New site engages local biz in 'TheChange'
Annalea Krebs launches new site connecting customers with sustainability-minded local businesses working toward positive change in Vancouver
Annalea Krebs has a strong belief in the power of business to change the world. That’s why she’s empowering Vancouver’s young work force to connect with local organizations leading social and environmental change through her site, TheChange.com, which launches on May 1, 2010. [Update: the launch has been delayed to May 15, 2010]
The social media platform is similar to LinkedIn, Yelp! and Monster.com in that it connects employment seekers with business profiles and jobs listings, but what makes it different is also what makes it so invaluable: Only organizations located in Vancouver or Victoria with a proven commitment to sustainability may join TheChange network.
"People use TheChange to learn how businesses, NGOs and educational institutions are approaching sustainability, in a local context," says Annalea.
The site targets those interested in beginning a career in the burgeoning green economy, mostly young people ages 20–35, and has partnerships with universities and technical schools in addition to businesses and non-profits.
Users can search through jobs listings, company profiles and blogs, education and training programs, as well as contests, and learn about the different sustainability initiatives going on in their local community. They can also call bullshit on companies touting credentials that are clearly greenwashing through the site’s integration with other social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.
As well, engagement from company founders is essential to the success of the site, says Annalea.
"Many of the organizations participating in TheChange have founders that are leading the sustainability vision of the company," she says. "[And they're] not necessarily a VP of Sustainability...
"Our audience wants to connect with more than just a brand; they want to engage with the people and values behind a brand. Participation from founders builds relationships and trust, and our local focus makes those relationships even more relevant."
Companies already signed on include Level Ground Trading, YYoga, Offsetters, Nature’s Path, Salt Spring Island Coffee, Spud!, Fairware, Eclipse Awards, Saul Good Gift Co., BCIT, Royal Roads University and many more. Go to their websites and you'll find a badge that encourages people to "Join Us in TheChange."
The goal of TheChange isn’t just about being “green,” or about being perfect, but contributing to a paradigm shift where people and place are as valued as the bottom line. Community, partnerships and collaboration are integral to this shift, and the site creates a network that puts people and business in touch so they can support each other while working toward common goals.
Ultimately, Annalea hopes that the site's local focus powers offline action, considering success to be when "people discover organizations on TheChange that align with their sustainability interests and [they] get involved as customers, employees/volunteers or students.
“Sustainability is not a destination,” says Annalea. “You can be any where on the path; the important thing is to unite as a community.”