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Creating Impact Through Giving Businesses with Masami Sato, Founder of B1G1

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In this episode, Corinna Bellizzi connects with Masami Sato, founder of B1G1 (Buy One, Give One) a not-for-profit organization that matches companies of all sizes with NGOs they’ve vetted, developing programs that give 100% of the allocated funds to the charity in question. They talk about Masami’s life journey, and how as she traveled the world, she noticed the inequities in different countries, and how those with so little to give often gave the most. This left an indelible mark in her perspective, especially as she became a mom, and resulted in her founding B1G1 in 2007 to propel more positive action into the world.  Today, this novel organization serves over 3,000 companies around the globe from high-end New York City restaurants to your favorite local business. 

About Masami Sato:

Masami has authored four books including, ‘JOY – The gift of acceptance, trust and love’, ‘GIVING BUSINESS – Creating the maximum impact in the meaning-driven world’ and ‘Better Business, Better Life, Better World’. Masami’s career has followed her diverse talent and skills having been a teacher, translator, natural food chef and farmer, author, award-winning entrepreneur and mother of two teenagers. She is a two-time TEDx speaker and is frequently invited to international events, podcasts and interviews.


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Creating Impact Through Giving Businesses with Masami Sato, Founder of B1G1

In this episode, we are going to talk about building businesses that give back. From pay-it-forward companies that donate a portion of their profits to a cause to those like Bombas socks that follow a buy one, give one product as a cause perspective. To guide us on this journey, I am joined by Masami Sato. Masami was born in Japan and has become a citizen of the world. She’s traveled the globe. She became deeply concerned with the inequalities and social challenges many people faced.

By taking a completely new look at the power of giving, she founded B1G1, which stands for buy one, give one in 2007. She has authored four books, including Joy: The Gift of Acceptance, Trust and Love, Giving Business and Better Business, Better Life, Better World. Masami’s career has followed her diverse talents and skills. Having been a teacher, a translator, a natural food chef, farmer, author and award-winning entrepreneur, as well as a mother of two teenagers. She is a two-time TEDx speaker and frequently invited to international events. Masami, welcome to the show.

Thank you so much, Corinna. Thank you for having me.

I’d like to first talk about the experiences you had that led you to want to create B1G1. Tell us about the inequalities you saw as you traverse the globe and the motivations you had behind getting this started.

I’m quite a simple person. I don’t see things from a very complex place. For me, I was very lucky to have the opportunity to travel around the world and take a few years in my youth to backpack. Backpacking is not a luxurious thing. If you don’t have much money and are on a tight budget, then you are being creative about how to save so you can stay away longer.

I was very close to the ground. Being a person who didn’t even speak English at that time, I had to learn everything, connect with people, being vulnerable and experience everything without judging and being open. During that time, I felt amazed because when I was even younger and growing up in Japan, I was a very shy person. I had trouble speaking to strangers, even in my community. I was a very quiet, shy and nervous child to speak to people.

When I went out into the world out of curiosity of wanting to see what was out there, I realized that at one point I had to let go. I started to talk to strangers because I have to, otherwise, I couldn’t survive. Also, not having the perfect language to speak with people made me become much simpler in terms of not worrying about saying the right things and I could just express myself in a simple way.

With that, I realized and connected with people. I enjoyed it so much to interact and connect with people. I realized that the world wasn’t a scary place because everywhere I went, I always met some very kind and generous people who helped me whenever I needed help. That was the joy of traveling. Another thing I saw what that whilst I was enjoying this experience, there was one thing that didn’t make sense to me, which was that in some countries, even young children weren’t going to school. For example, begging on the street or working in a field because education wasn’t available for them or the family thought the kids working was normal.

CMBB S11 1 | Giving Businesses
Giving Business: Creating the Maximum Impact in a Meaning-Driven World

People with physical disabilities are sleeping on the street and I thought, “If this was happening in my own hometown, surely somebody would do something to help.” That help wasn’t available for so many people. I started to wonder like, “Why is this happening?” I remember that my parents worked hard because Japan was experiencing this economic boom when I was growing up.

My father always felt that he had to work harder to gain better social status or more money. He sacrificed so much for the family to get more. We had enough. We weren’t a rich family and we were not that well to do, still, we had everything we needed to survive. I felt like, “There are lots of people who had enough, but they didn’t seem to feel fulfilled.”

At the same time, in other parts of the world, where there were people who had very little or almost nothing, but in those other countries I went to, people were still generous. They invited me to eat with them or stay with them. I thought like, “You have nothing and you are giving me your food.” That didn’t make sense to me. Instead of looking at things from the statistics or a global fact, then going like, “There is inequality and this is the poverty line.” I didn’t know any of those things. It’s just that personally, things didn’t make sense to me at that time.

You’ve touched on a few things that brought me right back to my twenties, personally. You mentioned, backpacking around the world and wanting to experience and see different places. You talked about how shy you used to be and I feel like you were describing me at that age. It was something I definitely also battled. I traveled across Europe backpacking. Because I was in the Western world in Europe, there weren’t a lot of people living in the streets and there wasn’t the same kind of inequity that you’re talking about.

There was wealth disparity, for sure but as you were speaking of, most people had enough. I also was struck by the generosity of people who didn’t have as much. By the fact that even being somebody who didn’t speak the language, I was greeted with generosity and people that wanted to help. Once I got over the hurdle of feeling like I couldn’t communicate well enough, my world opened up. These people ended up being a part of my community, even though I was a stranger in a strange land in so many ways.

It’s obvious to me that you’re coming from a place of the heart while you’re noticing all of these inequitable situations, where you have people who have a lot and then people have almost nothing. You’re looking at children who are forced to work, either through cultural habits, because they need to contribute to the household and there isn’t enough. They’re not able to go to school.

You’re looking at all of these social problems and how you can fix them. What’s happens next? You get B1G1 started. The brainchild is born. Talk about that moment and how you brought it together. I want to learn about the first 3 or 4 clients you brought on and what that was like and how you moved them through change. In that first stage, it’s like that first step is always the hardest to make.

There was a gap between the experience of seeing what’s happening in the world to the time I realized that I would do something about it. There was a period of time. I just had no idea if there could be anything that I would do in that situation. What happened was after traveling, I moved on with my life. I worked and then eventually I became pregnant and I gave birth to my very first child. That was a few years after I stopped traveling.

To me, that was the moment because until then, I could say, “There are lots of things happening in the world, but there isn’t anything I could do. I was a small person.” When I actually held my daughter in my arm, that was the first time I felt really compelled by this type of feeling of love and connection with this little thing in my arms.

Learn everything, connect with people, be vulnerable, experience everything without judging, and being open.

I realized, “I love her so much. I would do anything to protect and nurture her. Make sure she would have a happy, fulfilling life.” In the first few weeks of experiencing that deep sense of love and connection, there was a moment where I started to see faces of other kids that I met along the way. I realized that my daughter happened to be very lucky to be born in a country where everything was provided, but there are lots of other kids who were born in different environments.

As a result, they may not have a safe place or a family that would support them to study, learn and live a great life. I still couldn’t fix the world’s problems by myself, but I thought I would do something about this rather than just take care of my own family. That was when I became an entrepreneur. With a three-month-old baby daughter on my back, I started my very first business. Business felt like being in charge of something. With a three-month-old baby, I probably couldn’t get a job and go to work with her on my back. If it’s a business, I could do it.

With your own business, you’re the boss, you’re the creator.

I ended up running it like a takeaway food store because I was passionate about the food, but I didn’t have a lot of money but buying a struggling business, where the owner wanted to get out of business and affordable. I had $1,000 something to buy the business and started one. Eventually, I built the business and then it became two businesses. I eventually sold those two and moved from New Zealand, where I was back then to Australia to expand my business.

My food company was growing and my vision was to provide healthy food options to busy working people in Australia. I wanted to give all the profits of the business so that we could help feed and educate the street kids in some of the countries I visited. That was the idea. What happened was about six years into this entrepreneurial journey, as a business owner, always wanting to make a difference, I realized it wasn’t so easy to do.

Even though my company was growing and we had at one point frozen meal production facility and we were wholesaling products to over 150 stores in different states in Australia. Our business was growing, but I always had an excuse to say to myself that we weren’t ready yet. We still weren’t making money or profit because we are putting all the money back into the business to improve the packaging, the marketing, the bigger freezer room, and all of that.

I thought, “If I kept going like this, maybe in 10 or 20 years’ time, I would still be telling the same story to myself,” and said, “We are not ready yet. We’re not making much money yet.” I thought it was ridiculous that I would postpone on things I was most passionate about. I still didn’t have time. One day, this simple thought came to me. Instead of trying to do something big in the future, what about we do something small, but do it every day. Because small things can be done, but big things cannot be done now.

B1G1 sounds a little bit weird because of the word B1G1, what is it? The idea was to buy one, give one. Every time somebody purchases a product, what about one special thing that happens in the world? We decided that we would contribute a small portion of our product price towards providing a meal to a child in India at that time so that they would be encouraged to continue going to school. With research, I found the right NGO which will facilitate giving for something like $0.25. We thought like, “We can afford this,” because 25% can be used on a beautiful sticker, but we don’t need that beautiful speaker. We want a heart in our business.

CMBB S11 1 | Giving Businesses
Giving Businesses: In some countries, even younger children have tough experiences and don’t have access to education. Surely somebody can help.

I have to interject here because this was my first misnomer when I looked at your company. I come from the world of sales and marketing, so commonly that’s used as an acronym for buy one, get one or buy one, give one. On the first pass, somebody might think, “I don’t have the margin to give a whole one for every one I sell.” I’m not Toms Shoes when they got their start. That’s how they started. For every pair of shoes they sold, they would give another pair forward.

Since then, the company has gone through some changes. They don’t do it exactly that way anymore. They’re providing resources to a select number of charities and a percentage of profits goes to those. That’s part of the scaling of a company. At a certain point, they’re like, “I’ve given all the shoes that we intended to and now what? We want to have a bigger impact in another way.”

There was a new company that came out in the United States. I mentioned this in the opening of Bombas socks. Their whole concept is around giving a pair of socks for every pair of socks that they make but that pair of socks goes to a homeless person. They’re using it to raise awareness about a particular issue. In this case, it’s the fact that homeless people don’t often get enough donated socks or underwear, because those are not items that are typically donated to places like Goodwill.

They have to be provided new. Because they have to be provided new there was this giant gap in their availability to those that need the most. Homeless people often don’t have the ability to go to a laundromat. They’re not going to use those few quarters they have to wash their clothes. They’d wear the socks essentially until they’re not wearable anymore and then need new ones. It’s a sad thing to think about, but that’s a reality.

This company came out of the woodwork and said, “We’re going to bring awareness to this problem and help to solve it.” That’s one tactic to doing something like this. What you’re also advocating is it doesn’t have to be that costly in one way. If you didn’t have the margins to give another pair of socks away for every pair you sold, you could do something as simple as donate a few cents per sale of an item or a percentage. Even like what the Vitamin Angels do. I recommend that supplement companies use that and say, “We’re going to give $0.25 for every bottle we sell.” Is that correct?

Because business is selling the actual item to somebody else, it’s probably not feasible for most businesses. Also, it may not be so necessarily to give that item. Is it the way to transform the issues and make a difference in the long term? There are lots of different things in the world that we could support. Planting trees is important, but is it every time you buy a tree, give a tree? Maybe we can plant enough trees to make sure that our rainforest is supported.

What we are trying to do in the B1G1 at that time when I first started this in my own business, I was just one business. We just happen to be passionate about food and also the education of the people. Several months after implementing that idea into my own company, I had another moment of realization where I realized that I knew many other amazing business people and entrepreneurs. They were my friends, my suppliers or other business brands. I knew they cared about something.

Often, they cared about the different issues in the communities. I thought that what if it was easy for any business, not just the product business, but even accountants, dentists, every business can find a way for them to make a meaningful impact. Make it part of their everyday business rather than trying to set up a foundation one day when they become mega-successful or something. We do it now.

Express yourself in a simple way. Interact with people and find the perfect language to speak with them.

If we all wait, then what? I get that. I saw an example on the B1G1 site where a woman was talking about her swim center. They did something as simple as to give a gift on someone’s birthday. If someone turns 26 years old, they got to donate $26 to the charity of their choice. It was an added benefit that they gave to their employees. I thought that was so creative. I’d love for you to talk about some of the ways that you’ve integrated these ideas at B1G1 into the businesses that you work with.

The B1G1 idea became the idea that this is about all the businesses are coming together. At that time, even though I loved my food company, I decided that it was time that I would actually move on to set up this initiative. I sold my company in Australia and moved to Singapore many years ago to start B1G1 as a giving initiative, a social enterprise.

Along the way, we realized that this is not necessarily about the typical buy one, give one thing to embed the giving in just the product, the sales and the services every time. We have plenty of these examples. Every time accountants create a client that they might give a goat to the family so that this family has a sustainable income. We have a pest control company in the UK that gives and support children in conflict zones. That every pest control work that they do, that’s done by Army veterans because the Army veterans lost their job.

They didn’t have a job after coming back because they had trauma in some way. They decided to create jobs for army veterans, but then Army veterans cared about the children in conflict zones. They decided to embed that they’re giving. Every invoice they issued after doing the pests control work said, “Thank you for choosing us because as a result, we supported X number of children.” That’s an example.

A swimming school in America, in Miami, they do embed the giving in what they do in swimming lessons too. At the same time, they realized that their business activities have been made possible by their team members and team members are family members. They care about them so much that they want them to inspire them, that they can also make a unique difference.

The company itself gave access to water to people. They are passionate about, supporting the construction of wells to bring clean water to communities. The team members may have a different passion. Some team members may want to plant trees or they may want to support the education or give medical care to disadvantaged people.

Many of the businesses that we work with, being very creative and thinking about how they would embed this giving spirit in everything that they do. It’s not necessarily sales-based or income-based. It could be just for every email we send. We do this or every time somebody downloaded this special guide, then we say to them, “Thank you for downloading this.” Whilst you enjoy learning, you also help the children have the joy of education or we helped build the playground to these schools.

I like that you’re making than action-based. It’s like the birthday example is one tune, but you’re saying, “If download this email guide or if they were to execute an order.” I think you mentioned an accountant giving a goat every time he had a new client or something like that. I think that’s all very creative and good. I think it gets us outside of thinking about everything so far, as it’s all about profit.

You mentioned something earlier that I’ve often thought about, especially since starting this show and that is that it was having a child that changed things for you. I’ve heard this theme again and again. I feel like it’s probably the same for me in some ways, too. I have two children. They’re ages three and six. I have been thinking about how we have an impact on the planet more and more especially as grandparents gift us plastic toys and things along those lines. They are expensive junk because they have short lives and they break and what do you do with that type of thing.

CMBB S11 1 | Giving Businesses
Giving Businesses: Being able to work with people toward something bigger than ourselves together rather than always thinking about who gets more or who gets less, makes life much more fulfilling.

In reviewing all of that and then thinking it through, I’d like to just know a little bit more about what that means for you and how perhaps just becoming a mother in itself was a catalyst for wanting to see change and how perhaps that could even be used as a tool to help get other people thinking about what they could do differently.

I think that there are these like moments where you feel deeply connected or start to think differently. For me, one of those moments was becoming a mom. Before then, the experience of traveling around the world and connecting with people, and being immersed in the kindness of others, was also part of that too.

I love business because it’s very creative and it’s also tough too. The business owners start their businesses, with some form of passion, vision or they’re all interested like a passion into something. There are always reasons why something happens. I realized that when business people have so much to give to the world, but they ended up becoming too busy and distressed or like losing that initial spark of like, “This is why I started my business.” That’s a real shame.

That’s why to me, it was all about connecting the dots. Human beings naturally have this spirit of giving, caring and empathy. That drives us to come up with creative ideas to solve the problems. The business owners are great examples of how they are creatively looking at some ways that they can add value through the world or solve some of these problems and they started their own business. If we connect all these dots together, then we have the power to solve the global programs together, because there are so many businesses, many people who care. That’s B1G1’s model and harnessing that.

As you mentioned, that I was struck by one thing and that’s that as we’re going through those big changes, as you’re building a brand-new company, you’re full of ideas and insights, you’re in this state of change. Where you’re having to be very creative, where you’re creating something that’s new, at the same time, when you’re a new parent and you have a child in your arms, it’s like your whole world has been turned a little upside down. You’re in a creative space, whether or not you necessarily intend to be.

You’re also in a moment where you can relate to and connect with other people that are on that same level in a new way. Perhaps, there’s something to that. It’s this creative moment of entering motherhood or parenthood, of forming a new company or a new venture, when you’re going to be open to possibility.

If we can get people who are starting new businesses to think about something creatively early on like, “Where it is you’re forming the business? How do you want to give back?” Beyond the service that you offer or beyond the product that you offer, make that tangible and real so that the people that you’re collaborating with are excited to be partnered with you or excited to be employed by you or are excited about what you’re doing. It can also act as that fuel and passion that continues to keep you connected with the business beyond just the busyness of the everyday. I love that intention.

That’s a perfect way to describe it because the idea of social responsibility existed for quite some time, but then it was called a CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility. Also, people felt that disconnected from that. Even if the larger companies are trying to do something for CSR, lots of people probably don’t resonate with that because it comes from doing things they have to, sometimes.

It’s too formal. That’s it. You’re talking Corporate Social Responsibility. It gets abbreviated to CSRs and you’ve suddenly lost everybody, as soon as it has an abbreviation.

Every business can find a way for them to make a meaningful impact and then make it part of their everyday business.

The business owners or smaller companies, when they are not required to do such a thing, like “You have to do CSR.” It’s not there, but then if they feel they want to do it and because they believe or they resonate with the idea or they care. Then that genuine intention of doing good, however small or however big resonates with others. Also, business takes time, we work like so many hours in a day. It’s actually more hours than the hours we spend with most of our family members.

The people we work with in businesses like our family or even kind of more important than family because they get to do things together. I feel like being able to work with people that resonate with the same idea or we work toward something bigger than ourselves together, rather than always thinking about who gets more or who gets less.

I think that makes our life much more fulfilling. There is something about money cannot buy, which is that happiness or a real sense of meaning. If we are able to regularly and consistently express this sense of caring, giving spirit, and to connect with others to resonate with that idea, it makes it so much more enjoyable to be doing the hard work that we do in business. It’s a real win-win.

I also perused some of the books that you’ve written at least online, read a couple of the intros as well. I found this is bridging back to that earlier conversation we were having about CSR and sustainability goals. You were involved in a book specifically called Legacy. We hear a lot about sustainability, but I don’t think most of our audience understand what SDGs mean Sustainable Development Goals. This pie in the sky idea of what we’d like to achieve by 2030. I’d love for you to talk a little bit about what SDGs are, Sustainable Delivery Goals.

Sustainable Development Goals, there are seventeen of them. Before the US body had the Sustainable Development Goals, they had this thing called the Millennium Goals. Millennium Goals were also relatively known, but not probably everybody knew about it. It was more like goals that people felt that these institutions or governmental bodies should do something about. It wasn’t to be resonant for them.

What happened was when this new set of goals called Sustainable Development Goals came up, it started to attract real interest in the business world. Sustainable Development Goals have many different colors. It’s visually very interesting, but for each one of the seventeen goals, we prevent some of the main issues that we need to collectively work on so that the world will create true sustainability.

True sustainability doesn’t mean just the involvement in sustainability, but it’s about looking at certain issues people experience around the world like the income gap or lack of opportunities or even behavioral issues among companies. Companies need to change the way they think about equality in the workplace or diversity.

It’s covers everything basically under the seventeen goals. Under the seventeen, there are different indicators inside it too. It’s simply visually expressed with these nice vibrant colors. It’s very interesting to explore the information on the sustainable development goals website. What it does is it invites everybody to be part of it. It’s no longer about the government trying to fix the world or the foundations to do something about it.

This is relevant for every one of us. Even in small companies to look at, “These are the SDGs and our company wants to especially work on improving this particular area in our business or through products and services or through our effective giving.” The Legacy book that we published is different in nature because you can learn more about SDGs, each one of them too.

We add on stories from different people and the business owners or people from NGOs or different organizations to share their personal stories and the passion or ambition about the SDG that they resonate with. This is a storybook but then you get to learn about some of the global facts and what’s happening and what kind of things you could do as an individual. We wrote that to inspire everybody, whether it’s individuals or business owners to think about what they want to do to contribute to bigger global goals.

CMBB S11 1 | Giving Businesses
Giving Businesses: Coming up with a sustainable development goal is not going to fix everything in the world, even all the powerful people were part of it. But we have to realize that we’re all in this together.

One of the things I’ve heard spoken of often, especially lately and listening to other shows that are specifically focused on sustainability is that it feels like there’s no real hope of attaining the Sustainability Development Goals by the year 2030. That 2030 feels like it’s around the corner and yet we’re so far behind. That’s the general sentiment that you’re seeing from those who work in this space.

I wonder if you could comment on that. Understanding that we’ve already burned a few years since they were first created and they’re very big names involved in their creation, from Bill Gates to Richard Branson. There’s some big money behind producing goals and actually getting to a space where we have a more equitable future for the global populace but we’re falling a little short. What would you say with that in mind?

We use this expression, “The power of small,” in what we do because we believe that making a real, sustainable change needs to be done ground up or involving everybody or changing our daily habits and trying to do the big campaign. One big approach cannot fix everything. Coming up with Sustainable Development Goal is not going to fix everything in the world. Even all the powerful people were part of it.

What’s important is that we realized that this is for every one of us. We take a part in making a sustainable future together. If all of us did something a little that is more powerful than a big person or a big organization doing one big thing and then thinking that should fix everything in the world because that’s not going to happen.

The mindset change in small businesses will be very powerful because even though there are lots of larger companies that hold great power, but if you look at the statistics in the wall, 97% also of the economy is driven by small to medium-size businesses around the world. Those businesses hire so many people in the world too. If small businesses felt empowered and they came together to start doing things together and they do it in their own unique ways, it’s not one way or the other, one right way or wrong way.

It’s about everybody finding the ways that they want to make an impact, creativity of entrepreneurship and business ideas. There are so many different great projects, NGOs, or social enterprises working in the world to solve these problems. If we connect all these little tiny dots together, we can transform things much more powerfully.

It wasn’t impossible before. Now, it’s possible to link with millions of people because of the power of connections, technology and social media, open channels of interactions and conversations. I believe that even though we are behind and we need to start changing things faster and faster from here, I think it’s possible. I’ve seen so many amazing giving the people in the world that it’s possible.

I’m not saying it isn’t but I also have a healthy level of skepticism that comes from this. The reality is in the West, we have a challenge where we’re consistently kicking the can down the road. The reason I say that is things like the manufacturing that we do here versus another country. We’re more likely to buy cheap goods that are made in another country where the negative attributes of the pollution and everything hit that country more than our own home.

We don’t see it in the same way, so therefore, it’s not our problem, even though it’s a global issue. It’s this thing where we have to continually remind ourselves that we’re responsible as much for that as we are for the consumption of the gasoline that we use or the things that we throw away in our own garbage cans. Getting people to realize the effects we’re having on a global scale is something that continues to be a challenge and continues to make people a little bit more reticent to take accountability for the things they’re personally having an effect on.

That’s true in business, too. That’s just commentary but I totally agree with you that small change is where it’s at because if we all make small changes, we can have an immeasurable impact as a group, as a collective of people. One of the questions I had for you is, let’s say that I’m building a small business and I only have two or three employees. I’m just getting started. What recommendations would you make to somebody in that space to help them build in some level of this buy one, give one perspective?

Money cannot buy happiness or a real sense of meaning.

I think it’s possible for any business to do this. For example, if you are to decide through B1G1, there are lots of giving opportunities starting from just $0.01 to $0.10 to do this or $3 to plant this particular tree in this forest. Every cent or dollar, as far as you could give, then you can start with that. You don’t need to do a lot to feel good about it.

Also, designing their business as a new business is probably the best time to design how you want this business, whether a service or product to be creating a great impact on the lives of your clients and customers, but also on the greater world. It could be a perfect opportunity to do it right up front than believing, “When we become successful one day, we will do this.” We actually create the feeling around the business and can effectively give to be part of that and allocating a small budget to be able to do so, then I think any business can.

Doing that is not everything because I think all the businesses can think about the negative impact that they could have on the environment and the planet too. Once you are doing this thing, then naturally, you and your team members will start to think like, “Maybe we should save the electricity a little bit. Perhaps we will plant a few more trees to do carbon offset in at least the part of it. Let’s not print too many papers anymore.”

I think that mindset shift will naturally lead towards us doing. We will start to do a little bit more of something we can do at each stage. We don’t need to try to do a big thing or everything all at once or feel guilty about creating a negative environmental impact. Doing something we could do and then continue to do so, continue to ask questions and be curious is the key. In the long run together, we can do so much more.

Let’s say I have a business now and I’ve decided I want to get involved. I think I could collaborate with B1G1 to create a program. What does that look like? Walk me through it.

You can visit and take a look. One thing I didn’t describe is how B1G1 works. In B1G1, we have a great system where you have a B1G1 account and you can find a project and search very easily. Also, you can create this thing called The Giving Story. You can say every time I have a meeting, I want to plant a tree. You set it up in your account, then you could each month give based on the number of meetings you had or you could even automate. If you are a picky person, then you could integrate API or Zapier and then automatically retract those activities. You could do that too.

There is that mechanism to do so. When you are giving, 100% of your giving will go to the project that you choose out of hundreds of projects. The question is, how does B1G1 work if 100% of giving goals because most fundraising initiatives would usually secretly take a percentage of the donation, which we don’t do.

That’s where the skeptic comes in. They say, “Wait the minute, how are making money then?”

The businesses that we work with as members of this giving movement. As a movement, we run this on the financial budget, which is called the B1G1 Movement Fund, which is the membership contributions are coming from all the members. Because we want to make it easy for tiny and small businesses too, as well as bigger and established businesses, the membership fee is based on the company size. You could choose like, “I’m a tiny business, so I contribute a dollar a day towards the movement fund.”

When I have a B1G1 account, then I can display the symbol of the B1G1 badge on the website through the giving and knowing that every dollar and cent will go through the project. You can have an impact counter that you can embed on your website that dynamically shows how many impacts you are creating under different SDGs. There are a lot of things you could do. If anybody’s curious, then the best place to go is to visit our website.

I think something like that needs to be done in order for more businesses to grab on and participate. The reality is if you get a little badge that helps you say to the world, “We’re a caring company. We give back and this is how.” That’s a marketable asset. That’s something that consumers are looking for as they vote with their dollars. They make decisions about the types of products and services they want to support because they’re working to create a better world in their actions too. I love the simplicity of that. I also liked the stories I reviewed on your site.

CMBB S11 1 | Giving Businesses
Giving Businesses: Small businesses should be empowered and come together to start doing things together in their own unique ways.

From solutions companies coming out of the gates to try and reduce food waste in New York City to the water park company that teaches people to swim and for every birthday they give a contribution to the employee’s chosen charity. I think that’s beautiful. There are so many different ways that a company can decide to give back and I think stage one is starting a program. It’s that simple. You just get started. Are there any questions you wish I’d asked that I haven’t or anything that you would like to say?

I enjoyed exploring some of the thoughts because it’s quite common to be invited to a show and said, “Tell us what you do. How does it work?” Get into those topics. You actually navigated the conversation and the stories behind. It is the only way for people to be interested in what happens behind the product and the services we use. We can say, “It’s better to waste the less or reuse or recycle like as a moral value that we could have these principles.”

At the same time, I think people would change their behavior or naturally do things or make great efforts to change things if they resonated with a story of someone or felt strongly empathetic about someone’s pain. Stories are key to making people realize that they can do something or want to do something. Thank you so much.

That’s exactly why I wanted to bring you on to tell your story. The reality is that you’ve had many lives as a mother, as a food entrepreneur and as an individual who is concerned about the state of the world. You made a choice to make a difference and to focus your efforts on that. I think that’s important. I also think the stories of the people you’ve touched so far are incredible.

I encourage our audience to go and take a look at the B1G1 website because you’ll get some inspiration. Even if it doesn’t affect you personally or even if you’re not in New York City dealing with food waste, I encourage people to look there. These are businesses you could support. I’d like to invite you to be a little bit like Masami. Do you think you can do that?

I know none of us as necessarily her, we haven’t had her experiences specifically, but we’ve had some like them. We may have been that shy person that was afraid to speak up but think like her on hard days when tasks at hand make you feel like you’re staring up Mount Everest. To quote her website, “We can solve any problem in the world through our everyday acts because we’ve got so many people, businesses, transactions in our world. We just have to be a little more sharing and caring through everything we do.”

I think that sums it up nicely. I thank you, Masami for everything you are doing, inviting us all to care a little more and be better just like this show. If you’re interested in pursuing a deeper understanding of her work or even soliciting her partnership. Perhaps, you’ll even want to purchase one of her books. For recommended actions, visit our website, and click on action.

It can serve as an inspiration and even provide mindful gift ideas. I invite all of you to join the conversation and be a part of the community we’re building. You can follow us on social spaces @CareMore.BeBetter or just send us an email at Remember, this show is not backed by the people or the companies we feature. Our purpose is simply to get more good out into the world. If you like what we’re doing, you can support the show by sharing it with some friends or by donating directly to our site. Thank you everyone for being a part of this pod and this community because together, we can do so much more.


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  • Masami Sato

    Founder & CEO, B1G1 (buy one, give one) I'm Masami Sato, founder and CEO of the global giving initiative B1G1 (originally known as Buy1GIVE1). We help businesses give back in meaningful ways. Imagine a coffee shop giving access to life-saving water for every coffee they sell, or accountants educating a child in need for every client they serve... And imagine if your everyday business activities also made a great impact in the world. Since 2007, we've worked with more than 3,000 businesses from all industries creating 220+ million giving impacts. Today, the B1G1 initiative lets you give to 500+ high-impact projects creating tangible impacts in all of the Sustainable Development Goals (the SDGs). We believe that businesses with a real sense of purpose can change our world.

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