Who are the poster children of business success these days?
More often than not, they are innovators and iconoclasts like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos. Companies like Google, Amazon, Apple and Starbucks are admired – and even worshipped – for their abilities to buck the trend and swim against conventional wisdom.
Jacqueline Tan, founder and general manager of Nothing But Green
Founded by three mummies with a passion for sustainable living, Nothing But Green is an eco friendly retail cum F&B outlet located in the heart of the city. Stocking a wide range of organic/green/eco friendly products – baby care, personal care, household, clothing, accessories, food and more – it offers both onsite and online shopping to cater to environmentally conscious consumers.
Guided by the philosophy that “every small thing we do can save the world”, the outlet’s deli uses fresh organic ingredients in all its dishes and serves meals that suit most dietary requirements. Items on its menu include sandwiches, salads, wraps, soups as well as Asian favourites like sliced fish soup, chicken rice, and Thai green chicken curry.
Sprawled over 1.4 million square feet along Singapore’s most scenic waterfront at Marina Bay, The Fullerton Heritage is an integrated dining, hotel and retail development comprising seven heritage and new buildings – The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore, The Fullerton Waterboat House, One Fullerton, The Fullerton Pavilion, Clifford Pier and Customs House.
Beginning with the retrofitting of the iconic Fullerton Building in 2001 to become the Fullerton Hotel, the group has given a new lease of life to heritage icons Clifford Pier (built in 1933) and Customs House (built in the 1960s), transforming them into swanky F&B destinations. Collectively, these developments have added vibrancy to the waterfront area and attracted guests both foreign and local.
Written by writer and brand consultant John Simmons, Innocent narrates the brand story of how Cambridge graduates Jon Wright, Adam Balon and Richard Reed built a “tasty little juice company” with a unique culture founded on strong values. Embodying the informal, casual wit of the company, the founding of Innocent is summarised on their website in the form of a charming story as follows:
“We started innocent in 1999 after selling our smoothies at a music festival. We put up a big sign asking people if they thought we should give up our jobs to make smoothies, and put a bin saying ‘Yes’ and a bin saying ‘No” in front of the stall. Then we got people to vote with their empties. At the end of the weekend, the ‘Yes’ bin was full, so we resigned from our jobs the next day and got cracking.”
With Earth Hour around the corner, it is timely for both individuals and companies to consider how they can reduce their environmental impact on our beautiful planet.
Coca-Cola Singapore is certainly taking a proactive role in this area. As part of their effort to instil the habit of recycling in Singapore, they are launching the Recycle Happiness Machine (yes that’s its actual name!) which will be popping up at five different locations around the Orchard Road/Dhoby Ghaut area. The machine provides a fun way for members of the public to deposit their used plastic beverage bottles in exchange for a little gift.
Patagonia is the new yardstick for ethical and social businesses (image from Fortune Magazine)
Of late, I hear a common clarion call amongst leading thinkers for companies to pursue a more humane, ethical and sustainable business strategy. These proclamations allude to the fact that the current system of profit and GDP growth at all costs is broken, and that a more holistic and considered approach is needed.
The first is renowned management guru Michael Porter, who urged companies to adopt shared values when crafting their business strategies. Porter cites that the capitalist system which much of the industrial age economy is built on has been the cause of much social, environmental and economic woes, with companies (and their leaders) prospering at the expense of the rest of humanity.
Sustainability seems to be the buzzword these days. We’ve all heard about how companies are investing in carbon credits to offset their industrial activities, embark on occasional recycling programmes, or improving their efficiency to reduce their carbon footprint. While such motives are laudable, they often compromise on business profitability, and are seen more like “CSR” investments. Should the economy – and business – nosedive, would companies still be as noble?
To overturn traditional thinking on business sustainability, Gregory Unruh of the Lincoln Center for Ethics in Global Management shared that one should adopt a “value cycle” rather than the standard “value chain” in one’s business model. The idea behind this is reuse as much material from one’s products as possible, and to feed that back into the manufacturing, distributing and retailing process. This should be done in a profitable manner and be so ingrained into business practices that it becomes second nature.