Listening to Masami Soto, Founder of Buy One Give One – Empirics Asia
Can you tell us about your experience winning this award and what it means for your business?
It’s fantastic to see prestigious business schools like INSEAD is focusing on this topic to mobilise businesses as a force for good. And we are excited to be awarded the award that we see as a special recognition for the years of work we have been doing with small to medium size businesses around the world for the last 15+ years. We know keywords like ESG, Sustainability and COP27 are trending. But we often neglect the power of small businesses and the everyday choices of people around the world. So, for us to receive this recognition is an indication that ‘the power of small’ can really become a force for food in the world.
How does your business balance the need to be profitable with the desire to make a positive impact?
We have a limitless desire to make a positive impact which is sometimes hard to match with the ability to make more money because money wasn’t the motivating factor for us when we started this work. But to sustain and grow what we do, to create a greater impact, we definitely need financial sustainability and growth. That balance is required for real sustainability whether we are a full-profit or non-profit entity. For us, balancing that comes with our pursuit to find ways to add greater value to our members (they are our clients).
Can you discuss any measurable impact your business has had on society or the environment as a result of its efforts to be a force for good?
Our work over the past 15+ years we’ve worked with hundreds of projects in 48 countries supported by thousands of businesses from 47 countries. And those activities created more than 310 million positive impacts. These ‘impacts’ include over half a million trees planted, more than 5 million meals given, nearly 30 million days of education support provided, and much more.
Can you discuss any partnerships or collaborations your business has formed in order to have a greater positive impact?
We collaborate with small businesses that are running their different business activities everywhere, every day and help them incorporate positive and tangible global impact in their everyday actions and transactions. For example, every time a coffee shop serves a cup of coffee, they might give access to water to people in need. Every time, a consultant has a Zoom call, they might educate a child for a day. These everyday actions are part of the fabric of our society and when we collectively integrate acts of kindness and social impact into these ordinary actions, we really can change the world for good. \
How does your business communicate and educate the public about its efforts to be a force for good?
We continuously work on doing good easier and simpler. By finding great projects and breaking them down into micro opportunities, we can make it possible for every small business to consider making ‘doing good’ part of their everyday operation and journey as a business. It’s so easy to say “one day, when we are more successful…” but today is the day we can start doing good when we are not worried about the size of good we do.
Can you discuss any advice or lessons learned that you would like to share with other businesses that are looking to make a positive impact?
Taking small steps regularly – rather than waiting for large opportunities.
Meeting our 2023 Judges – Interview series
Post #1 – Diana Gan – Founder of Elementary Capital
Post #2- Kaushik Burman – General Manager & Managing Director at Gogoro India Pvt Ltd)
Post #3 – Dr Vinika D. Rao – Executive Director, INSEAD Emerging Markets, Gender & Africa Initiatives; Asia Director, HGIBS
Catch-up with 2022 Winners – Interview series
Catch-up with 2022 Judges – Interview series
Post #1 – Li Lian Liew GEMBA’13 – Director, Corporate Planning at Tan Tock Seng Hospital & Central Health
Post #2 – Apo Ozkececi MCCC’19Dec-S – SVP Commercial & Regional Head, Asia Pacific, Accelya