“Doing business as usual” means something very different in 2018. Now businesses are expected to be transparent and proactive about their widespread impact on the economy, society, and the planet. The women and men who drive these businesses believe in this wholeheartedly. Within the S&P 500, 82 percent of companies are reporting on corporate social responsibility. The number one reason? Millennials flooding the workforce are demanding the chance to make a difference in the world at work. According to Net Impact’s “What Workers Want” report, 45 percent of employees would take a 15 percent pay cut for a job that makes a social or environmental impact. And 65 percent of millennials say that the opportunity to make a difference in society is the number one factor in choosing a new job. Times have changed.
MilkCrate’s team and business model are devoted to building a platform to spur this growth faster, ever more productively. How? By using our platform for our diverse pool of clients that includes non-profits serving low-income children all the way to the biggest companies helping their employees find wellbeing and balance. Our customizable enterprise platform and app engages our client’s target population -- whether that is employees, students, or tenants as they complete custom challenges that are tracked and rewarded as users’ progress.
Until now, CSR directors have had to design and implement grueling and ineffective engagement tactics like flyers, email newsletters, and social media campaigns. Our platform eliminates these redundant and inefficient methods and instead offers an engaging app experience motivating users with a social feed, points, and prizes. Our clients are finding success by tying values with action in our platform. Now we can make it easy for any large group to measure and grow impactful behavior change. By using our platform, these impact-driven leaders have more time to focus on launching new sustainability and impact initiatives.
A regular joy for us is the influx of clients that reach out to us and say, “Can you help us? We want an app to engage our employees in sustainability” or “We need something that tracks volunteers and helps them to give to the community.” We have gotten emails like this from a wide-range of organizations, from small nonprofits to large companies with thousands of employees. The sectors range from healthcare networks, universities, waste hauling enterprises, internet companies, and coworking spaces. One of our biggest milestones this year was after the launch of our product at a major media company surpassed our engagement goal for getting employees to take sustainability-oriented actions, and in four weeks’ time, we tripled our goal. The users continue to engage and earn points, learning and growing their impact week after week. Now, we are launching a new client that is helping to motivate and track 20,000 low-income students’ attendance at art museums. Many groups need their own custom app, and in the past, it has been too expensive and complex. With MilkCrate, any group can have an affordable custom app to track and nudge behavior change through gamification.
Because our work is tied to impact and corporate culture we are always looking for ways to expand our own impact. The need and benefit is obvious to us. The opportunity to do more is everywhere if you choose to have the willingness to look. This is why we became B Corp Certified. This means we have taken the B Corp Impact Assessment, and, based on our company’s policies and practices, we scored above the required 80 points to qualify for certification. We earned points for things like volunteering, donating our services, and buying locally. Our relationship with the B Movement started years before we were ready for certification. As one of our first partners, B Lab provided us with a list of all the businesses that had met their rigorous criteria so that we could help share them with our users. Now we are proud to say we’ve joined the ranks of our Better Business idols like Etsy, Patagonia, and Ben & Jerry’s -- and some others in our own backyard, like United by Blue and Azavea. What these companies (and MilkCrate!) have in common is a dedication to a triple-bottom-line of people, planet, and profit.
Last year we made a few changes after B Lab issued the “Inclusion Challenge.” A year later we continue to offer informational interviews to every qualified MilkCrate applicant born outside of the U.S. Applicants who are newer to this country often have additional challenges that include a smaller professional and social network, different cultural norms, and linguistic abilities that can create barriers to employment.
We are dedicated to welcoming these applicants to meet with us, learn about our company, and hopefully offer them a new relationship, if not a spot on the MilkCrate team. We also compile resources for job seekers looking to work at a Philadelphia-based startup (where we are located), or a sustainability or impact-focused company, and share this information with every single job applicant.
This year we want to expand and improve on these initiatives. On the challenge of Inclusive Interviews -- we are going to expand this initiative to become Inclusive hiring -- to capture the whole hiring process from beginning to end. This means we will find ways to cast a wider net when seeking new hires, as well as creating a diversity and inclusion manifesto that the whole team participates in creating and commits to upholding. This will ensure we not only source, interview, and hire a diverse team but by building an inclusive environment, we will retain these new teammates as well.
Above all else, we are a group of passionate and inquisitive humans. Each move is in pursuit of serving our mission of growing sustainable impactful behavior. Beyond our mission, we’ve established a set of values here at MilkCrate -- and we live by this creed.
Adventure is out there, and we chase it.
This thing takes guts. Have courage.
We are limber, resilient, and resourceful. To serve our mission we learn quickly and act responsively.
It takes a village.
We lend our skills and time when needed. If it’s not your strength then it’s someone else’s. Find them.
Do or do not; there is no try.
We hold ourselves fiercely accountable to our culture and our mission.
Mirror mirror on the wall…
We seek the truth, we tell the truth. We are reflective and constructively critical with each other and the outside world.
“Business as usual” has changed for us in our relatively young company -- we have changed in many ways, but at our core the mission and values have remained strong and true. We are using powerful and elegant technology to nudge values into action. Our values are helping others live their values. This is rewarding and exciting work and we are always seeking new ways we can empower others.