“Creating a sustainable future means rethinking every system that’s currently in place. So we need people from all over every aspect of the world who are equally as dedicated.” – Courtney on why we’re building a sustainable ecosystem.
In this episode of EnvironMental with Dandelion we talked about why we’re working so hard to build a sustainable ecosystem, one of the biggest mistakes brands make, and… balloons?
It’s been more than a year since we had a solo podcast update. We have been busy, so we simultaneously feel like, “what happened to the past year?” along with being a little winded from all the turnaround! Throughout 2022, we rebranded Dandelion and along with it, decided to focus our efforts on creating a sustainable ecosystem within our own brand.
Elements of the Dandelion Ecosystem
For us, everything goes back to networks, community, and communication. So aside from having awesome clients and being a digital marketing agency for brands focused on sustainability & regeneration, we are actively building community around sustainable systems.
Previously, we had created a completely additional brand, the Living Brand Directory, to promote the businesses that we trust. We didn’t want to feel like we were pandering. But upon reflection, we’re proud of what we’re building and we are proud to affiliate ourselves with these amazing living businesses. Now, we are actively working to absorb that under the Dandelion Branding Living Brand Community. This is a current work in progress on our website.
We also hold monthly online events where we discuss challenges and inspiration with other business owners. We call them our Sustainable Social Hours and they’re absolutely wonderful. They’re very small groups of folks just chatting about stuff that makes business owners feel lonely. We don’t have an agenda and we don’t prepare a speech. Our Social Hours are just that – social. A safe space to get to know people in this community.
Additionally, we offer free, evergreen sustainability content that folks can just USE. Every month, we write a post called, “Swipe this Post” that we literally encourage people and other businesses to share. We’re dedicated to elevating the profile of sustainability. Swipe this post is one way we use our skills as a marketing agency to do that.
Speaking of giving back, we’re members of One Percent for the Planet. Every month, we donate to forest protection projects around the world through the Forest Conservation Fund, AND this year we started working with long-term in-kind donations for projects we find dear. In 2023, we’re working with Tari.
And of course, you can’t forget the EnvironMental Podcast! We’ve been operating it for more than 2 years and we’re still learning so much from all the guests we have on!
If you think that’s a lot… you’re right. But we take building our ecosystem very seriously.
Why Do We Call it a Sustainable Ecosystem?
We call what we’re building our “sustainable ecosystem” because an ecosystem is a place where everything works together to form a beautiful little bubble of life. It is absolutely our intention to create a beautiful bubble, centered around sustainability, that sustains ourselves and our community.
Our vision is to change the world by elevating and promoting the importance of the transition to a more sustainable planet. We think it’s especially important to support businesses and brands in that transition because that is how people make real change in our society. So yes, we offer education, services, support, and solidarity within our little bubble, and we call it an ecosystem.
The Best Way to Impact Change; The Balloon Theory
Have you ever blown up a balloon inside of another balloon? Eventually the inside balloon fills the outside balloon and takes the place of the outside balloon when it pops. This is the metaphor we use when we talk about creating real, societal change.
While there is a (very large) part of the Dandelion Duo loving the idea of a sustainable revolution, we also see the reality: we can’t simply burn down capitalism and expect things to change. Starting a violent revolution creates a lot of enemies and leaves people flailing. That doesn’t work when we’re trying to create a collaborative experience to save the planet.
But the balloon theory works quite well here.
Imagine a big, full, greedy capitalism balloon. There are ingrained systems, written and unwritten regulations, subsidies, investments, and buy-in from most of the population.
Now, put a small sustainability balloon inside of it. Right now, there is very little regulation or investment, and not enough interest from the general public to create a standard that everyone can agree with. If this little inside balloon tried to burst the outside balloon right now there wouldn’t be enough space in the small balloon for all the systems. It would be absolute chaos. And when people are in chaos, they don’t think about sustainability. They look for stability.
SO What do we do? We fill up the little sustainability balloon with care. We promote conscious capitalism and build sustainable systems that work better and are easy to transition to. And we keep expanding the little balloon from the inside until the big, greedy balloon pops. Not because of a chaotic revolution. But because greed and ugly competition and exploitation is obsolete. (The only kind of planned obsolescence we’re into)
The way we’re framing our role and the role of our business is to help blow up that sustainability balloon. We have to make the space smaller for those companies that are doing more harm than good so we can create space for change that does less harm. We know it sounds optimistic and simple – it isn’t. This is the hard work. But hard work doesn’t have to be violent work.
Our Huge Announcement: The Unity in ESG Conference
And to kick off that hard work? We’re bringing our sustainable ecosystem together at a digital conference later this year called Unity in Esg: Breaking Out of Your Sustainability Silo
You heard it here first – cause this is FRESH news.
The Unity in ESG Conference is going to be a hybrid of the things we have been doing with the social hours and EnvironMental. There will be speakers and talks you can listen to, but we’re also working towards fostering small groups and one-on-one networking spaces within the community platform.
If our goal is to change the world through elevating our sustainability balloon, then we have to work together to do it. We’re hoping that this conference can be a catalyst for folks to break out of their silo and create cross-industry projects!
We Probably Won’t Promote Our Sustainable Ecosystem with Ads
Just a side note while we’re speaking of breaking the status quo. We’d like to dispel the myth that when you build a new business the first thing you should do is run ads.
That may have worked in 2016 but in 2023, it’s usually a waste of money, and it’s one of the biggest mistakes small businesses make in their first year.
So, you probably won’t be served any ads for the conference, but stay tuned for more organic content about it! (Join our email list in the footer below!)