how your purchases power good in the world

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Reflections from Joel Solomon and the ChangeUp event on February 28, 2019 at The Innovation Centre in Kelowna, BC.

Everyone thinks companies hold the power, but if we change how we purchase, then companies will be forced to change.

“It is time now to take responsibility for where our money is and who and what it is affecting.”

Joel Solomon, Chairman of Renewal Funds, Canada’s largest mission venture capital firm

Joel Solomon encourages people to think about where they invest, where they work and where they shop, reminding us, “We have a lot more creative power and possibility then we are led to believe.”

Everyday people and businesses are looking at purchases and activities, wondering if we are getting the best value in terms of dollars and cents but also, if our actions are providing the best value for our communities, the people in it and the land it is on.  

This can be seen in credit unions, whose mandate is to give back, support the community they serve, buy and invest locally, as well as donate to causes that matter to their members.

inspiring and engaging

Over 18 months ago, Valley First began a digital transformation encouraging staff to save paper, printing only when necessary. Since that time, 6 million pages have not been printed! To celebrate this milestone, Valley First gifted a $1,500 donation to Kelowna’s Okanagan Fruit Tree Project. Equivalent to about 30 fruit trees, this donation exemplifies Valley First’s commitment to going digital while supporting #FeedtheValley—a community-based program raising awareness, food, and funds for food banks across the Thompson, Okanagan and Similkameen valleys.

In the Okanagan, Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, is a company that empowers its employees to do good through a variety of community initiatives.  As a company, Valley First is both a partner and good neighbour by keeping the Okanagan community strong through donations, sponsorships, and other unique ventures supporting local economic development.

By actively being involved in the community, companies like Valley First make a difference through supporting local nonprofits and promoting strong stable neighbourhoods by bringing family fun and entertainment to local events in the Okanagan. Supporting the local economy can have wide-ranging benefits that promote inclusivity for all community members.

community making

Events in the community also have a social purpose as they bring people together and provide avenues for learning and fun collaboration to generate new ideas around how to make the world a better place. Social accelerators like Purppl mentor people doing good, helping them become more sustainable, and celebrating them through hosting gatherings like ChangeUp.

Some of the quality folks that make up the Purppl team.

ChangeUp is a pitch style event that showcases how social enterprises are providing solutions for complex social and environmental challenges. The stories told at events like this prove that doing good isn’t a trend for businesses and communities.

Across Canada, for-profit social enterprises are tackling social issues head-on. Nonprofits are using social enterprise to add stability and sustainability to their long term solutions to social, and community hurdles. Employees are developing initiatives within the organizations they work for to promote social causes they believe in. Funders and investors are wanting to invest their dollars in impactful ways that provide social returns on investment for communities as a whole.

Through simple methods, community-minded people can help grow this ecosystem, choosing to put their money into companies, businesses, and local enterprises, significantly adding vibrancy and vitality to their cities as they support initiatives that prioritize people over profit.  

thought-provoking

Even technology companies are changing how they purchase, taking a deeper look at sustainability, long term success and purpose as well as profit.

As a social enterprise, Trellis banks at Valley First because of the initiatives this credit union is helping to power in the community.  Trellis buys its materials from ethically sourced suppliers, and they also build technology to make charities more efficient in the communities they serve.

Trellis CEO Justin Goodhew speaking at ChangeUp about problems charities face and solutions Trellis provides for them.

Valley First, Purppl, and Trellis are a small fraction of the many businesses and individuals who are changing the way businesses operate around the world. From the places we house our money, to the events we run, to where we choose to spend and invest our money, every decision you make can be with both a social and profit-driven mindset.

You have the ability to buy from – as well as support – companies who are deeply invested in creating connection and furthering social responsibility.

Be inspired by local businesses and social enterprises who are making an impact in your region. Join the movement and change up where your dollars are going for the betterment of your community today!