We are excited and proud to announce that 100 Ways in 100 Days™ has just been selected, against tough competition, to be part of the prestigious 2022/23 Inc. social incubator. The brainchild of the charitable Aster Foundation, Inc.’s raison d’etre is to build businesses that can change the world.
The Foundation’s wider purpose is to invest in communities and their future. Its mission is to enable better lives for at least 40,000 people by 2030, through its impact programmes and proactive approach to tackling social challenges. The Inc. accelerator is an extension of that collaborative, social vision.
Being a part of Inc. will give us extra, rich opportunities to shape 100 Ways and gain insights for projects run within the foundation’s parent organisation, the Aster Group and its communities. Plus, in order to help develop ideas, there’ll be a doorway to its 100,000 diverse customers.
This equates to a potentially massive new audience for 100 Ways; both to enable people to live more sustainably, fast (with a spin-off benefit that many ‘Ways’ help save money) and as a enviable research base.
The Inc. programme offers access to funding and investment too – and introductions to Aster partners and networks.
100 Ways is based on psychology – and also the theory of marginal gains, where, many, many small actions, enacted en masse, can bring about significant change. So the wider we can spread the programme, the greater an impact it can make. 100 Ways brings people together, empowering them to make bite-sized, achievable changes, in fun, positive ways, to help save the planet. It’s therefore a perfect fit with Aster.
We can’t wait to work with the rest of the cohort and the wider Aster Group family to start helping to make a difference.
In this, the first of an occasional series of interviews, we talk to pioneers conducting epic work in the sustainability sector. Our first guest is changemaker Sarah Whale, founder of Profit Impact. Sarah guides business leaders to increase the value they create through a strong triple bottom line. Here we put her in our 100 Ways hot seat…
Q: Can you explain what Profit Impact is, what it does and who it’s for? How do they benefit?
A: Profit Impact is here to guide small and medium-sized businesses to move to a sustainable future by understanding the impact on people, the planet, and their profit.
We support people to benchmark themselves against similar organisations and map out plans for their next steps. Services include B Corp certification support (B Corp is the non-profit network transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities and the planet), calculating your carbon emissions today (baselining), strategies to achieve net zero and education – plus ongoing measures and coaching.
Q: What did you do prior to setting up Profit Impact – and what motivated you to turn your back on that career?
A: After a long career in finance leadership roles within industry, I had become disillusioned with short-term decision-making driven by requirements to satisfy shareholders. I took some time out to reflect on what I wanted to do next.
Through coaching, I realised that I wanted a role that enabled me to ‘do the right thing’. Research led me to B Corp and the rest is, as you say, history.
Q: What’s your typical day like?
A: My role is incredibly varied and I have to be disciplined to keep structure within my day. I plan to spend mornings on client delivery work and then in the afternoons focusing on my team, strategy, partners, and product development. I do not always achieve this plan!I have a number of non-negotiables in my day and that is to ensure I have an element of either yoga, cardio work, or Nordic walking – this is my self-care. If for whatever reason I haven’t achieved this I really notice the impact of not looking after myself.
Q: As a young start-up in sustainability, what have been your biggest challenges?
A: Uncertainty is the biggest challenge. Who will work with you, how will the sustainability landscape change, and at what point will things become mandatory? The breadth and complexity of the subject is difficult to cover with a small team.
Q: And biggest successes?
A: Definitely Profit Impact being awarded the Best For The World™ for Employees, by B Lab. We are in the top 5% of B Corps globally in our size business (1-9 employees). We are number one in the UK.
Q: Funniest or weirdest moment?
A: We get to laugh every day, but the strangest thing that happened was the landmark ruling whilst the UK was experiencing one of its hottest days on record; the High Court ruled that the Government’s Net Zero strategy breached the climate change act. The Government was given eight months to update its Net Zero strategies to include a quantified account of how its policies will actually achieve climate targets.
Q: What keeps you going when you fear everyone’s journey to Net Zero is going far too slowly?
A: Action is definitely slower than I would like to see but my approach in life has always been you can only impact things within your own control. We have designed services and processes to help businesses build business resilience and protect the planet. Without action society has no future – and for this reason alone I’m confident businesses will step forward.
Q: What’s your top tip for easily achievable things people can do either at work, at home or at play to be more sustainable?
A: Travel is the area where we can have a big environmental impact. We can make small changes for incremental gains. Set yourself a goal to change one of your trips each week to a more sustainable one; lift shares, walking, EV couriers, use public transport for instance.
Q: What’s the most exciting sustainability development you’ve heard about recently?
The Green Salon Hair Collective. It is encouraging sustainable working practices in the hairdressing industry. The collective ‘recycles the unrecyclable’ from its member salons: everything from bleach and dye to people’s actual hair. In fact their recycled hair is even used in special ‘booms’ which are deployed to clean up oil spills in rivers and seas.
We’re thrilled that 100 Ways in 100 Days™is now in beta – and we’re ready to start partnering with selected organisations. 100 Ways in 100 Days helps employees learn how to live more sustainability at work, at home and at play.
Rather than being doomy or preachy (to which people don’t respond well), our vision for 100 Ways is to do the opposite. To bring colleagues together in the battle against climate change through positive and colourful social interactions. It’s one of the most effective techniques for changing habits.
To ensure the programme deploys the most believable and motivating planet-friendly messages we decided collaboration was the way forward.
Partnership with University of Surrey
We’d felt the world is entering a ‘new age of scepticism’, especially considering the Wild West of social media and fake news, so we called in expert help to get to the bottom of it. We’re extremely proud therefore, to publish a brand new academic study, ‘The Psychological Underpinnings of Believability’. Commissioned specially by us, it informs all the ‘Ways’.
Claire explains: “The study examines how the human mind goes about finding information believable nowadays. In cognitive psychology for instance there are two routes to believability, with intuition and analytics both having a role, but effective persuasion involves a combination of both, so we looked at these and much, much more, including how we use ‘heuristics (mental shortcuts), the role of emotion and how to replace old beliefs with new ones.
“All findings have been harnessed to encourage incremental positive daily behaviour changes in individuals to help promote sustainability.”
The research advises that tactics such as using plain English, rather than jargon or long words, using case studies with real people rather than statistics, and affirming an individual’s self esteem can all positively impact on how messages are absorbed and acted upon.
All ‘Ways’ are checked against the 100 Ways 15 point ‘Believability Index’, an instrument for the measurement of believability in communications, devised by Pine and Gregory.
At 100 Ways, we instinctively knew, but academics in the report confirmed that people tend to avoid information that makes them feel uncomfortable. Or where it’s complicated and they feel they have little control over it. The climate emergency falls into that category. Overwhelming messages can lead to paralysis and demoralisation, so it’s vital that the 100 Ways messaging focuses on hope, empowerment – and personal responsibility.
The Believability report helps guide us along just the right lines. Thanks so much to Claire and to Karen for their amazingly intelligent yet practical work.
If that wasn’t enough, each ‘Way’ on the 100 Ways programme is also underpinned by evidence from highly credible, trusted and knowledgeable organisations, such as NGOs, academics, charities and other reputable sources. They’re all evidence checked by our wonderful Gilang Majid, also a PhD researcher at the University of Surrey.