EDITOR’S NOTE: We want to learn how other companies approach sustainability, so we’ve decided to publish a series of posts featuring innovative companies and people who are doing their part to support our planet. See below to read a guest blog from Daniel Vidal at Whole Planet Foundation, a private nonprofit established by Whole Foods Market.
What’s your organization’s mission?
Whole Planet Foundation’s mission is to alleviate poverty through microcredit in the communities where Whole Foods Market sources product. We do this by providing grants to microfinance institutions in the countries where we work who in turn develop and offer microenterprise loan programs, trainings and other financial services to the self-employed poor.
Please explain your organization’s sustainability efforts and goals.
Our sustainability efforts are in our approach to poverty alleviation. We don’t believe in charity or a hand out. We like to call microcredit a hand up, or an opportunity for someone to help themselves. One of the best things with microcredit is that the money stays in the community and is repaid and lent over and over again, creating a sustainable cycle of change.
Why is sustainability important to your organization?
Sustainability is important to us because we want to make lasting change. We can’t eliminate poverty in the next year or even the next 10, but by ensuring that we are supporting like-minded organizations and partnering with the poor by providing them with the tools they need to change their own lives, we are ensuring that we are creating sustainable change.
Our “team” is far reaching and includes all of Whole Planet Foundation’s stakeholders including: Whole Foods Market Team Members, Customers and Suppliers. We all support our mission in many different ways including direct and indirect contributions.
What advice would you give other companies who are trying to get their sustainability initiatives off the ground?
Just get started. I know you hear it a lot but thinking that you need to get it all right from the start tends to hold a lot of people back. It is most important that you pay attention, learn and adjust along the way. We’ve had many learning experiences in our nine years and we are more impactful and more efficient because of it.
Where can people learn more about Whole Planet Foundation?
Please check us out at www.wholeplanetfoundation.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can see our work in action in Vietnam in this video.
Are you a business?
To read about more businesses and people focused on sustainability, visit our “Sustainability Stories” archive by clicking here.