For a few months now the above image has been doing the rounds on the internet, popping up here and there on image sharing and reblogging sites like Pinterest and Tumblr. Maybe you’ve seen it before. The first time I saw it, it initially caught my eye because of the typeface and design – it’s pretty slick. My interest captured, I read the words. They resonated with me; having long been someone who outwardly embraces self-help books and written positive affirmations when the chips are down (and uses them even when the chips are up, so to speak), I felt fired up by this call to embrace life, live it well and enjoy it and share your talents with the world.
My curiousity piqued, I googled the words at the end of the page “The Holstee Manifesto”. I soon discovered that this so-called manifesto forms the basis of a business – a company in the US called Holstee. Huh? This isn’t the usual kind of manifesto that drives many of the companies we are used to dealing with on a daily basis that appear to be out-for-profit and not concerned with any sort of notion of corporate social responsibility. However, happily, reading more, I soon found out that Holstee appears to be quite different – a small company set up by brothers and friends during the GFC, creating original, design-conscious products out of recycled materials. A big tick on the sustainability front right there, then. But wait, there’s more, Holstee lends part of its profit from all sales (at the moment, they say it’s 10 percent) to entrepeneurs in extreme poverty in various parts of the world through micro-lending organisations. I also like that their lending has a level of transparency to it – their Kiva page shows you where the money goes. The company also promotes sustainable design on a section of its website operating under the catch-call “Curating with a conscience”. If you are interested, you can read more about all this here.
From what I can tell, Holstee seem to be sticking to their manifesto and are modelling a new kind of business – conscious consumerism, where although at it’s heart it remains about a business, driving profit isn’t the only thing at play here, because there’s a wider sense of consciousness about how business profits can be used to help those in need, and about how responsible business can drive environmental responsibility through a commitment to sustainability. Surely this is a business model not only for the future, but also for the here and now. Getting more people to think about where their money goes to, and where the products that they spend their money on come from, is the beginning. Taking it to the next level as businesses like Holstee are – focussing on sharing some of the money their products generate with people in impoverished circumstances – is what more businesses should be challenged to do, because even a small change in consciousness holds the potential for a large impact.
Photo above sourced from the Holstee website.