When the Green Economy becomes the Kindness Economy

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24th February 2021

By Rosalind Bluestone

I recently listened to a TEDTalk from Mary Portas where she talked about the emergence of the Kindness Economy “An economy built on awareness and sentience.” As someone who runs a charity that supports vulnerable individuals and families in need, I share Mary’s sentiment that kindness is a word rarely associated with business but one that is fundamental to the future success of business.

 

If you have ever looked up the definition of kindness you will have found something like this: kindness is the quality of being gentle, caring, and helpful. While that may be an accurate definition, I feel it fails to convey the enormity of the word. It isn’t easy to define something as significant as kindness but I think this captures the essence of the word well.

 

“Kindness is the sincere and voluntary use of one’s time, talent, and resources to better the lives of others, one’s own life, and the world through genuine acts of love, compassion, generosity, and service.”

 

I set up Goods for Good 6.5 years ago from my dining room table. Exacerbated by what I saw on the news, I knew I had to do something to address the imbalance. My driving force was two-fold; first, to do something to help the millions of refugees fleeing from violence, only having the clothing and shoes they stood up in; and second, to stop perfectly useable goods being discarded and ending up in landfill or incineration, contaminating the atmosphere.

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Whether it’s providing clothing and essentials to a mum who has fled with her children from an abusive relationship or providing footwear to someone who is homeless and has never owned a new pair of shoes, Goods for Good delivers hope as well as essentials to those that we help. And it’s the simple act of kindness that gives hope.

 

The Pandemic and the Kindness Economy
The Kindness economy is about making people and the planet as important as profit.

The global pandemic has thrust the world into a state of uncertainty where the outcome of tomorrow is unpredictable. Amidst this new reality, we have seen countless selfless acts of human kindness shown by community heroes, charities, individuals and volunteers rallying together to help those in need. Often going the extra mile, fundraising, cooking, delivering, driving, shopping, providing food, clothing and warmth to help support the NHS, the vulnerable and homeless. From rainbow drawings in windows to Captain Tom and so many others raising vital funds for their favourite charities, each doing what they can to help. Some companies too have opened their arms and their doors, even if they have been in great difficulty themselves.

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Marketing professionals are aware of the fact that adding social value is now intrinsic to business success, and many consumers want so much more than the product they are purchasing. A recent survey from Accenture reported that more than 80% of us are now looking for brands that embrace positive environment, sustainability and community policies that create “kinder” products and services that support The Kindness Economy. Consumers want to know that companies are adding social value with many opting for brands that value and prioritise social responsibility as well as providing good quality and convenience. Conscious consumption is gaining momentum, and with consumers insisting they know where, how and why products and services are created organisations need to be more transparent if they hope to grow in the future. This is fundamental to the partnerships we have in place as the aid we deliver must be needed and suitable and distributed in an ethical, thoughtful, legal, transparent and positive way.

 

When the Green Economy becomes the Kindness Economy
For many companies, the process begins with committing to zero waste, which usually involves increasing recycling efforts and eliminating rubbish sent to landfills. All of our 135 corporate partners comply with the regulations. In parallel, many of them go the extra mile and they are perfect examples of corporate kindness in action.

 

Their generosity means that we can reach the most vulnerable of people with essential items such as footwear, bedding, warm coats and clothing, prams, underwear, toiletries and hygiene goods.

 

Our collaboration with The Dune Group for example, whose team in Leicester volunteer for us, helping with warehousing and logistics and loading our trucks, is support above and beyond our wildest dreams. With no budget ourselves for warehousing great volumes of goods, they fulfil this crucial role for us. They do this with great enthusiasm and love. This speaks volumes about the team, the company, their management, leadership and their ethos.

 

Surely this corporate kindness is something customers want to hear about? A company that is human, kind and charitable is much more likely to gain brand loyalty than one that simply relies on advertising goods.

 

How can you embrace the Kindness Economy?
We live in a country where resources are not distributed equitably. Though the UK is a wealthy nation, we have a high number of households living in poverty (around 14 million people are in poverty in the UK -that’s more than one in five of the population) and, with the COVID-19 crisis still unfolding and causing higher levels of unemployment, the situation is getting worse. Access to essential goods and household items is limited for those living on the breadline, and more and more families are finding themselves in dire need during this Pandemic.

The pressure lockdown has on already vulnerable families is immense and we are receiving more and more requests from local and overseas charities, desperate for basic essentials. From nappies, wet wipes, clothing and footwear for all ages – to razors, deodorants, soap and shaving foam. We are therefore looking to expand our reach to work in partnership with more UK and European companies who are able to donate unwanted stock, preventing it from reaching landfill or being incinerated and helping those in need. We love working with corporates who realise that KINDNESS is a corporate mantra which will attract more customers than advertising. Doing good isn’t just about feeling good. It makes business sense.

 

If you’d like to know more, or want to get in touch about how we might work together then I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at: rosalind@goodsforgood.org.uk