An impact brand is a sustainable company that goes beyond: a sustainable company with a big mission and a high-performing product.
A widespread definition of a sustainable business is the one that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs’’ (iisd.org). A sustainable business factors in negative externalities into its business model to avoid harming nature’s and human wellbeing. While the aspiration to ‘do no harm’ or ‘do less harm’ represents an important awareness shift in the modern economy, it is still different to proactively ‘doing good’ or ‘undoing harm that has been done’. This is a point of differentiation between sustainable companies and impact brands. Impact brands not only have a ‘sustainable’ and ‘harm-less’ business model, they voluntarily take on extra responsibility to create a positive impact, and attempt to tackle the world’s critical problems like poverty, pollution and oppression. In real life, this may look like BRONCA donating staggering 50% of their profit from handmade ponchos to ameliorate child hunger, or like Allmatters’ silicone menstrual cups as well as their educational campaigns that tackle period poverty and the stigmatisation problem in developing countries.
Impact brands’ business model revolves around the triple impact: positive impact on society and nature (public benefit creation) and positive impact on the consumer (high quality, high performing products). We found that a lot of eco-friendly products perform worse, are of lower quality and usually are more expensive compared to the non-sustainable alternatives. We believe that consumer products need to provide sustainable value to consumers, just like to the global society and to the environment.