BLYDE WAKE-UP CALLS
5 BURNING QUESTIONS TO SAM VAN GENTEVOORT, FOUNDER OF FAIRLINGO
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 Sam van Gentevoort, founder of Fairlingo, a translation agency focused on using translations to remove language barriers from the world and create meaningful global connections.
What was your actual wake-up call for contributing to a better world and the reason for becoming a sustainable/social company?
It was a gradual development. I started entrepreneurship during my studies and experienced it as a great adventure. At first, I strived for the mainstream image of success. But as I got older, I found personal and spiritual development more interesting. I started to delve deeper into the system’s challenges and alternatives, such as the meaning of economy. I also followed shamanic training and found that real happiness and change come from within. I find combining entrepreneurship with the transition we are in an appealing challenge.
What is your call to action for companies around the globe?
Rewrite the story of success and our economic model. Many companies and people still see money as an end and not as a means. Currently we rely too much on competition, individualisation and consumption. This causes a lot of damage to the earth and society in the long term. The current crisis of climate, inequality and ecology is at its core a spiritual crisis. Letting go of old structures, fear and control is especially difficult where the most change is needed. For example, politicians and central bankers are really just letting themselves be held hostage by the financial world. The mountain of debt gets bigger every year and by having to grow, one wants to make the debt manageable. But growth is putting pressure on the earth and its inhabitants.
Which SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) calls you most and why?
I think they are all important, but if I had to choose one, I hesitate between SDG 4 and SDG 16. Education aimed at a systemic change can be the seed of change. Peace is a basis for that, so I choose SDG 16.
As a translation agency, we can make the most impact in the area of SDG 8. This by helping impactful organizations with translations to increase their reach in the world. In addition, as a service provider, we can contribute to decent work for all and inspire other companies with our B Corp activities.
Call me a changemaker – your company in 2030…(biggest dreams, wishes, plans?)
We want to show that things can be done differently by applying self-management and creating more joint awareness and harmony. In 2030, we would like to see globalisation contribute positively. We can achieve this if all our customers fit within the doughnut economy and contribute to the SDGs. We want to be an energy-neutral company and achieve more than 100 points as B Corp. We want to inspire other organisations in the field of positive globalisation and business operations. For example, with a six-hour working day.
If you could invite one company to join the B Corp community, what company would that be and why?
Unilever has made great strides towards the B Corp philosophy and has considered becoming a B Corp. Unfortunately, they have been overtaken by classical shareholder capitalism. While Unilever’s sustainable brands such as Ben & Jerry’s also create more financial value than the classic brands. If Unilever becomes a B Corp, they can also inspire other listed companies.
Hungry for more wake-up calls? Read the other interviews here!