Cotopaxi, Field + Farmer, Coty, ES & More Talk Doing Good

Cotopaxi, Field + Farmer, Coty, ES & More Talk Doing Good

Brands have the power to help make the world a better place and as consumers shop their values, more companies are built upon their values to make the world a more sustainable and equitable place.

At a recent Brand Innovators livecast on Brands Doing Good, executives from leading brands including Cotopaxi, Field + Farmer, Coty, Chime, Exelixis and Electronic Arts talked about how to build brands with purpose.

Davis Smith, CEO at outdoor supplier Cotopaxi founded his company in hopes of improving the world around him. The company donates part of its income to nonprofits that are helping fight poverty. 

I did believe, from the very beginning, that doing good was going to be good for business,” said Smith. “When I moved back from Brazil, I went to Silicon Valley and I started meeting with investors. I ended up meeting with 100 different investors to pitch this idea. I faced a lot of rejection, people that questioned whether I could build a brand that was sustainable, if we were giving away money from the very beginning, before we ever made money. But we ended up having investors that believed in us, and stood behind us.”

Smith has also been involved in personally supporting a street vendor named Edgar open a small storefront in Cuzco. It’s so inspiring to see the life that he’s lived.  This is my question for each of you: who is your Edgar? Who is the person, or the thing that can inspire you every single day to look beyond yourselves? I am grateful to have him in my life, this friendship that will be lifelong and where I get to learn and grow from him.

Plant-based food brand Field + Farmer is hoping to change the world by offering more sustainable food choices with more sustainable packaging.

“From our perspective at Field + Farmer, we believe that the future of food, from a pure food attribute standpoint, is still in fresh, clean and plant-based. Not only is it what consumers want, it’s what’s most humane and environmentally friendly,” said Isabella Chia, EVP, Managing Director at Field + Farmer.  “With that being said, in terms of how consumers consume, and how we actually go about doing it, that’s where there’s a lot of evolution in the coming years. There’s a demand for tastier, restaurant-quality food but more convenient. I want to eat like I would have at a restaurant, but I don’t want to spend a lot of time making it. How can we get consumers the solutions they want?

Inclusivity is part of beauty brand Coty’s mission to make the world a better place. Diversity is embedded within the company’s operations.

“Inclusivity is how you’re looking to build a team that’s a little different from you. It’s diversity of thought, developing people and bringing people onto your team that have a different background from a cultural or educational perspective,” said Nilukshi De Silva, Head Of Digital Marketing & Content Strategy at Coty. “That’s how I look at building a team because that’s when you can do some of the best work. Digital is a really creative way of thinking and we’re always trying to develop new ideas. You want someone on your team that can challenge you and solve problems differently than you.”

Fee-free banking brand Chime aims to make banking more accessible for all. 

“There are so many things that may come off as silent bias,” said Jonathan Roman, Sr. Director of Data and Technology at Chime. “Outside of just the outreach side of things, look at your job descriptions, look at how you’re wording things and if it’s presenting any sort of language that is exclusionary. There are some great resume-building and also JD-building tools that are out there now that will actually tell you if you’re using inherently biased language so now we have technology to help us along this journey for those who may not understand out of the gate this terminology or asking for this set of requirements that might be unattainable for a large segment of community, specifically diverse communities.” 

Jason Atwater, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Learning & Development at genomics-based drug discovery company Exelixis aims to bring a more diverse talent pool to the company.

“If you expand your talent pool, then you’ll bring in talent. It’s always still about finding the most qualified candidates but you need to be looking for them in as many different places as possible,” said Atwater. “The other side of that is that you can bring in diverse candidates, but if your organization hasn’t done the work to be a welcoming and inclusive place, you may get people to join the company but they won’t stay.”

Chris Cooke, Marketing Technology Platform Manager, at Electronic Arts also promotes inclusion within the organization.

“I’ve always made it a point to openly participate in these employee resource groups and to promote them within my own team,” said Cooke. “I think that ERGs foster the type of environment that I personally want to work in and I hope that they produce an environment that other people will see within the organization and want to work here as well. Those are the types of people that I want to work with.”