We all want to change the world for the better, but sometimes actually doing so can seem impossible. Factor in the need for urgent action on many of the problems we face right now and it can all feel massively overwhelming.
And yet changing the world for the better doesn’t mean solving all the world’s problems in one fell swoop. We can create meaningful change by ensuring the actions we take as a business have a positive impact on our communities, our workplaces, and even ourselves, no matter how small they may seem.
Wasn’t it John Lennon who said ‘every little helps’? Okay, maybe that was Tesco, but the point stands: a positive impact can be large or small, sudden or incremental, universal or personal. At Matchstick Creative, we’re always looking to create a positive impact in any and every way we can. Here are seven things we do that your business can start doing right now!
1. Use Ecologi
Let’s start by talking about what seems to be the world’s most pressing issue: climate change.
We all know that climate change is preventable and that reducing our carbon footprint – including that of our business – is essential to saving the planet. Encouraging your team to bike to work or use public transport is an excellent first step to take, but if you want to go even further, you could start using Ecologi.
There are enough climate solutions that are out there right now, that if we supported them, it’d undo 30 years of carbon damage by avoiding 1,500 billion tonnes of CO2Ecologi
Ecologi is a paid subscription service that allows your business to compensate for its carbon footprint and fund climate projects. It invests in a wide range of projects that all reduce greenhouse gas emissions, from reforestation and setting up wind farms to sustainable composting and hydropower.
On top of that, Ecologi is Gold Standard-certified and wholly transparent about where your money goes. Using Ecologi or a similar service will help your business become climate secure and carbon-neutral, to the benefit of everyone.
2. Introduce remote-working and flexitime
Like biking to work or encouraging your team to use public transport, remote-working is another fantastic way to reduce the effects commuting has on your business’s carbon footprint. Commuting accounts for up to 98% of an employee’s carbon footprint; cutting the commute through remote-working, whether in part or in full, decreases carbon emissions and reduces overall office waste.
Even better, the time we save not having to commute has huge benefits on our mental health and wellbeing. At Matchstick Creative, we use a hybrid work model, combining remote work and coordinated office work. This gives us more time to balance our work life and home life, leaving us happier, healthier, and more productive.
Flexible start times have similar mental health benefits to remote-working, and with almost all of us now used to some form of remote-working or flexible hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making the switch is simpler than ever.
3. Offer mental health support
Mental health support doesn’t end with ensuring your team has a healthy work-life balance. No, creating a positive impact on their mental health is a continuous endeavor. It means fostering a supportive, celebratory workplace culture that goes beyond making your team feel valued to showing them that they are valued.
One of the ways we do this is with monthly Personal Development Plans or PDPs. Our PDPs encourage honest and open communication between team members by offering them a safe space to discuss personal- or work-related issues that have arisen in the past month. It is more than simply offering each other an ear whenever we need it; it is actively carving out time in the work schedule to talk and listen to one another.
Active support like this creates trust within our team, encourages self-reflection, and establishes a friendly environment where we can all thrive.
4. Work with organisations whose mission and values align with your own
We’ve always worked alongside businesses and organisations we find inspiring – and we can’t tell you how rewarding it is.
We strive to deliver purpose-driven marketing, and we’re incredibly proud that all of our clients reflect our mission of doing good: profit-for-purpose businesses like The Women’s Organisation, health companies like Liverpool Health Partners, tech-for-good organisations like Syrenis.
Working with clients who share our worldview isn’t only tremendously gratifying, it’s also helped us to better understand ourselves and to reconsider our company values – something we addressed when we rebranded as Matchstick Creative.
It helps to create a positive impact both internally and externally, improving your own business as you support others.
5. Elevate others
Don’t just work with organisations and individuals whose mission and values align with your own – elevate them wherever you can, even if you don’t work together. This could mean shouting about them on social media, promoting them in business newsletters, or championing them at networking events you attend.
On our website, we run several blog series dedicated to celebrating the work of our industry peers:
- Why It Works peels back the cover of our favourite brands to see what makes them tick
- Under the Spotlight casts a light on individuals we admire so that more people can understand the work that they do
- Female Founders celebrates female-founded businesses across the UK, sharing stories of the inspirational women killing it every day as leaders and change-makers
If it’s within your means, you can even share the money around! Two members of our team are trustees for Awesome Liverpool, a bunch of regular folks who pool their money to help fund imaginative projects that make a real difference in the city region.
Why do we do all this? Because we believe that collaborating with our peers, rather than competing with them, is the best way to help create a more equal and inclusive society. Because we believe that we’re all in this together.
From a business perspective, when we help raise the profile of others, our profile is raised, too; when we fund an awesome creative project, we improve the city we live in and the lives of everyone living in it. By elevating others, your business help can build a community that benefits everyone.
6. Strive for change outside of your business
Your business doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s part of a community, a city, a region, and it’s affected by the issues your community, city, and region face. To create a positive impact you need to strive for change outside of your business.
Seek out and build relationships with fellow change-makers; enter a dialogue with councils and policy-makers. Let them know you exist, that you’re ready to lend a hand, a voice, or a space to tackle the problems your community faces.
When we grew disappointed with our local networking scene, we founded Firestarters, a community of change-makers putting purpose before profit and driving good across the city. At our Firestarters live events, we’ve helped address issues affecting our region – from destination tourism and culture to mental health and wellbeing in the workplace – by providing private, public, and third sector organisations with the support and resources they need.
We’ve also managed to engage with local authorities such as the Liverpool City Region’s Growth Platform and policy-makers like Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, all for the betterment of our city and its people. To truly create a positive impact, you have to be the change you want to see. And that means stepping outside of your business.
7. Implement SMART Commitments
Let’s say you implement all of the above. Job done, right?
Wrong! Once your business starts creating a positive impact, you need to keep track of it. If you want to sustain the impact your business is having then it’s vital to develop an awareness, understanding, and honest analysis of it.
We do this through SMART Commitments.
After our first Firestarters event, Building Back Equal, we set ourselves several SMART Commitments – business objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based.
Doing this allowed us to hold ourselves accountable for the impact we were having and more easily address any related issues. We found these initial SMART Commitments so successful that we now implement them after every Firestarters event. Because only by measuring our impact can we improve on it.
Looking at some of the points above, it’s relatively easy to begin creating a positive impact. Maintaining and enhancing that impact, though, is very difficult. If you want to create a sustained impact, SMART Commitments are the way to go.