July 14, 2019
READ TIME: 5 MINS
Did you know that one out of every three mouthfuls of food that we eat depends on crop pollinators such as bees, butterflies, thousands of species of invertebrates, and nectar-eating birds? These creatures are increasingly at risk from urbanization, the destruction of their natural habitats, and increased use of harmful pesticides and herbicides.
This summer, Nanoleaf is allocating a significant portion of its resources to raise awareness about this crucial environmental issue, and committing financial support to a non-profit devoted to solving that issue. More on this later.
We’ve enjoyed significant success over the past several years, owed to the dedication of our teams around the world and our obsession with creating great product experiences. But we’re a small company—60 people in total, with revenues that don’t come close (yet) to matching those of the market leader in our segment.
Traditional business wisdom suggests that we shouldn’t be spending time on this initiative; that we should leave the “big” issues to government, consumer groups, and gigantic multinationals with something to atone for. Traditional business wisdom suggests that we shouldn’t be taking a risk, in that we’re publicly standing for something that has nothing to do with the industry that we operate in.
We think differently. Here’s why.
OK, we’re not actually Superman—I just always wanted to say that. Nanoleaf does have a global voice though. We have customers in over 70 countries, who conduct business in a dozen major currencies, and speak over 100 hundred distinct languages. Though we directly communicate in only a handful of these languages, we recognize that this diversity of community exists amongst our global community. In fact, we celebrate and are in awe of it.
We believe that all companies should place as much value on their relationships with their customers’ communities as they do with their customers. Being a responsible corporate citizen means using our voice to raise awareness about issues that affect the places where we all live, work, and play. To ignore the needs of people and planet by hiding behind the contrary needs of business is a cop-out. Businesses thrive because of people. People can always choose to do the right thing, and align the needs of their business with the needs of their customers and communities along the way.
Traditionally, when businesses contribute to non-profit organizations and causes that aren’t related to their industry, they do so with a motive in mind. Revenue. Increased productivity. Employee happiness. Brand value. Traditional wisdom says that as a business, you shouldn’t talk about those motivations publicly because it makes your brand seem insincere.
I’m going to ignore that wisdom.
Nanoleaf will benefit from this initiative, and gain in all of the ways that I mentioned above because of it. But that’s not why we chose to create this initiative, those are just the reasons that we can use to justify its existence (if we need to). We created this initiative because the environmental issue at its root is one that our team cares deeply about, and that all people should care about. We all need food, after all—each and every one of us.
Caring about something more than ourselves is a part of our organizational DNA at Nanoleaf, as is our belief that sustainability in business shouldn’t be extraordinary—it should be the baseline normal for every company. We’ve established a tradition of caring about people and planet, and using our voice to support both. Expect to see similar initiatives from us every year.
For almost thirty years, the David Suzuki Foundation has been working tirelessly to promote environmental and sustainability issues here in Canada (and abroad through partnerships with like-minded groups). We can’t think of a better benefactor of our efforts this year, as there’s true alignment between our team and the team at the foundation on the importance that pollinators play in the ecosystem—and the idea that solving problems will always involve a combination of government policy, citizen advocacy, and the seemingly small actions that anyone can take in their day-to-day lives.
We’ve chosen to tie the cash contribution that Nanoleaf will make to the foundation to our eCommerce sales because of one simple reality: we’re a small (but growing) business and don’t have the resources of our much larger industry peers. To raise money for this initiative, we’ll need to convince potential customers that they should care about the underlying cause as much as we do. It doesn’t hurt that in the process our customers will receive our award-winning, beautifully-designed lighting products—and take a bite out of their electricity bill in the process.
Here’s how we’re funding the cash contribution:
Every week, we’ll also be publishing ways in which everyday folks can help support pollinators at home. You might even see me in one of our videos about how to create a butterfly sanctuary. This content will be posted to the Nanoleaf Blog, and syndicated via our social media properties and mailing list.
While you’re at it, take a look at the great promotions we have planned for this campaign. Now’s a great time for you (or your company) to add some lighting beauty to the places where you spend so many of your waking hours.
About the David Suzuki Foundation
Founded in 1990, the David Suzuki Foundation is a national, bilingual non-profit organization headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, with offices in Toronto and Montreal. Through evidence-based research, education and policy analysis, we work to conserve and protect the natural environment, and help create a sustainable Canada. We regularly collaborate with non-profit and community organizations, all levels of government, businesses and individuals. Learn more at davidsuzuki.org.