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Episode
77

Martin Rich

Co-founder & Executive Director of The Future-Fit Foundation

Ep
77

Why Companies Should Prioritize Sustainability: Martin Rich of Future-Fit Foundation

Sep 21, 2021
With
Martin Rich
42:45

Why Companies Should Prioritize Sustainability: Martin Rich of Future-Fit Foundation

Martin Rich, co-founder and executive director of the Future Fit Foundation, joins us today to talk about how this company supports other companies and incorporates social and environmental impact into their business models. Future Fit works with a variety of companies, including The Body Shop and Fuji Xerox.

Martin shares how his career started as an investment banker at HSBC and then as a sales director at Social Finance. While working at Social Finance, Martin felt a desire to take all of his financial experience and knowledge and start using it for something more purposeful and fulfilling. He realized that while raising capital for impact-driven companies was a great advocacy, it was just a small fix to a problem that needed bigger solutions in place. With that, Future Fit aims to show companies the gap between where they are now and where they need to be if they want an ethical business with a positive contribution to the planet. To do this, Future Fit created 23 clear goals for companies with the help of different experts around the world. 

Martin also explains how Future Fit works seamlessly with companies like B Corps. Companies like B Corps are described by Martin as essentially operating on reports that are backward-looking, which blends well with something forward-looking such as Future Fit. To cite an example, Future Fit aims to prepare companies with questions like, “What if carbon tax gets introduced?” and “What if the waste tax gets reintroduced?” The objective is to help de-risk companies while encouraging its sustainability.

When asked about the challenges Future Fit has encountered since its establishment and how the company has survived through them, Martin emphasizes the importance of partnership.  He details how he and his Future Fit co-founder Dr. Jefhave helped each other through many different challenges, one of which is funding. Though funding is a fundamental need of a company, Martin says that focus should be on getting the money to follow you, not vice versa.

Lastly, Martin envisions a world in ten years where the biggest and most influential companies would be going on a Future Fit journey, in turn creating a fundamental shift in the way businesses perceive what it means to create value.


Martin’s key lessons and quotes from this episode were:

  • “The things you are investing in are affecting people on the planet, in some good ways, and usually in quite lots of bad ways at the same time. If you're financing those in any way, shape, or form, you are partly responsible for that impact.” (6:50)
  • “It's about pushing those dials all the way up to 100% across all of those goals. That's a journey. It's not going to happen tomorrow; it's 10, 15, 20 years’ time, maybe more for some organizations.” (9:53)
  • “You’ve just got to choose a few things. Start on that journey. Don't try and do everything at once. Take some easy wins, get those easy wins over the line, and then start working your way down.” (31:30)
  • “Don't follow the money. Try and find the money that wants to follow you.” (35:41)
  • “Don't focus on the setbacks; focus on what you can learn and keep pushing to that next win.” (37:09)

In this episode, we also talked about:

  • How Future Fit was founded (2:57)
  • The transformational journey through Future Fit (13:46)
  • B Corps and Future Fit (19:50)
  • Traversing challenges as a company  (32:31)
  • A fundamental shift in true value (37:41)

Transcript of the episode

Maiko Schaffrath  00:07

You are listening to Impact Hustle, and I am your host, Michael Schaffrath. I've made it my mission to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs to solve some of the world's biggest social and environmental problems. And for this reason, I am speaking to some of the best entrepreneurs out there who are solving problems such as food waste, climate change, poverty, and homelessness. My goal is that Impact Hustlers will inspire you either by starting an impact business yourself, by joining the team of one, or by taking a small step, whatever that may be, towards being part of the solution to the world's biggest problems. In today's episode, I speak to Martin Rich, co-founder and executive director of the Future Fit Foundation. Future Fit has made it their mission to support companies and building social and environmental impact into their business models and helping investors to select the most promising impact-driven companies and building impact into their investment thesis. Rather than simply helping companies become a few percent more efficient and reducing energy consumption by a little bit and do here and there, I think the approach of Future Fit is very interesting. Not by focusing on helping companies do less bad, but actually imagining, what does a company look like that kind of has a net positive impact on society and on the planet, and actually takes the social and environmental challenges that we are facing very seriously. Future Fit at the moment works with a broad range of companies. But some of the prominent ones, companies like The Body Shop, and Fuji Xerox, which are working with you right now. It's really great to have you on the show, Martin, and thanks for joining.


Martin Rich  02:05

Absolutely.


Maiko Schaffrath  02:07

Perfect. If I look at your career, you've actually spent a lot of time and your career, most of your career in investment banking. I think after HSBC, you transitioned more towards the social impact side, you joined Social Finance, you were a sales director there and were there for quite a few years, I think, over seven years or so. And then, during the last few years at Social Finance, I think you actually came up with the idea for Future Fit, or you at least kind of established Future Fit at that time. So, tell us a bit more about that moment, when you first discovered that there is a mission to solve for you. There's a problem to solve and how you made that transition from there's something to be solved here, to actually starting Future Fit.


Martin Rich  02:57

Yeah, yeah. Again, thank you, Maiko, for having me on. It's great to be here. The journey was an interesting one. Obviously, it looks very planned. With the benefit of hindsight, it really wasn't. As you say, I started in investment banking then moved into the social impact space, and that was a desire to take all of the financial experience and knowledge that I had and start using that for, for something a bit more purposeful than just making sort of wealthy people wealthier or hedging things for big companies, which was- I was basically doing risk management work for big corporations, which was fine, but not overly fulfilling. And so, taking those skills and using them to help social enterprises and charities to raise capital to be more sustainable in the financial sense, and it's more resilient. It just was a great thing to go and do, and that taught me a lot about the impact space. But while I was there, I sort of began to realize that it was only ever going to be a relatively small fix to a much bigger problem. The analogy I often use is and I'm sure a lot of the listeners will have will have heard the anecdote, but there's a story of a young man watching an old man walking up the beach, stopping every few yards and picking up a starfish and throwing it back into the water, and the beach is filled with these starfish that have been pushed in by the tide, which has now gone out and the starfish are dying, and this old guy's wandering along and lobbing them all back in and the young guy sorts of goes down and says to him, "What are you doing? You're wasting your time, because you've missed all these other starfish and in 12 hours, the tide will just bring them all back in again," and the old man smiles and bends down, picks one up and lobs it in and says, "Well, I've helped that one, and I've helped that one," and you get the idea. It felt to me that the impact space is fantastic, but it's very much about that sort of one or two starfish at a time approach. And as an engineer by training, as a sort of a big picture thinker, I wouldn't have said I was a systems thinker at the time, perhaps I'd use that language now. But I look at a problem like that. And I think, how do we build a seawall that stops most of those starfish coming in in the first place? I think to solve almost any problem in the world, right, you typically need [inaudible 5:31]. You need something that's working with the tide, but protecting most of the starfish, but there are always going to be starfish that fall through the net, or come around the wall, right? And so, you always need those at the front line, at the coalface, organizations helping individuals, or parts of the planet, and you also need those bigger macro solutions in place. And as I began to sort of dig more into the social impact issues that we have around, the environmental challenges, and sort of began to think more broadly about all of those, realized that we needed something that fundamentally shifted our approach to those big issues. And the impact space, and the coalface or the space is fantastic. But I was like, okay, how do I, how do I change the whole system? And coming from the financial side, that basically meant how do we show any investor what the impact of their portfolio is on the world? Because every portfolio has an impact, whether or not he defines itself as an impact-purposed investment or not. The things you are investing in are affecting people on the planet, in some good ways, and usually in quite lots of bad ways at the same time. If you're financing those in any way, shape, or form, you are partly responsible for that impact. So, every portfolio has an impact, but what is it? And it was the waking up to that and blending that with this idea of somebody else in this I like to call, the three dimensional investing. So, moving from financial risk reward to financial risk reward, and positive and negative impacts are sort of adding a third dimension, if you like. Putting those ideas together, it was like, that' what I want to solve. I want to create that third axis. I want to show investors what it means for their portfolios to be or what is the impact their portfolio is having, so what would it mean to transform that? And through that, start shifting all of the capital in the world to understand what it's doing, and therefore hopefully, to transform it to move this on the right journey.


Maiko Schaffrath  03:57

Got it. You're serving mainly two different customer segments with Future Fit, which is companies, mostly larger companies, more established companies, and then investors as well. Talk us a bit through how does Future Fit work for both these groups? How do you work with them?


Martin Rich  08:02

Yeah. So, firstly, as a charity, as a nonprofit, all that we produce in terms of the technology, the IP behind, what does it mean, to get to this future point, this line in the sand that we've helped to define or to operationalize from the underlying system science? To show organizations how to get there, we've produced all of this guidance, which is freely available. So, when we talk about working with, it's actually, it's the organizations who are using our framework. We're not a consultancy, we actually train consultants to use our framework. So, we're not trying to compete with people here, we're just trying to get this methodology. We want to become if you like, the, the ESG, the sustainability intel inside every business and every investor in the world. The names that we talk about tend to be the big ones. Actually, we're working on, a lot of SMEs are using our framework as well around the world, which is fantastic. Just people haven't typically heard their names. So, obviously, we tend to talk more about the big brands. The way we work with both sides is this is a beautiful sort of symmetry, if you like, of the way the methodology has been created. By showing one individual company, what does it mean to understand where it is today in terms of the harm it's causing? What would it mean for it to be causing no harm, and to be thinking about what that journey looks like, and that's broken down into 23, what we call breakeven goals. We say, think about it as like the sliders on a soundboard or on your old stereo system if you had a graphic equalizer if you're old enough to remember those things. It's about pushing those dials all the way up to 100% across all of those goals. That's a journey. It's not going to happen tomorrow; it's 10, 15, 20 years' time, maybe more for some organizations. But it's about saying, where are those sliders at today? What does that dashboard for your company look like today versus where you need to be, to eliminate all of your harm? And at the same time, on the positive side, what is it that you are doing to deliver your purpose? Why do we want you to succeed as an organization? What does that look like? And then how do you do more and more of that with less and less of the harm? So that becomes the journey of transformation that the company goes on, whether a multinational or whether an SME. And then, the investors, you're simply looking at that journey and saying, "Okay, do I want this? Is that enough? Am I happy with that? Do I want to support the company in that transformation? Are they transforming? Are they even agreeing to go on this journey? And if they are, is it quickly enough for me?" By having a consistent methodology that works for any company, any size anywhere, you can aggregate that across a portfolio. So, the beauty becomes, if you've got your portfolio and what all the underlying companies within that. And if one day in time, as we get adopted enough around the world, every company is reporting that dashboard, where you can just aggregate those dashboards, and you have a blended dashboard for your portfolio. And now as an investor- we want to get to the point where, as an individual, you're looking on your smartphone, at your pension, or your ICER, or whatever savings you might have, and you're going to be able to see instantly the footprint, the huge footprint of that portfolio as democratizing finance. Now, you say, "Well, I don't like that. I don't want a portfolio that's causing that much harm to the planet or has that risk of slavery in the supply chains, whatever it might be. I want to change that." And, then it becomes very easy, because now, what do you want it to look like? Okay, well, which organizations will push you in that direction? And then, that drives better behavior in the companies, because they want to drive the customer adoption, they want to keep the investors, they want to keep their reputation, they want to show they're genuine about what they're doing. So, now, we start to create a race to the top, rather than a race to be slightly better than everybody else, which is unfortunately, mostly what we've got going on at the moment. Which just leads, "Well, I killed slightly less people than you did last year." Well, what can you do? This was not exactly what we're trying to get to here. So, having that positive reinforcing loop, these are the goals and targets that I'm setting, this is what I'm doing to be genuine, I'm being transparent about where I'm good, where I'm not so good. Here's the journey I'm on as a customer, as an employee, as an investor. Support us in this journey, and help us to do it better, more quickly. Come up with good ideas, help us get to this environmental and social breakeven point quicker than all of our peers. So, that's how we try and sort of pull the whole the whole piece together. Got it. So, you're benchmarking companies, you're showing them the gap between where they are now and where they need to be if they want to, basically do no harm anymore and have a positive contribution to the planet, and to people on the planet, right? How do they then operationalize that, right? I can imagine it can be quite scary for companies to see, "Oh, God, like we're so far away. What do we do now? Like, we don't necessarily have the money to throw billions of dollars at this problem." So, what do they do next? And how do you help them with that? Or do you focus on that? It's, it's all about this idea of the transformational journey, right? To transform, what are you transforming into? What's the destination looking like? And what we found was that all of these companies around the world was struggling to understand where they really needed to get to, and they had all of these different NGOs and grooves and frameworks, and things being thrown at them, and told to report on this and do that, and all the rest of it. A lot of it's good and well intentioned. Some of it's not so good, but it's all sort of trying to get us more or less in the right direction, but nobody had actually defined, what does good enough look like? And what we realized was that as system science had defined what good enough looked like, but system science was written in very academic esoteric language, not very business friendly, and all the stuff that was written that was business friendly sort of didn't really link into anything sufficiently meaningful. That is slowly changing, and they say things like science based targets and things like that, which highly aligned with what we're doing. But not in a comprehensive sense. What we did was we literally operationalized the system science. We created these 23 goals. We didn't set out to be 23, we set out so what does it mean to reach this line in the sand? We worked with the experts, public consultations, etc, etc, around the world for five or six years to to develop this up to what it now is. But then provided very detailed guidance behind each of these goals to show very clearly, again, go back to the slider idea, what does 100% actually look like? In some goals, it's very easy. 100% renewable energy usage, fairly obvious what 100% looks like. Everybody must be paid at least a living wage to get 100%, it's fairly obvious. Some of the goals around employee discrimination, or business ethics and things like that are harder to know what 100% might intuitively look like. So, we've defined all of that linking into other best practice around the world. So, we set very clearly what that line looks like for each of these sliders and then to understand where you are today. Now, if you know where you are playing, you know where you're going, alright, you've got a roadmap. So, that's what we give to companies. It's a comprehensive environmental, social roadmap for what you need to do to truly transform your business. So, we've kind of collaborated and collabo- I can't speak this morning- collaborated and brought together all of this thinking. So, companies don't have to think about that bit. What they need to think about is how does this apply to my business? How do I now take my organization on that journey, right? So, we've done half the thinking. Now, it's like, well, what does it mean, for you to not have any carbon emissions from your product or from your operations? How do you ensure that everybody gets paid a living wage? How do you ensure that you understand your supply chain in these ways? And as you look at the benchmark, you wouldn't find anything in there particularly that would surprise you. It's not like we discovered kryptonite. Everybody else had missed something that we found. It's not about that. It's about a clear definition. And now, how do I go on that on that journey? So, that's now where we're really focused is writing really detailed guidance to help companies on that building case studies of organizations who are using it, getting their feedback. So, we start to build this global community, who are all committed to the Future Fit journey. But who say, let's work together to solve these problems. What can the Japanese tech industry teach the Brazilian forestry industry? What can they teach the Canadian energy industry? That becomes for us that the piece of, "How do we now tie together all of this learning?," and we start to draw together these solutions that are coming up. We saw during the summer lockdown, it was Airbus, I think, saying three types of short-, medium-, long-haul aeroplanes, all based on hydrogen turbos, which could be zero-emission aeroplanes, by 2035, I think they said they could be in service. Fantastic. So, okay, well, what are you doing, all of you businesses that are around that, to encourage that, and accelerate that, and say to that company, "If you bring those on stream, we're going to be front of the queue to buy them. How do we help you bring those in service in 2034, or 2033, or 2032? How do we accelerate that process? How do we all work together?," sp sort of trying to connect all the dots across all the different industries. By giving people that roadmap, they know what they need to do.


Maiko Schaffrath  19:04

Got it. That's, that's really interesting to hear, the approach that you have. Obviously, if somebody in a company listens to this and says, "Okay, I think I agree with the goal, like our company needs to transform. But there's like so many different things out there that seem to help me with this." Obviously, there's things like reporting frameworks, things like that, where you can showcase your transformation. There are things like B Corps, for example, where you can get a certification that you're kind of a social impact driven company. How would you compare Future Fit with things like B Corps or reporting frameworks that are out there and how do you, how are you different?


Martin Rich  19:50

Yeah. So, firstly, we're complimentary to all of those things, but we are bringing this whole idea of the, what, what is the right line in the sand? It doesn't exist in any other framework we've yet come across. All the reporting frameworks and things are great, and we're seeing a real consolidation. Now of all of those things, I imagine people might spot it this week, IIRC and SAS B are merging. SAS B and GRI have been working more and more closely together, and there's this initiative to bring six or seven of them together. So, it's good to see all of that coming together. But reporting by definition is backward looking.


Maiko Schaffrath  20:31

Yeah.


Martin Rich  20:32

It tells you where you've come from, and all of that stuff has been put together, primarily through the sub, the audit and accounting world, whose natural lens is, is that way, because if you're going to audit something, it needs to have happened. You need, say whether you think it did or it didn't in that way. Future Fit is fundamentally forward looking. So, we're about where are you going, and reporting is about where have you come from, and how did you do that? So, there's obviously, there's a transition point in a year's time. Today's one year Future is, now one years past. So, one of the pieces of work that we're making sure is that, as people start reporting on their Future Fit journey, that links seamlessly into the SAS B's, and GRI's, and all of these things. So, there's a nice seamless link into that reporting. B Lab and B Corps, fantastic growth, fantastic organizations. Know them well, love them dearly, and a number of the organizations we work with use both. So, it isn't a case of of either/or. We tend to say it to use an English version, the car goes in for an MOT every year, which is to get the certificate, so your car is roadworthy. We see it in some ways, a B Corp is almost like that. It's like certifying that your business, your organization is ready for the journey. You've got all the bits and pieces in place that you need. But again, it doesn't have that system science based definition of, "Where do you need to go to?" So, The Body Shop is a great example, right? Body Shop is a B Corps, but it's using Future Fit to set its long term ambitions and goals. So, it knows the journey, that it's, that it's going on.


Maiko Schaffrath  22:19

Got it, really interesting. I think in terms of, I'll try to summarize what I think has happened over the last, let's say 100, 150 years, something like that, which is quite a long time period. But I think if you look at the development of how companies operate, obviously, you had the Industrial Revolution, where it's pretty much just about unrestrained capitalism, basically. Let's make it work, we're employing people, great. That's our positive impact. But beyond that, we don't really care, right? To that developing into companies, having to adapt to some of the pressures of like, worker's rights, and maybe not kind of putting all the wastewater into the river, and stuff like that, and kind of de-risking that a little bit. And then, I think over the years obviously, you got to the point where companies have like, social impact initiatives, they have CSR departments, they're reporting on their impact. They are doing once a year, the employees are helping charities, and things like that and they kind of have this like, group of people in the company that is responsible for the impact. But still, the business model is pretty much still the traditional one, and it may get better or less, less negative impact. But again, it's not really transforming fundamentally, right? And then I think now, in the last few years, I see a movement, even for larger companies to be like, okay, that's not enough. Like, we can't just delegate the positive impact to our CSR department, and then lean back and earn the money, we have to kind of build it into the core of what we're about. I think that's why it's so interesting to talk with you, because I feel you are helping companies, building impact into their core. Rather than having a cute little, cute little initiative on the side, it becomes really the core of that. So, for companies that are looking to become part of that movement, and actually want to build it, build impact into their core and eliminate negative impact, and build positive impact into the core. What's your main advice to them when they just embark on this journey now? Because often these large organizations have loads of things to worry about. This is just another thing to worry about. It's necessary, but what's your main advice that you've seen is essential for those type of companies?


Martin Rich  24:50

I mean, I totally agree with that timeline. I always describe- there's the bell curve, right? And what you've described is that sort of shift along of that bell curve in time. The leaders now are really recognizing the need to embed into the core, and that's becoming more and more of that bell curve, so the shifts along. But I think as you, as you say, it's with that comes a shifting realization that this is no longer an add-on. It's not another thing to worry about. It is at the very core of your business. I think we've grown up enough now to recognize the opposite of sustainable business is unsustainable business. Why do you want to build an unsustainable business? Who wants to invest in or work for an unsustainable business? And you simply cannot ignore these issues anymore. I mean, even if you've sort of parked your entire moral code, and you don't really care about people in the planet, even if you are singularly focused on the dollar bottom line, you have to take these issues incredibly seriously. Look what happened tox Boohoo in the UK over the summer. The online fashion retailer, suddenly came out that at least there's claims that they were, the supply chains in Leicester were paying people £3.50 an hour in very cramped conditions that they couldn't separate during the pandemic lockdown, etc. Yeah, terrible accusation. It's going through a test now to see whether or not it's right. But the damage that was done, at least in the short term to their reputation, their share price, down to rebuild all of that. That's gone in a moment. One bad tweet these days destroys your reputation. We're trying to think through, how are you staying one step ahead of all of those things? What if carbon tax gets introduced? What if waste tax gets reintroduced? What if your clients or your customers are suddenly able to return all of their products to you by law? What are you going to do with all of those things? All of this is coming down the line at you in some unknown way, shape or form at some unknown time, right? Boris Johnson's just said that non- and so, the petrol and diesel cars won't be available in 10 years. Hang on a second. I just built a 20-year business plan to sell, right? So, if you're not thinking through these issues, it's not that you have a crystal ball that you know when things are going to arrive; it's that you know these things are coming, and that they are going to be an issue. So, you're setting yourself on a journey to de-risk yourself from all of those things. Now, in time, that enables you to build customer loyalty, to build investor loyalty, to demonstrate what it is you're doing to make planet and people, to serve them better through your purpose. Fantastic. It really is win-win-win. So, absolutely, the base advice has to be get out of the mindset that this is just another thing to do, right? Pulling in pointless questionnaires, answering useless online questionnaires, now that's another thing to do. Embedding true sustainability into the heart of your business, and that's what Future Fit exists to try and help with and to serve. That is a core essential. So, as your new products and services come on board, how are you embedding all of this thinking into that entire design process and everything you're doing? And how are you beginning to sort of shift out of the way that you're, you're currently doing things? It does not solve everything now, right? It's that transitional journey. What are your priorities? Get on with those and then be thinking about also the background, whether there's longer term transitions to be made?


Maiko Schaffrath  29:01

Got it. What do you think is the biggest issue for more companies to embrace this type of thinking? Like, what do you think stops companies currently from embracing this fully? Is there anything specific to point down?


Martin Rich  29:17

I think the biggest challenge is probably inertia within the business, right? We, we've always done things this way. This is what we know. And on top of that, you've got the, the just the, the, how do we know where to focus next? Where do I put the, the effort when I've got so many pressures coming down on top of me? Yes, the pandemic has caused a massive challenge with just survival of the company and having to downsize staff maybe or lose talent, whatever it might have been. So, it's absolutely 1,001 pressures coming in on top of you. So, the idea now that I'm kind of like, "Oh, really, now I've got to like change the entire way I do things." They know that, it's natural that your reaction to that is going to be negative. And then, when somebody like me comes along, and then shows you a dashboard of your company and says, "By the way, you need to be here and say you're here." It is a lot less appealing than somebody who comes along with a framework that says, "Oh, by the way, you're really good. Yeah, you're a triple A." And so, I get that, but I would still go back, then to all my previous comments, that it's actually, that this isn't a nice to have. This is where we need to be. This planet and people are actually going to flourish in the long term. But the line is here, I haven't put it there. Science put it there. That's just a fact. And as you said, 150 years plus since industrial revolution has put us down here. All I'm trying to do is show us what the gap is, so that we can start moving in the right direction. I get that that can for many be a fundamentally enormous shift. But once you recognize that that gap's there and force you to swivel the one way door. Once you've seen it, you can't now really change and decide to ignore it. You know it's there. You've just got to choose a few things. Start on that journey. Don't try and do everything at once. Take some easy wins, get those easy wins over the line, and then start working your way down.


Maiko Schaffrath  31:44

Got it. Let's move, focus back on to Future Fit as a foundation and your entrepreneurial journey and setting it up and kind of growing it over time. We have a lot of people listen to the podcast that are maybe about to set up a social business, or that are kind of a bit earlier in their journey. Or they're looking to set up a charity or a nonprofit and the space you're in or in a similar space. What do you think has been like one of the toughest challenges for you to overcome over the last years since you established Future Fit? And is there kind of any advice or lessons learned you can share?


Martin Rich  32:31

I think one fundamental thing I would say is, if you can do it in partnership with somebody, do it. It's a great, fun journey. If anybody's thinking about it, I would heartily recommend and walk up behind them, give them a gentle push over the edge and say, "Get on with it." But it is hard. It is all-consuming. Be prepared for that. It will take over your entire mind, body, thought, everything. So, if you can do it with somebody else, that's great. I was very fortunate in that I actually co-founded Future Fit. It happened to me, a guy called Dr. Geoff Kendall, by complete chance, at an event in London. We found that we were both thinking about the same problem, but from different sides. And so, we agreed together to set up the organization and to head off on the journey. That's just been, I think, for both of us amazing, because you've always got that other person to lean on. So, shared joys and shared sorrows along the way. But actually, just having somebody else to help think through problems, who ideally is a little bit different to you and is bringing a different perspective. So, that between you, you can find your way through problems. So, that would definitely be one big piece of advice. Biggest challenge? I think probably the biggest two, one is always funding. We've always just been struggling to keep the lights on and to build the team, and we've been incredibly fortunate we've been backed by a handful of really fantastic foundations who believed in what we're doing and have supported us well and that's valuable. We wouldn't be here without them. But it is a deep frustration we see so much money being, quite frankly, wasted by all sorts of different sources that we think, "Oh, for a fraction of that, we could genuinely change the world," and to have enough money to think strategically and plan strategically, rather than like for the next six months and then always sort of chugging forward. So, I think that's always hard. The advice that's linked to that I think for anybody listening would be try and avoid following the money. Follow your heart and follow the mission, and find the money that will come with you, because you start to get dragged off, and it's incredibly tempting to get dragged off. The easiest thing for us would have been to become a consultancy. I mean, today, we could stop all that we're doing, take advantage and be a consultancy. We will easily make good money and people would pay us for everything that we've done. But we always said along the way, we don't want to be competing, we want this to be an open source thing that everybody else uses. So, if we do that with fundamentally shifting, and opposing what we started off to do. Don't follow the money, try and find the money that wants to follow you. And then, accept that a lot of people won't see the big picture the way you do. When you start out on this journey for yourself, you have the best idea in the world, and it's unbelievable how stupid other people are, because they just don't see your vision. They don't see your way of seeing the world. How can they be so stupid? And you will have hundreds of meetings with people who just don't get it for some reason, and it's not because you're a bad salesperson, it's not because your idea is brilliant. It's just, they just won't get it, and they won't support you. So, know that up front. And then, celebrate when you find the people who do and want to come on the journey with you, and enjoy those moments. Don't let the, don't let the knockbacks and the setbacks, don't focus on those. Learn from them if you can, right? What could I have done better in that situation? Could that have ended up differently? What can I learn that I will use differently next time? But, if you focused on all those knockbacks, you won't make it through the first year. So, yeah, do it with somebody else. Focus on getting the money to follow you, not vice versa. Don't focus on the setbacks; focus on what you can learn and keep pushing to that next, that next win.


Maiko Schaffrath  37:17

Well, that's really valuable lessons to share. Thank you. One last question I have, let's think about the next 10 years. If you think about Future Fit, and especially not just Future Fit, but the world in 10 years' time, how does the world look like if Future Fit succeeds and continues to succeed with what you're doing?


Martin Rich  37:41

Wow, if we succeed, is a big if. With it in the next 10 years, then ideally, all of the, the biggest and most influential companies would be going on a Future Fit journey, and tens, hundreds, or thousands more of small and medium enterprises would be following them. What that would mean is a fundamental shift in the way businesses perceive what it means to create value and that we would shift from this idea of pure shareholder value to what we call system value. So, yes, financially succeeding, but also because they're reducing their negative and increasing their positive environmental and social impact, delivering their purpose through that. So, if that were to happen, I think we will be seeing a wholesale shift in the global economy to at least changing direction. I like to think that by 2030, I'm not entirely convinced, really, that we will achieve the SDGs by 2030. Well, what I think success can be from here is a wholesale shift in direction of travel. If we can turn a whole load of the tankers, that by 2030, we're at least mostly pointing in the right direction, we're all going in the right direction, then actually the speed of transformation can accelerate, the speed of innovation can accelerate. One thing that we've seen through the pandemic is the incredibly short timeframe that we can solve problems when we put the money and the effort behind it. These vaccines now which are looking incredibly hopeful, in 10 months or so, right, they've come out incredible. Now imagine if in the next five to 10 years, we could shift that way of corporate and indeed regulatory and governmental thinking. So, that by 2030, we're applying that same sense, same type of mindset to climate change, and to social injustice and all the rest of it. People say we don't know what good looks like or what the journey needs to be on or wrong. We do know, that's been defined not by Future Fit, we've operationalized it. But that those lines in the sand are understood, and many, many, many of the solutions can and do exist. Not all of them, but many of them. We absolutely could power the world by 100% renewable energy if we wanted to. For example, we know how to do it. Right? We know how to do it. But we're not doing it. Because there's so much money in politics and everything already invested in the carbon infrastructure. Now, we can't change it tomorrow. Could we change it over a decade if we really put our minds to it? Yeah, of course we could. Absolutely. So, I think it's about trying to- for us, success would be helping to integrate this way of thinking into enough organizations, that along with all of the other things that are happening. So, in 10 years' time, we've hit that point, that tipping point of there being enough focus on the right direction of travel. But through the 2030s, and the 2040s, we can be making incredibly rapid progress on the things we really need to be. Rather than many of the things which are kind of quite nice to have, so if you happen to live in the top 3 or 5% of the world's wealthiest people. But we actually focus on transitioning the world to a point where we genuinely can flourish, we can turn the tide on climate change. We can cope with the inevitable things that will come from what we've already built in. That for me would be amazing success, and if Future Fit can play a role in helping get us to that point, then fantastic. Job done.


Maiko Schaffrath  42:06

Got it. Thank you very much. It's been really inspirational to speak to you and see how you're already making part of that transformation happen right now, and thanks very much for taking the time today. It was great to talk to you today.


Martin Rich  42:19

My pleasure. Thank you very much.


Maiko Schaffrath  42:21

Thank you. Alright.


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