On Purpose #2: Transactions that Benefit The Planet with Treety [Podcast]

On Purpose #2: Transactions that Benefit The Planet with Treety [Podcast]

On Purpose
On Purpose
On Purpose #2: Transactions that Benefit The Planet with Treety [Podcast]


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A discussion with Hatim and Mike from Treety. We chat about how Treety aims to help contribute to sustainability through making transactions more visible (by for instance showing the social impact consumers have through their purchases of sustainable retail brands). We also discuss how they came to their purpose, Ikigai and how purpose and profit can coexist. Where to find more info on treety: http://treety.co/ 



We have the transcript of the podcast below. Please excuse any transcription errors, our team of robots are doing their best!


Mike: So welcome, guys. Um, yeah, so I’m here with the guys from treaty and we’re going to discuss how you guys came to have your purpose driven organization and what it means to have a purpose driven organization. So, yeah, maybe you could just shortly introduce yourselves and we take it from there.


Hatim: So thank you for having us. Glad that we can do this together. So my name is Adam and one half of the co-founders of Cryonic Mike. And in terms of my own story, I guess it’s quite long. So the really short version is that I moved back to the Netherlands and in 2019 at that time with a different business, I met Mike almost a year since that point. I was trying to figure out how we’re kind of really establish myself in the Netherlands and establish that business in Netherlands. Mike and I started working together initially, like being a freelancer. And then a few months later, we decided that. Do you want to do a real business together and that’s how he was born and that’s how we became co-founders and I guess, Mike, maybe. We’d like to share a bit of what he was doing before he met me.


Mike: Yeah, yeah. So Mike, the other co-founder of Treaty, we I have a background in marketing technology. So I worked for a couple of different startups in that space seven, eight years. And before that, actually a career in hospitality, which is like a feels like another life by now. And yeah, a mutual friend of ours actually introduced us about half a year ago and I just came out of a sabbatical. And I essentially after like 15 job interviews and a couple of job offers, I decided I want to start for myself. And I started advising startups with their kind of marketing and sales strategy. And we were at an event and a mutual friend of ours actually introduced us. Shout out to Gernald Schwertner from WeGrow.


Greg: Thank you, Gernald. Once again!


Mike: Again, which is funny because Gernald’s business also and his business and the way he met his partner was actually through me and working for projects. Projects are kind of a funny coincidence.



Hatim: Yeah, exactly. What goes around comes around,


Mike: What goes around comes around and yeah. I mean like so actually our collaboration started me as essentially advising Adamsville Company on sales and marketing. And yeah, after a month or so of working together, we realized that it’s a good collaboration, like we were making decisions fast and kind of moving forward fast. And then very quickly our team asked me to join the company and that’s where the kind of conversation started about, you know, what’s the vision for this company, what we actually what impact do we want to make on the world and all that stuff. And at the same time, covid


Greg: Came and all that


Mike: Was across the face with the back end, which actually, you know, in one way it was kind of, you know, for everyone I think was shocking and including our clients and our prospects and everything just kind of froze. But that that did give us kind of the opportunity to just sit down at the table and figure out, you know, what, if we ended up building a company together, what would that look like? Yeah, what is what would be our purpose? Yeah. What is our vision? What do we feel like the world needs? And we just basically took a month or so to figure it out, OK? And so treaty was born.


Hatim: And I think that is it’s a function of two things. One is that I have to give credit to Mike,


Greg: The other as I have to give credit to me.


Hatim: Want to get back to the context. And also, like Mike, I think as opposed to my job, I think I’m a little more positive in the right in certain things. But Mike is generally a lot more deliberate. That’s also one of the reasons why I want to work with him. But the other thing was because it was covered and because we knew that the world has fundamentally changed and, you know, we have that opportunity to kind of just take a step back and meeting on what we really want to do. Yeah. So that allowed us to actually have that conversation over a month. And obviously things were OK, you know, what are we going to really do with this business and how we going to take this forward? Yeah, and I think that is that was in hindsight, a very good exercise that we ran because, you know, while, of course, every startup journey has its own ups and downs, the one thing that I don’t think that ever kind of had to question is, you know, why are we doing this? OK, yeah. You know, that’s actually that’s been a big positive, you know, knowing that, OK, you know what happens in terms of, like, revenue plans, blah, blah, blah? Yeah. At least the direction of the business is something that we know we resonate with. And we know that that has always stayed true. Yeah.


Greg: Yeah. That’s, that’s yeah. That’s nice. And I think it would be interesting to hear. So let’s start with what is your what is your purpose, what’s your vision for the organization and then how did you get there. Like where did you have like sort of prototype visions where you’re like, this is it and then it changed? Or was it like just one eureka moment? Like how. Yeah. How did you how did you get there.


Hatim: Yeah. So I guess when, when we started the conversation on, you know, on building a business together again like Mike because he kept asking me, but what’s the, what’s the bottleneck, what’s, what’s the direction, what’s going to happen when I did this and we decided to run this exercise called Key Guy. Yeah. And for those who may not be familiar with the guy, it’s essentially a Japanese philosophy. Yeah. Yeah. And. Had the combination of what you’re good at, what you’re going to get paid for, what the world needs and your passions and your passions. Absolutely. And, you know, the intersection of that is essentially what you are looking at. Your life’s calling.


Mike: So if you’re essentially if you found your icky guy, you never have to retire because you found your purpose. So you can apply that to your own personal situation, but also business. So in a business context, it’s essentially, OK, this is what I should be doing together with whoever I’m doing. Yeah.


Greg: And did you did you each do one and then bring guys together or


Mike: So actually us to and our CTO, we all did it separately. And the interesting thing, the interesting thing about that is the outcome is that, you know, we all have our own passions and we have our own skill sets. And obviously those differ somewhat. And how to make money with that is essentially maybe a little bit irrelevant in this case. But what was really interesting is that the what the world needs, like, we were literally we almost wrote down the same thing. Oh, well, that’s good. We all had this mindset of like, OK, what are to understand what the world needs. We need to understand what are the challenges that the world is facing right now. The big challenges that the world is facing right now is essentially the environment, right. The climate crisis. So essentially create an ecosystem that’s sustainable and, you know, allow us as humans to live for an indefinite amount of time, uh, social and social inequity, human exploitation, that kind of thing, and misinformation and quality of information


Greg: Like we all do because you all pick those three things.


Mike: Yeah, well, I mean, to a variation, but generally we were very aligned on those things. And this was also in the age of when Trump was still in power, still in power. And, you know, so misinformation was also a huge issue. So, yeah, that was super interesting.


Hatim: Yeah. And, you know, when we look back at last year, 2020, we also see a lot of research that comes about that through the course of the year, I think a lot of people went through a transition where they chose to become more sustainable. Yeah. And was the second half of the year, you started seeing a lot of large companies, the Apples and Amazons of the world make large declarations saying they’re going to be carbon neutral by so and so they turned. And I think at some level maybe we went to a mini version of that, you know, ourselves. Yeah. But I think both our backgrounds were more in the SAS marketing space, our conventional technology space. And somehow I just felt like this was the moment that I wanted to also change the course of my career. Yeah. And have a much bigger purpose to it. So, yeah, and thankfully it was fun, people that aligned with that.


Mike: Yeah. So in the end, so essentially the conclusion from that exercise was that we all had kind of this, we were aligned on what the world needs and we looked at our skills and passions and the skill sets were basically, you know, we all have a background in technology and science and marketing. Yeah, I did more on the product side and kind of his own entrepreneurial journey. CTO, obviously, very technically, very techie and oriented and myself. More on the commercial side, partnerships, sales, acquisition, building communities, networks. And so the conclusion was essentially, OK, let’s, you know, put those technologies, says making, essentially making, creating solutions that make life easier for people and businesses. Let’s use that to help the brands and businesses that are actually making a difference in the world. Positive development. Yeah. So, yeah, our ethical coffee brand and coco brands are sustainable clothing brands, buy companies, et cetera. So that was kind of the basis of where this whole 3D journey started. We had a quick creative brainstorming session about the name of the company. It was called Social Skill. We changed it to treaty. Yeah. And yeah, that’s where it all kind of started. Cool.


Greg: And so you would say that it seemed like in your case that worked because you had the same what the world needs the same kind of context, then that kind of helps you align on the purpose.


Hatim: Yeah. So I would say that the purpose comes from what the world needs. Yeah. And then the other aspects of it in terms of like what we’re good at and what we can get. Yeah. That we get more on the operational side.


Mike: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,


Hatim: But yeah, so in terms of what the world needs and I think what I mean is just kind of the same thing. Yes, we believe that we want to help create a world where everybody is out of economic action that happens is actually positive for the planet and the people on it, as opposed to what is often the case right now where, you know, a lot of our economic activity is leading to a degradation of. Yeah, not just, you know, the biosphere and not just about it, but also it’s also an even more exploitation and yeah. In the value chain, let’s say. So we aren’t going to kind of help with that transition where we believe that at some point in the future we should have an economic system where every brand and every business is actually creating more positive impact than that negative impact. And that’s what we want to help create with the help of OK.


Greg: Yeah, that’s interesting. So there’s a couple of things that come up and one. So, yeah. One to just I guess to get your vision a bit clearer because it’s a really nice vision. I think. So it’s sort of like the idea that at the moment, for many reasons, like each purchase quite often has a negative impact on the planet. Yeah. And then you see a world where each purpose is essentially, I guess it has to be like accounted for. So that has to be enough data and has to be an information where you can account for everything and you can see that the purchases that happen are not damaging.


Hatim: Absolutely. I think there’s this idea of true cost accounting, right. Where not just the financial cost of something, but also the environmental impact of the social impact of everything that we buy. Yeah, and alongside that, we see more and more government action, more and more regulation coming in. Yeah, well, you know, there’s more of a need for businesses to be conscious of the impact they create. The triangle is, of course, just the from the consumer market. Right. So people who produce things and I’ve seen this change in me also over the last few years, that I am much more careful now on what I you and why I would use it. Yeah. And if I got change my diet as well, am I going to consume meat like I used to, you know, try my best to reduce plastics on the photo. It’s just this is even before it really happened, right? Yeah. This is just a natural change and that is also putting pressure on businesses. Yeah. And I think all of that put together is the concept of what really is kind of. Yeah. Address. So, yeah. So just to give, you know, like a definition of the business, what we hope our customers do is have them measure, compare, share impact. Yeah. So starting from helping them identify exactly what their impact is, you know how to measure and the perspective is compared to the right benchmarks and then give you means to share it with your customers or investors or employees or anybody else. Yeah.


Mike: And then to really quickly just touch back on what he was talking about before. So when we were going through this process of. Yeah. Kind of looking at where do we want to go with this business and stuff like that, I ran into this quote and it’s always stuck with me that essentially said I think it was from someone’s tax speech or something, which essentially said every time you spend money, you’re voting for the kind of world that you want. And that has kind of stuck with me ever since. Yeah. You know, changing the world is not just like you as a consumer, you as a person you don’t like. We all feel like we’re kind of generally people feel like they’re kind of powerless and like changing the world is like this big task. You know, you’ve got your entrepreneurs out there that are trying to change the world. But in general, that’s kind of the sentiment that people have right now. Like how what can I do as one person to actually make a difference? Yeah. And generally, you know, the feeling is, OK, I can vote once every four years for the president or a new prime minister, and that’s basically about it. And a couple of local things here and there.


Mike: But the reality is that your wallet is your voting bill. Yeah, daily basis. Yeah. Like every time you buy something, you’re essentially saying I this is my vote for you to exist as a company. Yeah. It’s obviously not as simple as that because we all have needs and we all have limitations when it comes to like financial capabilities and all that stuff. But as a concept that really kind of hit home for me. And yeah, it actually made me change my mindset a lot. But now I can zoom and what I find kind of resonating with what I was saying did change my habits as well. And essentially what we want to do is kind of also just generally change the way we market products by, you know, actually taking impact into consideration and helping brands measure that impact. Exactly what I said. Yeah, measure that impact compared to something and translated to language that clarifies things for customers and makes them understand what you’re buying, what the impact of that is, whether it’s a better or worse buying decision and essentially allowing helping the customer vote for, you know, the world they want. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.


Greg: I like I like the quote because I think framing it in terms of a vote really gives that it’s empowering. Yeah, that’s for sure. I think it would be it would be nice to hear like an example or two of like the kind of work you guys do to give more of a concrete sense of like how that comes into practice. Yes. So if you have any idea


Mike: How the message works with our customers. So, yeah. So the best person to do


Hatim: So, I mean, just in terms of the customers we have right now, you know, we work with responsible coffee brands. Yeah. You’re in Amsterdam. So one of them is more coffee. Another one is Kahului. Then we have an E bike brand called Global Mobility Brand Work Plus. And they make like a.. Mosquito ointments. And the larger mission is to kind of eradicate malaria. We have a brand, Mr. Beaumont. You make sustainable timber from recycled materials. Yeah, but all these businesses, I think typically how we start engagement is we first look at what is the broader focus. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And based on that, we identify one of the key kind of metrics that represent the positive impact of this business.


Greg: Right. So what might they be


Hatim: Able to in new office case? It’s the income that goes to the farmers. Yeah. And how that income is helping these farmers have a more sustainable livelihood in the local community. Yeah, in the case of global mobility, it’s basically the carbon offset of riding an E bike was taking a more, let’s say, dirty fuel vehicle, such as a normal guy running on gasoline. Yeah. Yeah. So on and so forth. And essentially, once we have identified those metrics, we also put the benchmark. Yep. So I guess it’s what would be the CO2 footprint of riding a normal vehicle. Yeah. In case of Mr. Beaumont. And you know, they make some but recycled nylon over there. The competitive is a snapshot of me from just watching that.


Greg: All right.


Hatim: So with each business, once we can find the metrics, we look at what’s the competitive, you know, and what is what are you going to essentially improve on? What is the status quo that you’re trying to kind of fund? Yeah, and once we have identified these two things, then we can essentially calculate the impact not just of the business overall, but at the product level. Yeah, potentially also the customer. So if I’ve been buying coffee from Wal-Mart for the last one or two years. Yeah. What is the total amount of my you know, which is amount. Yeah. That has gone to the farmers and their communities and those kind of conclusions that we can do.


Greg: And then that’s something that it’s the company could then share with their customers. Is that and then um, I’m right in saying you also helped present that information. So let’s go out and yell


Hatim: Or something like that. Yeah. Yeah. So we are the enablers. Yeah. Yeah. So what we provide as part of our own software platform is the ability for any of these brands to manage these measures and to also share these measures either directly on the website as part of some basic widgets that we can also have them set up. Or what happens very often is they kind of push it to other marketing software, such as the emailing software or the software or any other such tool. And then it kind of is going to be manipulated in any way they want to go about that, because, of course, a lot of marketing, as you well aware, it requires someone to create a book. And we are a software company, so, yeah, and obviously each brand wants to do it in their own language.


Mike: Yeah, of course. Of course. And the business, of course.


Greg: Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. Um, so something that comes up for me. So in the Ikigai you also have what, what can I make money with. Yeah. So did you ever have a point where you’re like. Can we make money with this Lakers with that? Did I ever come up or is there like to someone? Because I think I think something that stops I think I mean, this is my assumption, but something that starts stops companies from moving towards this more. And what is the world needs? Is this like we won’t be able to make any money or it would become uncompetitive? Yeah. Yeah.


Mike: So yeah. So I mean that I think that’s I think that’s more of a symptom of the kind of, you know, the kind of economic system. Yeah. That we’ve kind of been living in the last decades that essentially to be successful you need to it’s purely focused on, you know, financial profit, financial gains, and generally especially because, you know. In fact, there’s been social and environmental kind of efforts have the first thing I think of, if I think of kind of the past, is, you know, things like Greenpeace, WWF, UN, sorry, UNICEF, you know, essentially NGOs and social enterprises are funded by governments or donations or whatever. So the stigma around positive change, positive impact has always kind of I get where the stigma comes from. Yeah, but it’s completely irrational, right? Yeah. The real issue is that. I think social enterprises impacts, you know, traditionally are purely so IMPAC focused, yeah, right. Yeah. Whereas businesses traditionally are purely profitable. And there’s very few examples, at least from the past, that wherever companies have been able to combine, those two actually made an effort to combine the two and make that a success. But there’s loads of cases out there in the less right that that have done that.


Mike: And I mean, just to name one example, Patagonia. Yeah. Who have been around since I think the 70s. Yeah. You know, they’re usually successful and they’ve always had an impact at their core, right. Yeah, it’s sustainable using quality goods that it last longer. So and the interesting thing is that I think the world is waking up to that. Right. So that you see more and more brands popping up that are essentially saying triple bottom line people, planet profit. Yeah. And without people planet there’s no business. Yeah, right. Equally important. Yeah. Without profit you can’t run a business. Yeah. Yeah. You can’t sustain yourself as a business. Yeah. So you can’t make an impact. Yeah. But all those things have to be tied together. Yeah. Well we actually share the best practice in this kind of compare share. Sorry. Uh measure compare shareholder is the very first thing you need to do is like define impact metrics that you can at least preferably that you can tie to the success of your company into the financials. Yeah. So if, if revenue growth impact grows along with it. If it grows and grows. Yeah. Because without and that’s essentially the triple bottom line model.


Greg: So into what, what might that look like. But then the metrics tied together. What’s an example.


Mike: So for example, if you have to take Moyee again as an example. Right. If you’ve set up your business correctly, where MOYEE Money has set up their business in a way that essentially the more coffee they sell. Yeah. The more farmers are getting a more equal. Yeah. Yeah. They’re more equal income. Yeah. And they’ve got all kinds of other models where they’re essentially planting trees, planting coffee trees on the on the plantations of the farmers so that the farmers have even more trees where they’re making even more income. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Expansion and things like that. And so essentially they’ve set it up in a way that the more successful employees, the more people are going to more


Hatim: And more farmers get a sustainable


Mike: Benefit and the more value of the more value stays behind in the country of origin as well. So, yeah, they you know, they don’t just pay the farmers better for the coffee by taking out a lot of middlemen and kind of having the relationship directly with the farmers. But they also train people in the country itself to roast the beans. Yeah. So which usually actually happens in the country where it’s sold. Right. That’s how coffee companies generally make money. Yeah, they’re all they’re all beans from over there. They’re processed there. And then they take it to Europe or the U.S. or whatever. Generally Northern hemisphere. Yeah. To roast it and sell it at a premium. Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah. Great example of a company that essentially has tied in technology to revenue directly to growth. Yeah. Meaning if Moyee grows. Yeah.


Hatim: Yeah, yeah. And they also like to add, you know, this whole idea that when you have Babis maybe taking over from the company, in fact if he looks the opposite because not if you have a purpose. Yeah. It actually allows us to Hauspie sort of scope within which we can experiment on different business models. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And also, in fact, it’s a bit liberating because not like and I also experienced this first hand, my biggest business is. Yeah. When you don’t have a very clearly defined purpose. Yeah. You can get it all over the place.


Mike: Oh yeah.


Hatim: And then and this seems like a good opportunity and this seems like a good opportunity. Yeah it was when you start saying no, but this is our purpose. We want to contribute to a better economic system, one which is good for the other people and then automatically eliminates a lot of.


Greg: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s, that’s true. It’s so it has this, it has, it’s, well it’s an energy source, but it also has this, this sort of unifying thing where like it’s like you lose everything you start to. Line everything underneath is absolutely going and then yeah, yeah, definitely, and I think you said quite, quite a few interesting things with this sort of purpose and profit thing. I think quite often indeed, I think it’s sort of thought of as an either or. Yeah. And, you know, with the triple bottom line and also you have the sort of tying your impact metric to your profits. It’s just kind of like it’s including its way of thinking, it’s including more it’s not like reducing to like one thing. Yeah. And I think you need to start doing that because I think what kind of often happens is like it’s just that they are kind of in a way that can be feel contradictory when you’re when you’re dealing with both of those because you do have to focus on profit. And then when you do that, it’s very it’s very kind of cold and calculating. And then if you are more on the purchase side, when you start doing that, you’re like, yeah, but and then if you’re more for the profit side, then you sort of like you take a step with the person. You’re like, this is just airy fairy stuff. And so it’s done the right thing, you know,


Hatim: When you just have a profit focus. Yeah. And if your business has only been like this old economy, conventional shareholder value and profits. Yeah. And then to suddenly back in some of us on you. So, I mean, so inauthentic like most people with basic integrity which are more than good, that they should fit a popish should be it should be the other way and it’s the other way around. You know, you should start from what is your purpose and then build a business. Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Greg: I have a sense and that’s I think that’s something interesting to talk about that because I have a sense that that process of because indeed it’s it really it really shouldn’t be that you just like you’re like, oh, purpose is good. I’ll go get one of those. And I’m thinking of the purpose. And that’s also because, I mean, I’ve been I’ve been writing a couple of articles about this and I’ve been sort of researching the blogs that appear, you know, top of the list for purpose marketing and stuff like that and that. And it makes sense. You know, they cover a section that says, why the purpose, my purpose for marketing? And then it’s always brands that do this succeed. But then people that read that will then go, oh, I need to get purpose to succeed. But it’s going the wrong way to do it because it’s not something if it’s if it’s genuine, it’s not something they forced that way. That’s something that you have to you have to really care. So whether you guys, you know, you really care about this vision of a world where it’s. Yeah, yeah. I wonder if you have any thoughts about that.


Mike: So, you know, that’s actually where this American model comes from. And I was actually reading an article the other day about the kind of the development, the sort of evolution of the role of a sustainability manager within a company. Yeah. And the conclusion was essentially that we’re still in a place where there’s no clear definition or career path that you can follow towards becoming a sustainability manager because sustainability manager and one company could mean something completely different than what they were saying is essentially if the sustainability manager, if you’re talking to a company where the sustainability manager spends 80 percent of their time on or working with marketing anywhere. Right. Yeah, because it should be that that is the sustainability manager and it’s really impactful company or at least a company that wants to transition to that kind of people. A true people planet profit. Yeah, triple bottom line. That person should actually be talking to the supply chain managers, the operations manager. Yes. The production side of things. Yeah, right. And yes, you also need to be communicating with marketing because you need to communicate it properly. But it starts at the core. It’s not. Yeah, it’s not, it’s not makeup. That’s supposed to be makeup. Yeah. It’s supposed to be you know. Yeah exactly. You need to change first and


Greg: Then talk about. Yeah I think so. I think so. And but how I mean you know it’s like so sorry.


Mike: It reminds me of like. Yeah. Eight to ten years ago and you know, and actually it was quite a bit before that maybe when this whole like start up entrepreneurship scene started trending and everybody wanted to be an entrepreneur. So you’d go into these you’d go to these events like these drinks events where everybody was not return. There was also a time where everybody was just right. Yeah. If you’d mixed a few songs at one party or deejay, if you register a website, you were an entrepreneur. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And that’s kind of the same thing. Yeah. Have you. Done the work and made the changes to actually do that, to have real impact. Yeah. Or are you just talking about it and putting a nice little green? Yeah, a bit of green makeup on it, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,


Greg: Yeah, yeah. I would also say that I definitely agree with that. And then at the same time, I would say not to completely throw out talking about it or communicating it alongside making efforts to. No.


Mike: No actually that’s. Yeah.


Greg: And not be afraid also to talk about it. Yeah. Even I think even when you haven’t got it all figured out because. Because, because I know it’s, you know, that doesn’t mean we’re really like a work in progress.


Mike: I mean you in on a little secret like nobody’s got it. Exactly.


Greg: Exactly.


Mike: Exactly. Yeah. I mean there’s a couple, there’s probably a certain of that are the closest to having figured it out. Yeah. What that really needs to kind of create a sustainable space. Yeah. But yeah we’re all we’re all on a journey to figure it out. Exactly. Some people are figuring it out and some people are doing just what they’re doing. What they’ve always done. Yes.


Hatim: Like communicating like they’re trying to say thank you. Just honestly interested in this space. Yeah. And I think the key thing is that, you know, the economy most businesses were going down this one path. Yeah. Right. Where they were prioritizing profits without getting for that gross indifference, genuine indifference towards the planet or genuine indifference towards all the suppliers, you know, the people in that whole space. And they were going down the certain box. And as long as they have done that view and are genuinely trying to go down a different path with them, balancing all these different things like balancing the impact on the environment, balancing the impact on the people that are part of this process, I feel that’s a legitimate case to share your story. Yeah, this is a theory on the reason why we’re going this way is we feel that eventually we get to a place where X, Y, Z. Yeah, right. And I think that is the real measure of the business is genuinely going in that direction. There’s absolutely no reason why you can share all your successes, all your failures and the best brands that we look at, you know, that have a purpose. Yeah. One of the things that really stands out is the very transparent and very honest about their own failures. Yeah. And, you know, in today’s world where so many brands are just trying to greenwash and, you know, pretend like, you know, holier than thou. Yeah. It’s so refreshing to see brands talk about their mistakes. And actually, how do you build more credibility? Yeah, right. So it’s just a question of authenticity, in my opinion.


Mike: I do want to bring an example from your home country, Scotland.


Greg: Yeah, please do bring Blue Dog. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Exactly.


Mike: So they make a lot of effort to, you know, constantly be making less of an impact, be more sustainable, etc. They communicate about it, about what they’re doing, but they also the CEO himself like regularly post things about the mistakes that he’s made. That’s great. And the fact that they are not perfect. And yeah, all this stuff and there’s loads of examples out there to


Greg: Do this really. Well, yeah, I think that’s great. And I think yeah. I guess the impulse was just to maybe to encourage that because I think that, um, I think it can maybe stop people from making a change because it feels sometimes that you have to be all or nothing or what you’re doing. You’re like, well, I mean but I think also it’s important to find it’s important to find as you’re making the change, to find people that resonate with what you’re talking about and where you’re coming from, because that can give you the necessary support to keep keeping going. Because I think, yeah, it can often feel like if you do want to make a change, but then you’re stuck in a place where all the communication is not about that. It’s about making profit. And, you know. Yeah. Then it’s.


Mike: Yeah, I mean, how great is the feeling of like, oh, and I can drink a great idea and I and I’m still. Yeah. And it’s still ok. Yeah.


Hatim: But I think you’ve touched upon something very important because I felt this maybe for myself. Yeah. Before I think Mike and I found that I was connected with the idea of more impactful brands going open to different businesses. But because I had already kind of gone further in the previous businesses and built something that I’d find a bit disingenuous to kind of. Yes, must stick something. Yes. Yeah, yeah. On that, you know. And I think what helped me yeah, I’m sure it’s different for different people, but what helped me was really questioning myself and coming to certain conclusions or answers on what I truly believe in. Yeah. And what do I truly believe the. What it means, yes, that’s why they got exercisable, so yeah, yeah, and, you know, it’s the philosophy of the theory that a place now where I really like what I’m doing. McCreadie But even if it does not exist, you know, it’s a theory. It’s a theory of change the direction that I feel very committed to. Yeah, right. And I think part of the reason why you have this inauthentic pop is being slapped onto something is because sometimes the core leadership team or the founding team or the owners of the business, sometimes they either are in the process of answering these things for themselves. So they’re not picked those few things or they’re not giving themselves the time to kind of.


Mike: Yeah, we answer it, you know. Yeah. That’s why I think the current situation, as horrible as it has been for a lot of people, was this kind of big wake up moment. The reason for that was because people you were you were seeing things happening right like that. I think the first few things that were in the news was when the lockdowns have been going for a while. As we said, there’s like 80 percent less pollution in the air. Holy shit. There’s a town in India that’s seen the Himalayas for the first time. Yeah, I don’t know how long you can see fish in the in the in the water in Venice. Yeah. We haven’t seen in that in combination with people just having. Like, everything was just frozen for like a month. Yeah, at the beginning, yeah, right. Nobody knew what was happening. Everyone sitting at home kind of thinking about life and. Yeah. Am I doing really doing what I want to be doing? Yeah. Not everybody but you know. Yeah. Yeah I think yeah. That really tell that. Yes.


Hatim: The other big important


Mike: Side of our fall. Yeah.


Greg: Yeah. Yeah. I think that seems like the important thing is to get to this genuine sense of, of purpose. It seems like, you know, you’re saying that you need time to, to slow down. And I think also with the current situation, it’s sort of it’s almost like you need those just survival mechanisms to just stop running or whatever is driving you today, because it’s just sort of like you just go and you get off the treadmill. Yeah. And then when those come down a bit, then you get this this other deeper thing coming up of like, yeah, I know what’s so what’s it what, what’s it all about. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.


Mike: I mean and also just come into my life purpose in general. I mean it doesn’t have to be about the environment or about, you know, social change or ever like I mean I think Japan is a great example of where you can really find I mean, if a guy comes. Yeah. Mindset comes from there. Right. But the cd the amount of craft that you still see, the people that are just committed to their craft and have, you know, essentially spend their entire life making noodles. Yeah. Just Yeah. Yes, yeah. You know, or making tofu or soy or whatever or tea or woodwork or whatever like something that’s sort of. Exactly. And some kitchen knives. I mean I’m a I’m a passionate cook. Yeah. Yeah. And some chef jobs in the best, I mean the best knives definitely come from there. Yeah. Yeah, yeah of course. And I think that kind of. I think that kind of purpose, just the concept of purpose in general, has been lost in this kind of Western neo


Greg: Liberal,


Mike: Very profit. Yeah, profit for


Hatim: The purpose became profit, I think.


Mike: Yeah. And a lot of. Yeah, and a lot of sense.


Hatim: And so every financial inclusion right now going to be this confusion that I found. OK, what is my goal and what is which direction am I going. Yeah. Yeah. And you know, because there was this general consensus, especially after the early 90s where political events took place, you know, there’s a general consensus that this is the way to go, capitalism is the way to go, and what makes capitalism work its profit. So everybody probably, you know, that just became like this general consensus. And I saw that happen in India because India used to be very socialist country. And, you know, somewhere in the 90s, it just became about profit. Yeah.


Mike: To the point where essentially and I recommend everybody to check this area out, though. I don’t know if you’ve ever read. She’s an economist and she’s done. Her most recent book is essentially about reinventing the economy and rethinking about what is value creation. So, yeah, it’s we’ve got we’ve gotten so far into this rabbit hole of, you know, profit is everything. Yeah. That we’ve essentially it’s become the same thing like value creation, associated value creation with profit. Yes, financial


Hatim: People measure value in money, even


Mike: Like even the original economists. And she talks about his like even the original economists saw, for example, landlords and financial people that were doing the financial kind of accounting and things like that. Banks saying they were too sterile, sterile class. In other words, the non-productive. Yeah, and for the lot, I mean, when it comes to like value creation, the financial the financial industry, the banking wasn’t considered value creation until part of kind of it wasn’t even part of GDP. Yeah. Until like somewhere in the 70s. 80S. Yeah. Yeah. And before that it was just seen as just an exchange of value, you know. Kind of. Yeah.


Hatim: Moving, moving, moving valuable productivity.


Mike: Associate there was no productivity. Yeah. So that only originated in like, you know, 50, 60 years ago.


Greg: Yeah. I think that’s, I think that’s, that’s really interesting. And also I think for me it’s that this movement towards value equals money. It’s also it’s a movement within yourself towards things being very mental. And so it’s a calculation. And I almost think there’s also been a move to people more into their heads. And then you think about value. It’s very conceptual and something you that you calculate. But it’s the same thing with the purpose and your values. They it’s not the actual value of something. It’s not it’s not something that you use your money for. It’s not a formula. It’s something that you it’s something that you feel and that needs that needs more time and space. And it’s more sort of grounded thing. And I think that’s like. Yeah. Where I think we’re kind of caught in this really mental space at the moment. And it’s


Mike: Yeah. We’re trying to figure a bit lost. Yeah.


Hatim: Because we want to connect to this. You know, one interesting thing that most leading environmentalist environmental scientist activists, like some people in my family, for example, are, but not just them when I go and I do like research on the planetary boundaries, you know, and I look at scientists who work on that, a common theme that they all kind of talk about is apart from you learning and educating yourself about what is in fact background, not part of what the solution is, is just reconnecting with nature. Yeah, just reconnecting the planet. Yeah. You know, because we kind of go into the zone where everything is


Mike: Literally reconnecting with the system that we’re essentially part of. Exactly.


Hatim: And I think


Mike: That, yeah,


Hatim: We have. And also just reconnecting with yourself because you’ve kind of gone into this virtual void. Yeah. Yeah. Um, you know, where everything is just some numbers and our entire self-worth is defined by how much money we have in the bank. Yeah. When did that happen, you know?


Greg: Yeah.


Mike: Yeah, exactly. Mean we actually have some that not everybody. Of course some people go to Vegas. Yeah. Well, we actually have some free time. Generally, what we do right, we go to camp, we go we have a holiday on the beach, we go to the mountains and ski like we go we go look for fresh air nature. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Which apparently gives us a sense of freedom and happiness. So, yeah. What are we doing?


Hatim: Why are we spending 80 percent of our life away from all of those things and, you know, just chasing Netflix. Exactly. Yeah.


Greg: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I think also to come back something you said that the purpose doesn’t it doesn’t need to be this grand thing as well. It doesn’t need to it doesn’t need to be sort of world centric for some people that is. Yeah, but it can be it can be, you know, smaller or closer to home. Yeah, it can be. It can be, you know, about your family, your loved ones. And that’s, you know, that’s or like you say, perfecting an arts. Perfecting a skill.


Hatim: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I think it’s about getting to a place where you feel like your environment is thriving and you are thriving. But yeah. Yeah. And that’s also a quote from David Attenborough from his latest book, Nice. So plagiarize. But, you know, you said that the thing that nature teaches us is that any living being thrives when its environment, right? Yeah, it’s all connected. Yeah. You know, and making farming techniques where it’s not so much about like just getting the maximum yield. Yeah. Out of this land. And I’m going to like to inject this chicken with like all these like antibiotics because I want more flesh, you know. Yeah. This is just having the permaculture farming and you know that it’s about creating abundance and then you can harvest that abundance. Yeah. Yeah. And then there’s a very natural way of having a profit. Yeah. I suppose I would make good on just it and it’s.


Mike: Yeah. If you can, you can find that in so many places that we’re generally drawn to that. I mean if you look at if I’m looking for a house. Right, I look for it generally I’m much more happy in the neighbourhood where there’s some trees. Yeah. Yeah. Taken out of the ground. If you look at the to take California as an example, the richest people in California, they live in Beverly Hills, Malibu. These are all the in San Francisco. They go live like on the island. Just across the bridge. Yeah. It’s all nature. Yeah. Right. Yeah. Beverly Hills is super green. The hills of Malibu are super green. Yeah. There’s just houses surrounded by trees and lawn. Yeah. Nice lawns and gardens. Oh yeah. This is where people go when they have the means to do so. Yeah. So it’s uh. Yeah it’s super interesting. Yeah. Yeah for sure. Show went off on a bit of, a bit of a tangent there but


Hatim: No I think it’s something that. This is what connects us, right? This is what brings us that sense of purpose and alignment. Yeah, because we care for this and I think I know. I do care for humanity despite its flaws. You know, I care for people and it’s nice to see happier people. And I think what happens is in a lot of and you see this especially in like the most financially driven cities. Yeah. Amsterdam, London and Bombay. But I’m from New York City. I’ve been there, so I can’t comment. But I imagine it’s the same. It’s like you find like these hyper finance people, right? Like, you know, we’re really into this corporate scene and even on TV shows and stuff like that, the character has a certain way. So I’m not saying that, but just my own personal experience with a lot of them is that, you know, they might be making a lot of money, but deep inside, they’re just so unhappy. Yeah. And there’s something fundamentally wrong. If the people control the most successful in our society. Yeah. Have something so fundamentally misplaced in their own life. Yeah. Yeah. You know, that shows the disconnect. That proves the disconnect. Yeah. Worse is when you can see these people like fishing and in a farm and you know, the hippies and again, being very realistic or urban like the people in Bali living there all my life. Yeah. They may also be broke and may not have figured out a lot of stuff in life, but they definitely seem happier.


Greg: Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Mike: I think the average person in Bali is definitely not broke right now. Yeah.


Hatim: Yeah, yeah.


Greg: But I think that’s true. I think, I think in yeah. And I think in modernizing we’ve lost, we lost the sense of natural happiness. Yeah. For sure. Uh. Yeah, there’s the there’s a guy, Rob Smith, Antigo guy that I like, said that this kind of situation is like it’s never been better, never felt worse. So like mean. Yes, it’s you know, it’s.


Mike: Yeah, it’s uh. That’s spot on. Yeah. Yeah.


Greg: Um, I think yeah. Like it’s not like the like the technical, technological advances that we’ve had from, you know, the way that we’ve modernized our amazing because they have many great things like family. But at the same time we’ve lost a lot at the moment. And I think it’s sort of like trying to get through to


Mike: An interesting thing like you here in kind of a lot of the activist corners that there’s a lot of talk about. We need to go back to some kind of, you know, some kind of I don’t want to write off all activist activism is very important. But there is a certain group of people that is saying we need to go back to. Some, yeah, time in the past where everything was better and we were more in touch with nature and all that stuff. But first of all, I think that’s a farce because. Yeah, you


Greg: Know, I would


Mike: Please do not send me back to 100 years back when everyone was still no fucking dying from measles.


Greg: Exactly.


Mike: Exactly what it was not. And so, I mean, we’ve innovated to a place where indeed everything is better, but we’re not necessarily happier. Yeah. And I think we’re waking up now to a point where we can innovate further. Yeah. But towards this towards a place where we’re more in touch with nature, not even back to a place where we’re more in touch with nature.


Hatim: I think that has to move forward. Yes, it


Mike: Is. Yesterday’s gone where we can learn our lessons from yesterday, but we can move forward and we can innovate towards a place where things are just as good as they are now. Yeah, but we’re actually feeling good also. Feeling good also. Yeah. And in a sustainable way.


Greg: Yeah, I think so. Because yes. I think future generations. I think it is a fact. Yeah. I’ve heard there is a lot of that type of happening I think. Yeah. Yeah. And it is a kind of fallacy because it’s just it wrongly assumes how perfect everything was before, before.


Mike: And that’s human nature. I’d like to go back and it it’s like the classic kind of caricature of a grandfather. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I can remember hearing he was twice as big and more delicious and I walked to school and I loved it. Yeah. The youth of today.


Greg: Yeah. Yeah exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. On purpose.


Hatim: Yeah. I think like one of the reasons why, you know, I really enjoy the work that we are doing together with Treety is it brings me close to other businesses, other people, you know, who are similarly kind of conscious of not just from the perspective of their own kind of environmental impact and social impact, things like that, but also conscious of a more holistic vision of living. Yeah. You know, in a more holistic vision of like meeting priorities in life. And, you know, I feel like there is a place where the comforts that we have can coexist with a more sustainable lifestyle. You know, it’s not about either or. I think, you know, part of the country you’re talking about, like people sometimes feel like they have to sacrifice an existing business to almost have a purpose. Yeah. And I feel that there’s a much more natural way of making that transition. And, you know, the first thing, the most important thing to you and start on that process is to have that belief that it is possible. Yeah. Um, so I think the at least for me, the thing I want to kind of see at the end, let’s say, is that I really believe that every person and every business can find this. Yeah. It’s not like you have it’s not a niche. Yeah. And I say like one subsegment of the economy where everybody can have a purpose that can coexist with the current economic system. Yeah. That is actually what’s happening to the evolution of this economics. Yeah. So yeah. You know, you just keep the faith and look deep inside you and you will find it.


Mike: Yeah. Yeah. Very wise. I was, I would take that like I would even put a cherry on top of that and say that there’s a cherry on top of the purpose by go ahead. But in all seriousness that there’s, there’s new and better comforts and the horizon, you know, like if you come if we take it back to that conversation about, you know, what we look for when we have that free time and all that stuff like, yeah, let’s innovate towards those new and better. Yeah. Yeah, we yes, we might have to sacrifice some things, but I think a lot of those things aren’t even things that necessarily make us sustainably happy. Yeah. So that’s, I mean that’s my main takeaway. And just in general, since I’ve kind of started on, you know, since we decided to start treaty and we’ve been working with these fact focused brands and we’ve found a kind of purpose. And I mean, every day it’s a challenge and it’s hard. And all that general startup stuff, roller coaster stuff. Yeah, but it’s been a pleasure every day. And just talking to these entrepreneurs and people that are working for these impact businesses or people that are inside other businesses trying to make a change. Yeah. Like, it’s so it’s so refreshing. I’m learning every day. Yeah. It’s maybe it’s made me a better person. I want to say it’s made me a more conscious consumer, first of all.


Mike: Right, so not to stick a feather in my own body, but like I haven’t bought a piece of clothing in. Now, over here, and that’s not because, like, I’m starving myself of new clothes or I’m trying to, like, be a perfectionist or whatever, but every time since we started this and pretty early on, we were talking to this company called Hack Your Closet, which kind of makes packages. It’s a subscription to clothing, new clothing, pieces that have been used before. Every month you get a new box of clothing. And I learned a lot there about like the impact of new clothing production in fast fashion and all that stuff. And now every time that I think about buying a new piece of clothing, I just think about it like I think about it first before I actually go and get that piece of clothing. Yeah. And apparently I haven’t really needed that new piece of clothing. Right. So it just kind of even just interacting with these brands and reading up on all this stuff. It just makes you more conscious kind of person. Yeah. And it’s made me a yeah. It definitely made me a better one in the process. Yeah. I just suggest everyone to at least check out some brands and check out what they’re what they’re doing to make a difference and kind of educate yourself. Yeah. Without any pressure. Yeah, yeah.


Hatim: Yeah. You know, baby steps. Yeah. It’s tough going with an open mind. It’s going on. Yeah. Yeah. You know and what you find. Yeah.


Greg: Yeah. I think that’s a nice way to approach it for sure.


Mike: Yeah it was.


Greg: Cool. OK, well, this has been a great conversation, absolutely remeasure, so thank you for joining me.


Hatim: Absolutely.


Greg: And yeah, I think we’re probably going to do another one sometime in the near future as well. Well, OK. So thank you very much, guys.


Mike: Thank you. Founder.

Greg is co-founder of Kenekt Digital and is interested in where business and social change intersect. He uses his background in Philosophy and International Development to develop new ways of marrying these two areas, and aims to build an organisation which is maximally responsible, maximally useful as a service, while at the same time fulfilling its function to bring wealth to its employees. He runs the company with his 2 best friends, who share his passions.