Hungry to Give Back.
SOLE's contribution to Vancouver's EcoMeter project.
SOLE’s mission is to create radical change for good, for people and our planet. This goes well beyond creating planet-friendly supportive footwear — it means connecting with the communities we exist within to spread that radical change beyond our customers.
As we pursue our mission, we are guided by a set of values which drive us both professionally and personally. Of SOLE’s nine core values, four have influenced the creation of an idea to help bring more brands into the fold to work with purpose in addressing environmental and social change. That idea was Brands For Better, and the values in question are as follows.
Collaboration: We know that to accomplish our goals we need to work together. Our shared actions create results. We are highly motivated, diverse and driven to succeed. We support each other through collaboration to learn, grow and discover our full potential.
Giving back: We value our community and encourage the giving of our time and resources for the improvement of people and the environment in which we live.
Planet protection: Our actions must help the planet, not harm it. We evaluate, measure and assess our impact, and offset and restore accordingly. We use natural, sustainable and ethically sourced materials as a way to mitigate our impact.
Trailblazing: We are not content with the status quo. We pioneer new trails and boldly commit to discover, create and manifest radical solutions to propel us into a sustainable future. We want to bring the positive future we know can exist into the present.
The early days of Brands For Better at Outdoor Retailer.
Brands For Better was originally conceptualized in 2017 by the SOLE team at the popular Outdoor Retailer expo and conference in the US, when SOLE invited brands practicing sustainable and ethical business to share lightning talks on their impact efforts. With instant interest the connections made between these purpose-driven brands were clear, and the SOLE team came back to Vancouver with a fresh perspective on the impact they could make as a brand.
Hoping to bring Vancouver-based brands together in a similar fashion to amplify their existing efforts towards social and environmental issues, the SOLE team got started on creating a space for networking, and an opportunity to join forces to address the issues most prevalent in the city where they live and work.
Founded by SOLE/ReCORK executives Karla Peckett and Mike Baker, as well as Digital Hot Sauce and Inbox Booth Founder, Scot Sustad, Brands For Better Foundation was established with a clear mission: to bring measurable positive impact to local communities by harnessing the united power of brands and their people. Where one brand can do great things, the impact of multiple brands can be immense. Brands for Better Foundation is a volunteer-driven not-for-profit that helps brands to unite, share resources, combine their brilliance, and multiply the effects of their efforts for the local good, turning brand teams into changemakers.
In 2018, 35 senior leaders of Vancouver’s biggest brands were invited to a vision lunch where Karla and Scot pitched the concept of introducing a conference and design thinking pitch competition called the Brand Battle for Good aimed at tackling local social and environmental issues. What set this apart was its promise of implementation and measurable impact; the winning idea would be brought to life with the help of the Brands For Better founding partners. With volunteers raising their hands, the interest was obvious and immediate.
The first Brand Battle for Good was meant to happen in late 2020, but was postponed and reshaped to a virtual event because of COVID. The initial Brand Battle launched in April 2021 with brands like Arc’teryx, LUSH, Hootsuite, Unbounce, Vancity, Earth’s Own, Happy Planet, Swany Gloves in attendance, alongside SOLE, ReCORK Digital Hot Sauce and many others.
In the end a ‘single’s table’ took the crowd-voted win with EcoMeter as the top idea. EcoMeter is a platform aimed at spreading the word about restaurants that are finding ways to lower their impact on the planet, while also enabling restaurants to take control of their impact by connecting them with partners who offer sustainable solutions.
Inspired by New York City’s sanitary grades for its restaurants, EcoMeter is a grading system of a restaurant’s “foodprint,” measuring its sustainability practices. EcoMeter focuses on four main pillars: food waste, takeout packaging, supply chain, and community initiatives. From plastic forks to leftover tomatoes, each pillar is tied to local Vancouver partners making real change.
With support needed to get this idea off the ground, the SOLE team doubled down once again by committing members of its team to bring the website to life, giving back by donating time and resources in collaboration with the EcoMeter volunteer team, providing the financial support and professional expertise of the talented SOLE developer team—even hiring two new team members in the Vancouver-area along the way. True to SOLE’s values, we are trail blazing new solutions to encourage and facilitate the adoption of this platform in the name of planet protection.
SOLE is deeply committed to utilizing our business as a force for good, being well on our way to becoming a Certified B Corporation, and will continue to make sustainable use of our resources in line with our core principles to support the communities in which we operate and the planet as a whole beyond projects like EcoMeter.
Check out www.eco-meter.ca to see the fruits of the efforts from the SOLE team and EcoMeter volunteers, and dig into sustainable dining in Vancouver!
Curious about the Brand Battle for Good? Our second annual Brand Battle for Good is quickly approaching, bringing together Vancouver's top brands and industry pros to come up with the most compelling, creative, and practical solutions to combat social isolation and loneliness in Vancouver.