Op Ed: Kayleigh Nicolaou, Co-Founder, Kakadu Creative – Does Working with Mission-Aligned Companies Even Matter? – vegconomist

Kayleigh Nicolaou is the co-founder of Kakadu Creative, a UK-based ethical design agency. Kayleigh and her business partner, Lee, both spent their early careers in the consumer media world working with local, national and international brands before launching Kakadu Creative in 2018.

They are now dedicated to using their team’s skills and expertise to build a better, more ethical and sustainable future for people, the planet and animals. Additionally, Kayleigh co-founded The Green Hosting Company, a website hosting company dedicated to delivering professional-level website hosting that protects and restores the natural world.

Why should I work with mission-aligned companies? Does it really matter?

By Kayleigh Nicolaou

We all know that being vegan is about more than what you eat, what you wear, or even what cosmetics you use. Once you start down the vegan rabbit hole, it becomes an all-encapsulating lifestyle that steers your decisions in nearly every aspect of your personal life.

But when it comes to business, there’s an equally deep, equally important rabbit hole that you need to venture down.

Question: How often have you uttered the phrase “What? How is that not vegan?!”

It’s happened to me more times than I’d like.

In business, there are so many ‘that’s-not-vegan’ traps ready to ensnare you, and they’re always more obscure, and in turn, easier to fall into than those in your personal life.

ProVeg NFH packaging
Image courtesy of ProVeg International

What kind of traps?

Well for example, have you ever considered what’s in the ink on your company literature or product packaging? Yep, a lot of companies use inks, glues and finishes that contain animal-derived ingredients. Be it for increased pigmentation, as a stabiliser, or simply because it’s cheaper. That’s just one of many facets of the business world that shouldn’t exist, but unfortunately do.

Here’s where choosing to work with companies and service providers who share your ethics and mission-led approach starts to pay dividends.

Simply put, outsourcing to a mission-aligned company makes your life easier, greatly reducing the stress and time it takes to work through these things yourself. They’ve already done the hard work in identifying the ‘that’s-not-vegan’ traps in their area of expertise, and have the solutions ready to go.

Because these companies and service providers ‘get it’, you know you’re all on the same page, and you can rest assured that you’re not at risk of falling into one of the ‘that’s-not-vegan’ traps.

But it doesn’t end there, follow me a little further down the rabbit hole if you will…

Where does the money go?

Imagine this: You don’t bother with using a mission-aligned company, and do it yourself instead. The brochure project you just completed with your new vegan ink on fancy recycled paper looks great. You found a cheap quote from an online supplier and you get them paid for, printed, and distributed. Brilliant! Pat on the back and an early finish then? NO!

That money you just handed over; what is that being spent on? You may never know.

Big companies, who may be offering vegan options but aren’t in it for the vegan ethics, may have investments in things that are very much not ethically aligned, and the smaller ones may be doing something as innocuous as banking with Barclays a bad bank.

By choosing an ethical, mission-led partner you can rest assured that your money is being spent responsibly, not invested in detrimental practices, and not held in an account ready for some unscrupulous banker to invest in planet-killing schemes.

The Green REV Institute, calls on EU decision-makers to prioritize the well-being of citizens and public health above the interests of the meat industry.

But how do I find them?

The vegan industry is seeing more and more options across the board for fully vegan solutions year after year. For example, did you know that you can work with fully vegan accountants, financial advisers, PR agencies, branding, marketing and design agencies and so much more? Meaning that you don’t have to compromise your ethics or the quality of your final product if you don’t want to.

Finding mission-aligned companies can be as simple as a Google or LinkedIn search including the term “ethical”, “Cruelty-free”, or “vegan”. Or you can search through dedicated directories on platforms such as Vegan Founded, the Vegan Business Tribe or Vevolution.

Once you’ve found a potential service provider or providers, don’t be afraid to ask questions to dig into whether they’re vegan washing. If they are truly mission-aligned they’ll have all of the right answers and you’ll know pretty quickly if they are genuine or not.

To sum it up…

If you’re in a position to outsource work, choosing a mission-aligned company to work with is one of those ‘peace-of-mind’ things that you don’t realise how much you needed until you experience it.

Do it, and chances are, you’ll never look back.

OK, go on then. Now you can have that pat on the back and an early finish. Enjoy!

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