The meaning behind 1,000 mango trees

The meaning behind 1,000 mango trees

As a small business owner, it’s easy to feel like you’re too small to make a real difference – especially when the problems in the world feel so large (and sometimes far away).

But with a community of friends by your side, a big vision driving you forward, and a bit of perseverance, you can soon turn small steps into big changes!

That’s why #EthicalHour began in the first place. To inspire people to take the small, achievable steps that are right for them, to help people and the planet.

Four years ago, with my background in corporate marketing and start-up acceleration, I began supporting small ethical businesses to take the steps they could to develop clean, transparent supply chains, make a positive impact by giving back, and inspire the world with their story through ethical marketing.

Almost 2 years ago, we launched our membership community for Big Why Business Founders – giving startups and small businesses access to our huge library of marketing and business training, connecting them to our extensive network of supportive experts and bringing together the like-minded community and collaborations needed to get things done!

After all, the Sustainable Development Goals are a big to-do list, and even the smallest businesses can make a big impact with access to the right resources.

From the beginning, I’ve been committed to running my business with as much positive impact as possible, which is why I partnered with B1G1 in 2018 to become a “giving first” business and make a difference for causes aligned to the SDGs.

With our membership community, I was inspired to create an accessible space where small businesses could access the type of training and support that would usually cost them thousands, and where people with a passion for purpose and planet could come together and be a force for good.

Which is why I knew I wanted to make a positive impact for every member every month – and B1G1 gave me the perfect giving platform to make that happen.

There are so many worthwhile and important causes to choose from, but I knew that planting a tree was the perfect way to mark the growth of our membership.

The vision of a forest of trees growing as the good businesses in our community grew their income and impact felt perfectly aligned, and our ‘give as you grow’ ethos was born.

But planting trees can be problematic.

In recent years, many companies have joined tree planting schemes as a way of ‘carbon offsetting’ their negative impact. Especially in the online space where running websites and digital marketing can be carbon intensive.

But ‘carbon offsetting’ is controversial – it might not always be having the desired impact, especially when it’s done through tree planting schemes. And too many businesses have used tree planting as an ‘easy fix’ without ensuring proper forest management, long term sustainability, or taking steps to minimise their carbon outputs before offsetting them.

Watch this video to find out more about the problems with tree planting:

I wanted to ensure we weren’t greenwashing with our tree programme, so although Climate Action is a very important goal for us, we needed to make sure we were minimising our impact and protecting the planet in hands on ways too.

Thanks to #EthicalHour members Green Hosting, (who say that joining #EthicalHour is one of the best decisions they’ve made for their business – find out why!) our website is already wind powered.

Our office runs on renewable energy, so we’ve already taken steps to reduce our carbon footprint, and we declare our climate conflicts to make sure we’re not supporting climate intensive activities.

Plus we also support Stand For Trees, a charity that protects existing rainforest ecosystems and indigenous people, as well as preserving the important biodiversity of these critical regions.

With all this impact reduction and forest preservation in place, it felt right to add tree planting to our giving back strategy – but I was keen to find a way of doing it that would support our other SDG commitments too.

That’s when I found the Mango Tree.

The Mango Tree is one of the many charities aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals that you can support through the B1G1 platform.

Although, as their name suggests, they focus on mango tree planting, they have found a unique way to contribute to education and community development – as B1G1 Co-Founder Paul explained when we got together for a fireside chat:

The Mango Tree works in 120 rural areas, supporting orphans and their families to turn their fast growing mango trees into income generation, which funds the children’s education.

Their work goes deep beyond planting trees. They empower communities to solve local problems, create greater access to education and healthcare, and tackle poverty.

This week, during Global Goals Week 2020, we’ve passed a very special impact milestone…

Since May 2019 we’ve been planting a mango tree for every member of our community, every month.

And this month, during Global Goals Week, while we’re celebrating progress towards the SDGs and kickstarting a decade of action, we planted our 1000th mango tree!

Thanks to the members of #EthicalHour, past and present, we’ve officially planted 1,056 mango trees (as of September 2020)! And we’ll soon be announcing even more ways our ‘Give as you Grow’ ethos is changing lives, thanks to our members and the way they’re using the learning and resources available on our platform.

Our aim is to always ensure that our giving back strategy is holistic – avoiding sustainability silos and creating a net positive impact within the wider context of our business.

We firmly believe that collaboration is the most effective way to achieve maximum positive impact for people and planet, and we’re proud to be part of B1G1 which allows us to support causes like The Mango Trust!

At least 7 of our community members have also joined the B1G1 community, which means together we’ve made over 45,000 leveraged impacts for the SDGs! It just shows how those small steps can soon add up to big change – especially when you work together.

Inside the #EthicalHour community, you’ll find training and support to align your business to the SDGs, make and measure more impact and market your business based on your values.

For just £20 a month, connect with a like-minded, friendly community and get all the support you need to bring your Big Why to life! Find out more and join today.

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1 Comment
  • Jess Lohmann
    Posted at 16:54h, 23 September Reply

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you’re a rock star, Sian! Thank you for being such a forward-thinking pioneer with your giving back strategy. And I’m proud to say that I’m one of those 7 members who you inspired to join B1G1 in 2019 because I fell in love with the watermelon eating chickens on a vegan farm in AU that you gifted me for Christmas! And thank you for mentioning the problem with planting trees. My website’s not quite green yet — my office building is, but not my website because I’m locked in a contract but in 1,5 years (I believe), I can switch and most certainly will! Keep up the excellent work!

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