BLYDE WAKE-UP CALLS
5 BURNING QUESTIONS TO VÉRONIQUE MISTELI, MANAGING DIRECTOR AT MISTELI CREATIVE AGENCY
The past years have laid bare many truths about our current model of capitalism — the severe income inequality and the belief that improving human lives and taking care of the environment are expendable for better profit margins. The changemakers in the growing Certified B Corporation community are demanding an end to the myth that profits must come at the expense of purpose, and environmental and social care. It’s time to wake up, it’s time for action.
At Blyde we believe in questioning the status quo. We believe in the power of the collective, in taking a stand and inspiring people by showing what can and must be changed. In our Wake Up Calls, Blyde stirs up hunger for positive change. We listen to several B Corp voices who talk about their call to action for companies around the globe today. By letting people from different perspectives and businesses speak, we would like to underline the important role of business in this decade of action. ‘On stage’ today: changemaker Véronique Misteli, managing director at Misteli Creative Agency.
Misteli has been a purpose-driven company from its start. What was your wake-up call for contributing to a better world?
It was the first project I worked on when I started Misteli creative agency in 1994, that showed me how to create real impact with my business. It was a huge project for the municipality of Rotterdam, the development of the ‘Kop van Zuid’ area. The assignment was to give people a view of the future there. I had the opportunity to walk through the old harbour with Riek Bakker, the well-known Dutch City Developer. She would visit the neighbourhood year after year, talk with the citizens in that area and visit them to see first-hand what their issues were, in order to make their lives better by developing a new neighbourhood. She was a great inspiration and I learned a lot from her. Her style of communication was intense, honest, clear and empathic. The development of the Kop van Zuid was accompanied by a social program, so the unemployed people in the neighbourhood were helped with a job at all the companies who were settling in the area. An impressive and social program that made me want to do more purpose-driven work.
What is your call to action for companies around the globe?
We all have to contribute to a better world, and as a company you can do a lot. It can be hard to see where to start at first, since sustainability is such an extensive word, but just start! Even for service companies like us, there’s a lot of impact to be made. And you will reap the benefits. It’s inspiring and addictive, and it only brings more good to your company.
Which SDGs call you most and why?
As a creative communication agency, one of the industries we’re very active in is area development. We love to contribute to SDG 11 “creating sustainable cities and communities”. In the coming years cities all over the world will grow fast and it is very important to have healthy and green cities; places that people actually love to live in.
Personally, as a female leader, I strive for SDG 5 “gender equality”. That is one of the reasons why our agency is working pro bono on a B Corp coalition project for equality, Let’s Play Equal, together with like-minded agencies in Amsterdam. You will hear from us soon.
Call me a changemaker. Let’s fast-forward to 2030. What have you achieved?
Looking back in 2030 I aim to say that we have contributed to making sustainability a green business case. Meaning we will have sped up the transition to making sustainable business the norm.
In line with that mission, we started a new label The Cycle, a strategic communication agency for sustainable brands or brands that want to communicate about their way to sustainability. With the logic of strategy and the power of stories, The Cycle makes sustainable entrepreneurship pay off. So that investing in sustainability becomes increasingly attractive. In this way communication drives a flywheel of progress. Let’s see how that plays out 9 years from now!
If you could invite one company to join the B Corp community, which company would that be and why?
That would be a tough choice between either a company that can become more sustainable through the certification process or a company that just deserves it a lot. So I’ll name two. The most impact lies in the biggest companies becoming more sustainable. So I believe going through the certification process would do a lot of good for IKEA. And Synchroon just deserves it so much, they are doing incredible and inspiring work already. Come join the club!
Hungry for more wake-up calls? Read the other interviews here!