Impact Hustlers - Entrepreneurs with Social Impact

Why Companies Should Prioritize Sustainability: Martin Rich of Future-Fit Foundation

September 21, 2021 Maiko Schaffrath Season 1 Episode 77
Impact Hustlers - Entrepreneurs with Social Impact
Why Companies Should Prioritize Sustainability: Martin Rich of Future-Fit Foundation
Show Notes

Martin Rich, co-founder and executive director of the Future Fit Foundation, joins us today to talk about how this company supports other companies and incorporates social and environmental impact into their business models. Future Fit works with a variety of companies, including The Body Shop and Fuji Xerox.

Martin shares how his career started as an investment banker at HSBC and then as a sales director at Social Finance. While working at Social Finance, Martin felt a desire to take all of his financial experience and knowledge and start using it for something more purposeful and fulfilling. He realized that while raising capital for impact-driven companies was a great advocacy, it was just a small fix to a problem that needed bigger solutions in place. With that, Future Fit aims to show companies the gap between where they are now and where they need to be if they want an ethical business with a positive contribution to the planet. To do this, Future Fit created 23 clear goals for companies with the help of different experts around the world. 

Martin also explains how Future Fit works seamlessly with companies like B Corps. Companies like B Corps are described by Martin as essentially operating on reports that are backward-looking, which blends well with something forward-looking such as Future Fit. To cite an example, Future Fit aims to prepare companies with questions like, “What if carbon tax gets introduced?” and “What if the waste tax gets reintroduced?” The objective is to help de-risk companies while encouraging its sustainability.

When asked about the challenges Future Fit has encountered since its establishment and how the company has survived through them, Martin emphasizes the importance of partnership.  He details how he and his Future Fit co-founder Dr. Jefhave helped each other through many different challenges, one of which is funding. Though funding is a fundamental need of a company, Martin says that focus should be on getting the money to follow you, not vice versa.

Lastly, Martin envisions a world in ten years where the biggest and most influential companies would be going on a Future Fit journey, in turn creating a fundamental shift in the way businesses perceive what it means to create value.

Martin’s key lessons and quotes from this episode were:

  • “The things you are investing in are affecting people on the planet, in some good ways, and usually in quite lots of bad ways at the same time. If you're financing those in any way, shape, or form, you are partly responsible for that impact.” (6:50)
  • “It's about pushing those dials all the way up to 100% across all of those goals. That's a journey. It's not going to happen tomorrow; it's 10, 15, 20 years’ time, maybe more for some organizations.” (9:53)
  • “You’ve just got to choose a few things. Start on that journey. Don't try and do everything at once. Take some easy wins, get those easy wins over the line, and then start working your way down.” (31:30)
  • “Don't follow the money. Try and find the money that wants to follow you.” (35:41)
  • “Don't focus on the setbacks; focus on what you can learn and keep pushing to that next win.” (37:09)

In this episode, we also talked about:

  • How Future Fit was founded (2:57)
  • The transformational journey through Future Fit (13:46)
  • B Corps and Future Fit (19:50)
  • Traversing challenges as a company  (32:31)
  • A fundamental shift in true value (37:41)

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