The Uncommon Life

How to Help Change the World with What’s in Your Wallet

December 19, 2017

*Editor’s note: On November 26, 2017, UncommonGoods participated in Shop for Good Sunday. Following Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, Shop for Good Sunday celebrates businesses that make a positive impact on the world. The newest addition to themed post-Thanksgiving shopping days, Shop for Good Sunday was founded by the team at DoneGood, a social enterprise working to put people in touch with brands that share their values. DoneGood’s Cullen Schwarz took a moment to tell us about his company’s mission and why “consumerism” doesn’t have to be a dirty word in this guest post.

Cullen Schwarz, DoneGood co-founder and Chief of Good Thoughts

The most powerful tool you have to change the world is in your pocket right now

There’s a revolution happening across the country and around the world. UncommonGoods is a part of it. If you’re reading this, you’re probably a part of it already too.

The world

Our world is filled with tremendous love and beauty. It also has some problems—inequality, environmental degradation, exploitation to name a few.

We believe that the world’s most powerful force for addressing those problems is already in your pocket—it’s the dollars you spend. We quit our careers to start DoneGood because we wanted to help people more effectively wield that power.

Together we all spend trillions of dollars buying stuff every year—if even a fraction of that money can automatically help alleviate poverty, fight climate change, and otherwise make the world better, the impact is huge!

The dollars we spend help solve problems when we shift our shopping to mission-driven social impact brands—companies that are paying good wages, empowering people, investing in communities, offering paid family leave, and using sustainable production practices.

A really exciting time

Businesses like these are on the march. The number of Certified B Corps (companies independently certified as being highly socially and environmentally responsible) grew from zero to 1,000 between 2006 and 2014. Then from 2014 to 2016, the number doubled to over 2,000. (UncommonGoods is a founding B Corp; DoneGood is a B Corp, too.)

The rise of businesses founded with a social mission as the primary goal, with profit a secondary means for accomplishing the true mission, is marking the beginning of a revolution in our economy.

From left: Scott Jacobsen (co-founder and Club President), Fleming Au (VP of Tech and Builder of Awesome), Rachel Kiriakos (VP of Good Partnerships), Cullen Schwarz (co-founder and Chief of Good Thoughts), and Peter Kruskal (VP of Data Science and World’s Best Data Guy, aka Peter Data Guy)

How we all get involved

The problem has been that it can still be really hard to find what you need, when you need it, from a mission-driven social enterprise. Many of these business are small and medium-sized companies that don’t have big marketing budgets.

So at DoneGood we work to make it really, really fast and easy to find brands that do good for people and the planet. For example, we recently launched our new DoneGood Shop site, where you can instantly search thousands of items from hundreds of brands—like UncommonGoods—that do good for people and the planet. You can also filter your search results by the issues you care about most (eco-friendly, supports workers, vegan, non-toxic, etc.).

The new website complements the DoneGood Chrome extension, which automatically shows you ethical and eco-friendly brands that have what you’re looking for as you search for products on Google or on major shopping websites, and the DoneGood mobile app.

Whether it’s with the DoneGood Shop site, extension, or app, you can find what you’re looking for while helping people and the planet. A ski hat that lifts people out of poverty, earrings that help women in Asia escape sex trafficking, brownies that bring jobs to chronically underemployed communities, and other stories of goods that do incredible things. With brands like these you can get something awesome AND make the world better—just by getting something you needed to buy anyway.

The easiest revolution ever

Consumer spending is 70 percent of the economy. And it’s a supply-and-demand economy, so we all have total power—whatever we demand, the market supplies. The more we demand worker empowerment, living wages, eco-friendly practices, and other good stuff, the more the market supplies those things.

You’re already exercising this power when you shop with UncommonGoods. We hope you keep doing that. When you need to get something that Uncommon doesn’t sell, DoneGood can help you find fellow B Corps and other ethical, sustainable companies like UncommonGoods.

Imagine a day when all companies pay workers well, invest in communities, and are environmentally responsible. Many of our major problems will be solved!

Every time we choose to make our purchase from a mission-driven brand we help to create that world. Just by buying something cool and supporting companies we can feel good about.

Learn more about how you can feel good about your holiday spending in these articles from The Washington Post and The Boston Globe.

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