Fresh Ideas | Free Thinking #13

In this edition of Fresh Ideas Free Thinking, we spoke to founder of Do Nation Hermione Taylor to find what she is reading and who is inspiring her...

Fresh Ideas | Free Thinking #13

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What do you do?

Do Nation is all about helping people to form healthy, environmentally friendly habits. We do this through our online platform where anyone can either make a pledge or run a campaign to raise pledges – pledges to do things like wasting less food, cycling to work, or avoiding unsustainable palm oil.  We’ve got a big old list of things people can do, each backed up by advice, tips, and impact measurement.

Where do you do it? 

Online!  But the action and change takes place offline, driven by communities all over the world. While the vast majority of our users are in the UK, some of our most impactful campaigns have been run in more far flung places, including Delhi, Ethiopia and Virginia. Behaviour change is relevant worldwide, after all.

Who do you do it for?

Do Nation is there for anyone who wants to be a champion of sustainability, leading change and inspiring those around them to act on sustainability. They can run campaigns to raise pledges from colleagues, friends, or family, either through our workplace programmes or through a personal campaign, raising support through action instead of cash.

What has been your favourite project of the past year that you’ve been involved in?

Probably the B Corp challenge we ran for Good Deeds Day, where we pitted different businesses against each other to see whose employees could make the most pledges and save the most carbon.

We often run competitions on Do Nation, our team leaderboards have become a real hit and are amazingly effective at driving engagement, but until recently they’ve only been used internally – pitting teams or offices against each other within a company.  As a newly certified B Corp ourselves, we thought it’d be fun to test out a bit of inter-company competition, helping to engage employees of B Corps in the community at the same time. So far over 771 pledges have been made by employees of B Corps, saving almost 80 tonnes of carbon, and off the back of it we’re looking to run another friendly competition in September, tying in with the anniversary of the SDGs.

What is the most innovative, ethically-minded business that you’d love to collaborate with?

Patagonia. I’m constantly inspired by their values, comms, and products.

What ethical business leaders inspire you?

I was at the UK B Corp retreat last month and I’ve never been surrounded by so many inspirational business leaders, all united by the mission of B Corps to use business as a force for good. I couldn’t pick out one individual, so I’ll cheat and say all of them!

What are the five most interesting things that you have come across or read recently?

The Urban Citadels of the New Rich– a very interesting read delving into perhaps unexpected drivers of Brexit / Trump.

How Wolves Change Rivers – short film – a wonderful reminder of the magic and complexity of nature.

Project Just – fantastic resource if you’re seeking more sustainable style.

Podcast interview with Yuval Harari about his latest book, Homo Deus. Mind blowing insights into the future of tech.

Last but not least, and perhaps an unconventional answer: the great outdoors. When it comes to looking for interesting things, nothing beats the mountains, forests, and coastlines that are all around us. Having just cycled up the west coast of Scotland, I’m feeling that more strongly than ever.

What’s the book, books or author that most shaped your thinking for the work that you do?

Going back a bit – but I’d say the film The Man Who Planted Trees, which I first watched while at primary school. It is a beautiful story that perfectly illustrates how dependent humanity is on the complex systems of the natural world, and really brings home how, with a bit of patience and dedication, our small actions can create ripples of impact for years to come.


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