By Lalita Green
Having an entrepreneurial spirit, I am highly inspired by some of today's social enterprises - a blend of business ambition with social responsibility. Lately, I have been fortunate enough to meet with individuals working with this ideal.
One of these characters is Katie Johnson, the founder of global and non-for-profit organization "The One World Collective". She recently granted me with an insight into their cause. Katie communicates with true passion and enthusiasm, illuminating the potential a responsible enterprise can achieve.
Spearheading projects worldwide,"EcoBling" is one project of theirs driven by the desire to combine fashion with community involvement/benefit in a sustainable way. This is done by partnering with Indigenous communities to create up-cycled jewelry using materials that would otherwise be doomed for a landfill. Objects salvaged can include broken furniture, scrap metal and construction leftovers. The strategy of production is ecologically mindful so every step is accounted for; adopting organic & plant-based materials, utilizing solar power, composting any excess such as dust, cardboard and saw clippings, then presenting the final piece in recycled packaging.
Further steps are taken beyond this, with a tree planted for every purchase then profits made injected back into the original program - The One World Collective.
"We have a few specific ranges (of jewelry) that are directed at helping vulnerable communities and causes:
1. Our Food Fight range (boiled food scraps are used to dye the wood) raises money to gift food seeds and trees to the Nyangidi village in Kenya, who then raise the plants and gift forward the seeds grown to surrounding communities.
2. Our Indigi Bling range sends EcoBling out to rural and remote Indigenous Australian communities onto which they paint indigenous art. This not only shares their culture and stories but also brings economic opportunities to places that otherwise depend on government hand outs.
3. Our Metal Head and standard EcoBling range raises money for the ongoing expenses of The One World Collective, e.g. insurance, registrations, website costs, etc. so our 100% of donations that come in can be used for our projects."
Called to action by the recent events in Nepal, the One World Collective team have put a plan together for a new range utilizing offcuts from home renovations. The profits from this collection will go towards ongoing aid relief in the Nepal region, assisting residents to return to a normal life.
Reminds me of social anthropologist Margaret Mead's words when she said:
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Delicious food for thought.