Young Folks

Join us for a year packed with positive change

In a world grappling with the urgent challenges of climate crisis and social justice, responsible choices are imperative. But where do you start?

At Young Folks, we look to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) as a beacon to guide our impact initiatives and our work. In fact, we exclusively partner with clients that are in the business of doing good by addressing one or more of the UN SDG through their offering.

Still, there’s a lot to wade through and sometimes the hardest part of making a positive impact for people and the planet is knowing where to start.

We’ve created a deck of cards with ideas and insights as your guide to amplifying your brand’s impact in 2024 and beyond.

Guided by our mission to use business as a force for good, and crafted with the spirit of activism, these cards offer insights and inspiration for positive transformations.

Whether you’re a trailblazer in responsible practices or seeking fresh ideas to amplify your impact, each card holds a key to making meaningful changes, turning small steps into significant strides.

Together, let’s make 2024 a year of meaningful change.

How to create positive change in 2024

More agile than governments and with greater collective impact than individuals, purpose-driven brands are key players in reshaping our future. We’ve rounded up 24 ideas to make 2024 a year packed with positive change. Read on to learn how you can do your bit. The best part? You’re not in this alone. Jump on board the movement with us and share which impact cards you’re implementing on socials by tagging @youngfolksagency and using the hashtag #YFPositiveImpactCards

1. Earth’s alchemy: cultivating change through composting

Insight: Did you know… when organic matter, like food scraps and plant-based packaging, breaks down in landfills it releases methane – a potent greenhouse gas. But in Australia, composting saves an estimated 3.8 million tonnes of CO₂ from entering the atmosphere each year. That’s equivalent to planting 5.7 million trees or taking 877,000 cars off the road.

Idea: Start composting today. Provide organic waste bins at your workplace and encourage your team to compost food scraps and certified compostable packaging.

Tip: Mix greens (fruit and veggie scraps) with browns (dry leaves or newspaper) for a balanced compost bin.

Checklist:

  • Set up composting bins in common areas.
  • Educate employees on what can be composted.
  • Monitor the amount of compost collected to include in your annual impact report.
  • Celebrate the organic waste being diverted from landfill and the greenhouse gases avoided.

Source: The Conversation – The case for composting

2. Renewable energy: the ultimate power move

Insight: Did you know… fossil fuels are the largest contributor to global climate change, accounting for over 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90% of all carbon dioxide emissions. Reducing reliance on fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable energy is essential to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Challenge: Making the switch to renewable energy is a great start. But don’t stop there! Advocate for government incentives to help boost the renewable energy sector and increase accessibility.

Checklist:

  • Research local renewable energy providers.
  • Calculate your carbon emissions reduction after the transition.
  • Communicate the switch to clients, customers and stakeholders.
“It’s time to stop burning our planet, and start investing in the abundant renewable energy all around us.”
António Guterres
United Nations Secretary-General

Sources: UN – Renewable Energy, Clean Energy Council.

3. Towards net zero: measure, manage and mitigate emissions

Insight: Did you know… Australia’s 2.4 million small-medium sized companies emit about 146.5 million tonnes of the nation’s carbon emissions annually.

Challenge: Initiate a comprehensive greenhouse gas assessment.

Checklist:

  • Calculate your carbon footprint.
  • Establish a baseline for future comparisons.
  • Set science-based targets.
  • Implement an emissions reduction strategy.
  • Communicate reduction targets internally and externally.

Tip: Choose Climate Active certified carbon neutral suppliers (like Young Folks) and you won’t need to offset the emissions associated with these suppliers – as they’ve already done it!

Sources: Sydney Morning Herald, PR Wire.

4. Beyond bias: creating a diverse and inclusive workplace

Insight: Did you know… diverse and inclusive teams earn 2.5x higher cash flow per employee, are 35% more productive and make better decisions 87% of the time.

Idea: Invest in diversity and inclusion training programs. Foster an environment where every voice is heard and valued.

Tip: Pair training with mentorship or sponsorship programs to create a supportive network to cultivate change.

 

“Only when diverse perspectives are included, respected, and valued can we start to get a full picture of the world: who we serve, what they need, and how to successfully meet people where they are.”
Brené Brown
Author and professor

Sources: LinkedIn, Brené Brown X (Twitter).

5. Hands-on impact: transforming communities

Insight: Did you know… 87% of employees who volunteered with their companies reported an improved perception of their employer and 82% felt more committed to the organisation they worked for. It’s a win-win for individuals and communities.

Idea: Launch paid volunteer days and encourage team members to find and support local causes that are meaningful to them.

Tip: Connect with local not-for-profit organisations and grassroots community groups to understand their needs and tailor volunteer efforts accordingly.

Checklist:

  • Determine how many paid volunteering days will be offered each year.
  • Research local charities, not-for-profit organisations and social enterprises to find ways to give back.
  • Develop a calendar for regular volunteer opportunities.
  • Provide incentives or recognition for employees who actively participate.
  • Measure and celebrate the collective impact of volunteer efforts.

Source: Go2HR 

6. Cultural awareness: operating respectfully on Country

Insight: Did you know… An increasing number of business leaders are looking for guidance on how to respectfully operate on First Nations lands, waterways, and skies. However, many find getting started difficult and daunting – preventing them from taking the initial step forward.

Challenge: Delve into the cultural fabric of the community. Begin by identifying the Traditional Owners of the area and understanding their cultural protocols. Recognise the diverse practices and perspectives among First Nations communities, cultivating a workplace culture that values and respects this rich heritage.

Tip: Initiate partnerships with local Indigenous businesses or artists to incorporate authentic cultural elements into your operations. Prioritise the employment and training of Indigenous individuals, fostering inclusivity within your workforce. Actively participate in community events and support Indigenous initiatives. By integrating these practices, your business becomes a meaningful contributor to cultural preservation and economic empowerment within the region.

7. Mind matters: making mental health a priority

Insight: Did you know… 87% of Australians would be more willing to offer help to someone suffering mental health issues if they knew how.

Idea: Introduce mental health first aid training so your team is equipped with the skills to support each other. Foster a stigma-free environment where mental health is openly discussed.

Tip: Provide resources like counselling services and employee assistance programs for ongoing support.

Anyone can have a conversation that may save a life. Everyone should know how.
Mental Health First Aid Australia

8. Chain reaction: supply chain transparency

Insight: Did you know… consumers may be willing to pay 2% to 10% more for products from companies that provide greater supply chain transparency. It builds trust and loyalty.

Idea: As the demand for supply chain transparency grows, so too does reputational risk. Build trust by sharing information about sourcing, production, and ethical practices with your customers.

Checklist:

  • Map out your entire supply chain, identifying key areas for transparency.
  • Invest in technology that enables traceability and visibility.
  • Communicate transparent practices in marketing materials, product labelling and impact reports.

Sources: Harvard Business Review, Sprout Social

9. Local legends: a sustainability double play for your business and community

Insight: Did you know… choosing local suppliers reduces transportation emissions and is a boon for local communities? It’s a sustainability double play.

Tip: Foster direct relationships with local suppliers to understand their practices better. Building a personal connection ensures transparency and shared values.

Idea: Make the switch from far-flung big wigs, and seek out sustainable suppliers in your local area instead. After all, locals love supporting locals – so when you support your fellow local businesses, the locals will support you.

10. Flexible working: the ultimate flex

Insight: Did you know… companies with flexible work policies report increased innovation, greater employee productivity and reduced burnout. It’s a simple adjustment with significant benefits.

Idea: In Australia, FairWork mandates that employees can request flexible working conditions. So take it one step further and implement progressive flexible working policies.
Trust your team to deliver exceptional results, regardless of their physical location and working hours.

Tip: Establish clear expectations and channels to communicate availability channels to maintain a cohesive work environment – like a #TeamMovements channel on Slack or a team calendar with everyone’s hours.

Source: Forbes 

11. Recycling remix: beyond the kerbside norm

Insight: Did you know… there’s more to recycling than commingled kerbside collection? Single-stream recycling methods can divert a whole host of materials from landfill. Think: e-waste, batteries, even pens! It’s a game-changer for reducing waste.

Challenge: Explore and invest in advanced recycling methods. Collaborate with industry experts to bring innovation to your waste management strategy. Transition beyond traditional curbside recycling, propelling your business toward a more efficient waste reduction model. Demonstrate authenticity by curbing single-use items and implementing targeted consumption reduction measures.

Tip: Check out the range of single-stream recycling available at Officeworks, Banish and TerraCycle to close the loop on waste in your business.

12. Every drop counts: building a water resilient future

Insight: Did you know… water efficiency upgrades often pay back in just a few years? It’s a smart switch for the environment and the bottom line.

Idea: Conduct an audit to identify areas to conserve water usage. Implement water-efficient practices across your operations.

Checklist:

  • Audit water usage and establish a baseline.
  • Repair leaks, and install water-efficient fixtures and appliances.
  • Educate employees on water-saving practices.
  • Monitor water usage regularly and set reduction targets.

Sources: Living Water Smart

13. Transparent Reporting: powering your business narrative

Insight: Did you know… companies that transparently report their sustainability efforts are perceived as 33% more trustworthy? It’s a communication strategy that pays off.

Idea: With greenwashing and distrust on the rise, it’s never been more important to regularly report on your sustainability initiatives. Share successes, challenges, and future goals with transparency and authenticity.

Tip: Utilise engaging storytelling techniques to make your impact reports accessible and compelling.

Checklist:
Establish a regular reporting schedule.

  • Include visual elements such as infographics and charts for better comprehension.
  • Solicit feedback from stakeholders to improve future reports.

Source: E&Y

14. Redefine success: embrace circular solutions

Insight: Did you know… recycling landfilled packaging in 2020–21 could have cut 2.2 million tonnes of emissions – equivalent to removing 740,000 cars from the road per year. Now picture the amplified impact with a closed-loop circular model.

Idea: Lead the charge towards a circular economy by reimagining your business materials. Say goodbye to single-use plastics and welcome regenerative, reusable, and recyclable alternatives. Transforming your approach echoes a collective commitment to breaking free from the linear model, creating a business ecosystem that thrives within the circular loop.

Tip: Initiate your circular journey by assessing all material use within your business. From packaging to product design, explore sustainable alternatives that align with a circular economy. Communicate this shift proudly to your audience, encouraging a wave of change across diverse businesses, propelling us towards a plastic-free and circular future.

Source: DCCEEW

15. AI with integrity: balancing tech with transparency

Insight: Did you know… AI continues to revolutionise various industries, with an expected annual growth rate of 37.3% between 2023 and 2030. Yet, over 75% of consumers are concerned about misinformation from AI.

Challenge: Establish well-defined guidelines for responsible artificial intelligence practices. Ensure that AI usage reflects the organisation’s ethical values, including such things as individual rights, privacy, non-discrimination, and non-manipulation.

Tip: Establish an internal committee to regularly review and update AI ethics policies. Foster transparency by disclosing AI ethics policies to stakeholders.

Source: Forbes

16. Digital unity: navigating accessible design 

Insight: Did you know… improving website accessibility can increase your potential audience by 15%? Plus accessible websites enjoy improved SEO performance, increased traffic and enhanced brand reputation.

Idea: Commit to making your website more accessible by adhering to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Tip: If your website is operating on a WordPress CMS, increasing accessibility is as simple as adding a plugin.

Checklist:

  • Utilise accessible design principles in website development.
  • Test website accessibility with users who have diverse abilities.
  • Provide alternative formats for important content, such as transcripts for videos.
  • Install an accessibility plugin to empower website visitors to augment content to suit their needs.
  • Conduct regular accessibility audits to identify and address potential barriers.

Source: ADA Site Compliance

17. Future fit: tap into tomorrow’s talent

Insight: Did you know… many students are unable to take unpaid internships as they lack the financial safety net to sustain themselves in the meantime.

Challenge: Make your workplace more equitable by implementing a paid internship program. Providing valuable experiences and fair compensation to young talent isn’t just good for interns, it’s good for your brand reputation too!

Tip: Establishing a well-structured paid internship program can help secure the talent you need to fill entry-level positions and retain that talent at higher rates than your competitors.

18. Cultivating growth: embracing a learning culture

Insight: Did you know… companies that prioritise continuous learning are 92% more likely to innovate? It’s an investment in the growth of your team and the growth of your business.

Idea: Foster a culture of continuous development by providing each employee with a personalised learning and development plan. Empower them with an individual budget dedicated to training and professional development, unlocking the full potential of your team.

Source: Business Leadership TodayDeloitte 

19. Neuroinclusion: good for everybody

Insight: Did you know… companies that champion neurodivergence access greater talent pools and benefit from increased loyalty, creativity, and problem-solving skills among their employees.

Idea: Transform your workplace culture by championing neurodiversity. Integrate neurodiversity awareness training into onboarding and regular sessions throughout the year. Ensure clear policies are in place to support neurodivergent employees and provide a platform for their voices to be heard. Accommodate individual needs, from flexible schedules to specific tools, creating an environment where everyone can thrive.

Source: Forbes

20. Culture boost: wellbeing days in action

Insight: Did you know… offering wellbeing days results in improved employee engagement, increased resilience, reduced sick leave, and improved productivity?

Idea: Transform your workplace culture by incorporating quarterly wellbeing days into your organisation’s leave policies. This strategic move not only prioritises the health and happiness of your team but also aligns with the proven positive impact on overall business performance.

Tip: Maximise the impact of wellbeing days by implementing a ‘use it or lose it’ policy. Incentivize team members to embrace these rejuvenating breaks each quarter, reinforcing a commitment to their wellbeing and ensuring your organisation reaps the full benefits of a thriving, resilient, and engaged workforce.

Source: Perkbox

21. Regeneration revolution: elevating business impact beyond sustainability

Insight: Did you know… while the business case for sustainability has gained traction in recent years, it’s now seen as maintaining the status quo. Regenerative business is the new kid on the block – on a mission not just to decrease negative impact but to increase positive impact by restoring the health of individuals, communities and the planet.

Challenge: Transform your business into a force for positive change by adopting regenerative practices. From supply chains to marketing, weave regenerative principles into every facet of your operations, creating a regenerative business model that fosters environmental restoration and resilience.

The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.
Robert Swan
Explorer

Source: Forbes, Robert Swan

 

22. Certification elevation: taking your business to new heights

Insight: Did you know… certifications championing transparency aren’t just about trust; they’re your declaration of openness, honesty, and accountability. In a world hungry for authenticity, these certifications are your beacon, guiding conscious consumers toward your genuine commitment.

Tip: Bag that B Corp certification to flaunt your commitment to social and environmental responsibility. Let your customers and partners know your business isn’t just about profits but is on a mission to be a force for good.

Idea: Get on board with certifications that shout about the triple bottom line – people, planet, and profit. It’s not just about the money; it’s about showcasing your dedication to success that goes beyond the financial figures.

Challenge: From B Corp and Social Traders to Climate Active, pick certifications that demand transparency in your operations and supply chain. Your customers want to trust you, and this is your way of saying, “Hey, we’ve got nothing to hide!” Build that trust and loyalty among conscious consumers who want accountability without the corporate jargon.

23. Waging up: from minimum to liveable

Insight: Did you know… a living wage goes beyond the minimum wage, guaranteeing individuals the means to afford a decent standard of living for themselves and their families? Companies that prioritise a living wage experience benefits such as a more productive and stable workforce – a true win-win for both employees and employers.

Idea: With the cost of living steadily increasing across Australia, the concept of a living wage is gaining widespread support. Take a progressive step beyond FairWork minimum wages and commit to providing a living wage to all employees, cultivating a workplace that thrives on equity and prosperity.

Tip: Ensure the ongoing alignment of your wage structures with living wage standards by conducting regular reviews and making necessary adjustments. This commitment not only upholds fairness but also contributes to a workplace where everyone can flourish.

Source: LinkedIn Pulse

24. Campaign inclusion: the power in diversity

Insight: Did you know… more than 70% of consumers expect brands to promote diversity and inclusion in their online advertising. Inclusive marketing considers diversity in all forms – from age, appearance, ethnicity, and gender identity to language, socio-economic status, spirituality, physical and mental ability.

Challenge: Data shows that prioritising diversity and inclusivity in branding, marketing, and advertising not only boosts brand recall but also strengthens purchase intent and fosters greater loyalty. Connect with diverse audiences by embracing inclusivity in your marketing. Ensure authentic representation in your campaigns, reflecting the diverse world we live in.

Checklist:

  • DEI audit: evaluate your current marketing materials for diversity, equity and inclusion. Identify areas for improvement and growth.
  • Inclusivity guidelines: develop comprehensive guidelines for inclusive marketing, branding, and advertising practices within your team. Encourage a culture that values diversity and authenticity.
  • Amplify diverse voices: infuse your brand storytelling and marketing communications with a diverse range of voices. Showcase experiences from different backgrounds, ensuring your narrative reflects a broad spectrum of human stories.

Source: Wordstream, ImpactPlus

Want your own copy of our positive impact cards deck?

We created this deck of cards as a gift for our team and clients with the intention of it being something small to keep handy as a constant reminder that every action taken (big and small) can make a difference.

While all the information is captured in this article (because we’re all for paperless), we want to encourage you to regularly have robust discussions about how your company can increase its positive impact for people and planet. So drop your details in the form below and we’ll send you a printable copy of the cards as well as a digital slide deck that can be used to host a workshop with your team,

Make sure to keep us posted on what cards inspire action for you and your team by sharing your impact on social media and tagging @youngfolksagency and using #YFPositiveImpactCards

Get your FREE copy of our Positive Impact Cards

Please note the statistics and research quoted in this article were accurate at the time of production in October 2023.

Written by

Erin Morris is the founder and director at Young Folks. Packing more than 10 years marketing experience, Erin has worked with start-ups, corporates and everything in between. She loves listening to audiobooks whilst running, oat milk flat whites, and scouring Marketplace for secondhand furniture finds.

Our Melbourne and Sydney studios are open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday. If you’re a conscious company with a marketing project in mind, we’d love to hear from you.

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