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Grown: Example of a Socially Conscious Business

socially conscious business

Grown eyewear

There was a business on Shark Tank Australia last week that pricked my ears up. Grown.

Grown, founded by ex-pat Canadian Jeff Phillips, is an eyewear business that crafts stylish sunglasses out of sustainably-grown wood and bamboo. What’s more, Grown has partnered with The Fred Hollows Foundation, so that for every pair of sunnies purchased, they will fully fund eye surgery for one person or diagnostic eye exams for twelve children. Grown is an example of a new kind of socially conscious enterprise, operating within the confines of the capitalistic system.

They exist because they want to make a difference. They make a difference through conscious capitalism. One can be an entrepreneur and do good. One can be a consumer and do good too.

Phillips told the sharks that in 2014 there was a slump in sales. He explained that he pulled the top-selling product from the range as he wasn’t happy with the sustainability credentials of one of his suppliers. This move proved to be a blessing though. It allowed him to review his entire range and get all of his wood suppliers FSC certified. The sharks were pleased to hear that it had a good outcome. The looks on their faces when he told them he pulled his top seller.

I saw a little of Kindred in Grown. Kindred also wants to do good. Our core business is to help grow small businesses across the world. In developed countries this will be mostly through facilitating mentor-mentee relationships. In developing countries it will be through our partnership with Kiva to whom we will be donating 15% of pre-tax profits.

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