Hannah Cox – Episode 2

Sustainability and Business: A New Approach with Hannah Cox

May 30, 2024

“Join us to help fix the broken system”

You can listen or read Hannah’s first episode with us on Tales to Inspire here.

I’m Hannah Cox with the Better Business Network and I am honoured to say it is my second time on Tales to Inspire. In this episode.

My childhood always saw me conscious of the environment. My friends and I used to create and sell tea towels supporting animal rights. I continued raising money for animal charities at university. I have always been eco-conscious but this never really entered the work sphere of my life. 

For me, sustainability is so crucial as, as it says in its name, it is all about sustaining life on Earth. My big trip to Bhutan truly changed my perspective on life. I wanted to make the world better and have a positive impact. We do not just want to sustain, we want to make things better. 

Sustainability is a Pandora’s box. It doesn’t end with checking your carbon footprint and planting a few trees. Businesses need to look at where they can make the biggest positive difference. Can you have a positive impact as an organisation with everything you do?

There are two main misconceptions. Sustainability is not a simple statistic you can tick a box with. It needs to be a foundational thought that you build a business around. Sustainability should not be viewed as only environmentally related; sustainability is about how you treat your team. 

For a business to be sustainable, it must be profitable, but you must also consider your team. Companies can be doing amazing but an overworked staff working unsustainable hours is going to cause an unsustainable workforce. Sustainability travels across all spheres of business.

Sustainability needs to be taken into consideration for people. It is said day-to-day necessities, normally for economic reasons, see sustainability at the low of people’s list. Normally those who have financial concerns are not the ones who are causing issues regarding sustainability. 

Everyone needs to reflect on their personal, subjective position and see what they can do regarding sustainability. You should not feel guilty for purchasing a plastic packet if you need to buy it, those with power who dictate the status quo should feel responsible for shaping our day-to-day to look like this. Not everyone should be doing the same thing regarding sustainability, take your specific situation into account. 

Capitalism does not account for our finite situation on this planet, it works off ideas that we have infinite growth potential. We work in a limited system that is fundamentally broken. A country that is called highly developed like America lacks human rights such as health care. A challenge with chasing the system is often due to a lack of belief in the power we as individuals hold. The third biggest greenhouse gas emitter is wasted food with air pollution every year being a bigger killer than COVID.  When so many are dying from malnutrition around the world, this is a broken system. 

Better Not Stop as I mentioned in the first podcast came up when talking with my dying father. It inspired me to take advantage of my life.

The journey started with me in my spare room however the kickstart scheme gave me an opportunity. It essentially paid businesses to employ people for the first 6 months. I enlisted and felt confident that I would be able to keep these staff on after 6 months. 

B Corp is a sustainability qualification that I helped companies achieve. I expanded the business to help companies achieve other qualifications and now have expanded further with the live events sector. We ensure these events are actively helping our fight to help the climate.

We have 9 staff now over both businesses. Better Not Stop is super busy in the summer when we are helping out with festivals. To become B Corp certified is an assessment process online that you can take for free. I am trained to be a B leader and steer companies through the 5 sections. 

The legal change to the organisation is that you will change the business so it works not just for shareholders but also its stakeholders; people that are affected by the actions of the business. Whether it’s looking after your business, environment or your team you must be showing you are looking to create a positive impact. Companies that use the B corps have better employee retention, the same amount of equity and finance and generally are performing better than competing businesses. 

The process of getting a B corp is subjective depending on where your business currently is and the actions that need to be taken. The assessment could be taken in an afternoon to get grapes of where you are. We recommend a year to go through the process however it’s often quicker, there are then another 12 months for the paperwork to get through. It’s a process that requires commitment.

The Better Business Network started when I found it tricky to connect with other business owners who cared about sustainability. It started with just 6 of us with an accountability group but now we are nationwide. Doing events all over the UK and with members in America and mainland Europe. The growth in the last month has been crazy. The power from the collective power of the community is incredible.

It’s frustrating to see our government act in an immoral way, but we are not powerless. The one percent is hard to go after. They are sneaky and clever, however, we are incentivised to want to change the system. We hold 50 percent of the GDP and the majority of the workforce. We can make significant changes. Join us to help fix the broken system. We hope to reach 20,000 members in our group. For legislation to reach parliament it must have 10,000 signatures so if we can be constantly bombarding parliament with requests from British businesses we can hopefully force through meaningful, sustainable change.

In the Better Business Network, we offer an inclusive community for businesses that care about social and environmental impact. We help grow impact, income and audience while advocating for systemic change. We can improve your organisation through providing training, resources and training to upgrade your business. 

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