food-drying process. 

How does it work? Well, the facility produces healthy snacks free from preservatives and additives. And its carbon footprint? An impressive 0 tonnes of carbon emissions are released in the process. The company believes that health and happiness is driven by the food we eat saying, “changing our eating habits can create miracles.” 

  

INSPIRA FARMS

Heading to West Africa, we spotted our innovative friends at InspiraFarms who provide agribusinesses across Africa with off grid cold chain solutions to reduce food loss and waste. With operations near clients in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Ghana and a UK HQ, the company provides tools, technology and expertise to support innovative farming and crop management. We salute its triple impact, reducing food loss and energy costs while helping farmers and coperatives unlock access to higher-value markets. Check out this agri-tech on a mission using the latest IoT and cloud-based systems, solar kits, cold rooms and other cool, cooling technologies. 

 

TRUTRADE AFRICA

Working out of Uganda and Kenya, TruTrade provides smallholder farmers with routes to market and fair prices for their produce. The social enterprise uses the ‘supply power’ of millions of small-scale producers connecting them with sustainable value chains. TruTrade also offers a mobile trading and payment platform which opens up new possibilities for farmers. This gives global commodity buyers the ability to connect with their smallholder farm suppliers. The B Corp is proud of its community impact too, helping local people drive rural development for future generations.  

  

LUBANZI WINES

Next stop, Cape Town! We’re shining the spotlight on the founders of Lubanzi Wines – they had a vision to create a social enterprise that would make a difference to the lives of agricultural labourers, with a strong focus on safeguarding the human rights of all their employees at every stage of production  

As part of Lubanzi Wines’ community pledge, 50% of net profits are recycled back into the Pebbles Project, a non-profit that supports families who live and work on South Africa’s wine farms. The company is planet-focused too and has achieved an impressive carbon neutral operation with 100% of its carbon footprint being completely removed or offset. 

 

There are a few more B Corps to reveal in our 10-stop international B Corp spotlight blog. Visit our social media channels for more in the finale of our 3-part series celebrating international corporate social responsibility (CSR) with 10 B Corp certified organisations. Can you guess where we’ll be going to next?  

B Lab is the non-profit network transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet. To learn more about how your organisation can change for good, take the free eLearning course with B Lab.

B Corp Month 2022 Part 1: A celebration of 10 international companies #BehindTheB 

With this year’s B Corp Month of March set to be the biggest on record, Gong’s B Corp Committee set off to learn more about the B Corp movement globally and how creating change from within our organisations can benefit people, communities and the planet. 

B Lab is a non-profit organisation on a mission to enable companies around the world to create a positive environmental and social impact. We think their mantra, “Make Business a Force for Good” embodies all the values of the B Corp movement helping to drive better standards and catalyse change – it’s already impacting more than 300,000 workers worldwide. 

Gong Communications, which celebrated its B Corp recertification this year, is a supporter of B Corp initiatives including the Better Business Act and related campaigns including greener pensions movement, Make My Money Matter, always striving to do more with other B Corps, both as clients and suppliers. 

In this new blog series, we hear from Gong B Corp Committee member and Senior Account Executive, Ryan Witton, who has been on the hunt for compelling B Corps based outside the UK to learn more about the diversity of impact around this growing global movement.  

 

PART 1: WHERE IT ALL STARTED

 

I’ve been engaged with B Corp for over a year now at Gong and in that time our B Corp Committee has learnt a lot about the different industries joining the movement. There’s a huge mix of products and services from various sectors, but one thing remains the same – a shared passion for social and environmental interdependence. 

At Gong, we feel it’s important to celebrate our fellow B Corps around the world using business as a force for good. There are currently over 4,700 certified B Corporations scattered across more than 70 countries, so whittling them down to just 10 was no easy feat! If you want to take a look at the wide range of certified B Corps out there, make sure to explore the online B Corp Directory. 

In the first blog of this 3-part series, we’re going to the Americas, both South and North – where it all started for B Lab. So in no particular order, let’s introduce our first B Corp. 

 

UNCOMMON GOODS

How much do you know about B Corp founding member, Uncommon Goods? The company founded an arts and crafts marketplace based in New York putting people and the environment at the heart of its business. Uncommon Goods offers consumers a place to discover creative designs by independent artists and craftspeople. Its catalogue is printed on recycled paper, delivered in environmentally friendlier packaging, and artists are also encouraged to use recycled or sustainable materials. Items available for sale are completely free of fur, feather, leather or pearl, and it donates $1 for each purchase to non-profits through its Better to Give programme 

  

ECO POOP

Sitting just north of the equator, Colombian company Eco Poop collects organic waste from pets and passes it through a bio-transformative process, creating excellent pesticide-free fertilisers for soils and plants. The enterprise installs kits in residential communities and provides all the tools (bespoke shovels and paper bags) that animal lovers need to create a culture of responsible pet ownership. 

Kudos to Eco Poop whose ingenious business model makes communal outdoor spaces healthier and free of pathogens for all. It’s also reducing CO2 emissions and helping to tackle climate change. 

 

ECOFACTORY

Next we’re heading further south to sunny Buenos Aires to give a shoutout to Ecofactory which makes reusable, recyclable shopping bags. Each month it produces more than 5 million plant-based bags with biodegradable textiles made from crops home-grown in Argentina. As well as pledging carbon neutrality by 2030, Ecofactory believes in Fair Trade and has a commitment to fairness across its entire commercial chain. In 2021, it won a B Corp award in the ‘Best for the World’ category. 

 

B Lab is the non-profit network transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet. To learn more about the movement take the B Corp 101 – 4 super accessible and free eLearning modules that you can complete on any device, designed by Gong in response to an idea generously gifted to the community by Danone working in partnership with B Lab.

Come back for more in part 2 of our B Corp series where we shine a light on 10 B Corps who are using businesses as a force for good.