Sustainability and Social Impact in Retail | Exclusive Interview with Jeremy Meltzer
Sustainability isn’t a farfetched concept anymore that lies outside what we can do in the present. Visionary people from around the world have been tirelessly pursuing sustainability for years now – in the pursuit to improve the living conditions and the future of their communities.
Jeremy Meltzer is one of the leaders spearheading the change we want to see in the retail industry. He founded i=Change to make it easier for retailers to give back to communities in need. Since its founding, i=Change has raised more than $800,000 for projects that help women and children, empower survivors and refugees, provide support for the blind and cancer patients, and uplift many other communities around the world.
We sat down with Jeremy and asked the questions that have been brewing in our minds after seeing the inspirational change we witnessed from his projects at i=Change.
RLC: How did you come up with i=change? What was the lightbulb moment?
Jeremy: Although the idea for i=Change arrived 5 years ago, one sleepless morning at 3am, the will to make a difference was born in my early 20’s. I lived in Latin America and saw profound inequality holding back women and girls, as well as a lot of violence. I left the continent feeling angered and helpless.
I learnt, of course, these issues are global and in Australia, it’s an enormous problem here as well.
I’ve since travelled the world meeting charities that do incredible work to empower women and girls. I realised that to accelerate their impact, mostly they simply need more money. Coming from an entrepreneurial family, I wondered how business could provide this funding? Then this idea arrived…
The idea for i=Change was very simple; a platform that makes it simple for for e-commerce brands to give back $1 from every purchase – for their customers to choose where it goes and track the impact with 100% transparency.
We have now partnered with iconic brands, who are all giving back $1 with every sale. This simple idea has already impacted the lives of over 240,000 women and girls…
RLC: With this initiative by i=Change, how do you see its impact for everyone – the brands, consumers and beneficiaries?
Jeremy: From an idea five years ago, i=Change has now partnered with over 65 retailers, raised over $887,000 and counting, every few seconds. This is positively impacting the lives of over 240,000 women and girls in 14 countries – all by raising $1 at a time.
We’re very proud that i=Change has created a new and sustainable funding stream for best-practice NGO’s, with a focus on women and girls’ empowerment.
Today, 93% millennials wish to shop with brands that gives back. This movement is now being driven by consumers.
For brands, i=Change makes it simple to give back with every online sale and receive the benefits of having a ‘purpose beyond product’. Once live, every sale becomes a meaningful experience for customers. Brands can also access powerful content to share how they’re impacting people’s lives.
This also enables them to meaningfully differentiate.
RLC: How do you see the future of retail in terms of giving back or implementing more social sustainability practices?
Jeremy: The future of retail is rapidly heading toward an exciting tipping point where giving back is becoming a must-have (rather than a nice-to-have). With customers at the forefront of this movement, shopping as we know it is changing for the better. Businesses that aren’t considering their purpose will be left behind as this evolution becomes a ‘new normal’ expected by customers.
RLC: What kind of knowledge and inspiration can attendees at the upcoming New Retail ’19 event expect from you?
Jeremy: At New Retail ’19, I’ll be joined by a panel of our retail partners. Together we’ll share why giving is the new frontier of retail. You’ll be inspired and humbled by the stories, and motivated by the data, showing how purpose can reduce abandon-cart, and be so much more than ‘just charity’. 2019 will be the biggest year yet for this movement in Australia and around the world.
Jeremy is the Founder of i=Change, the fastest growing social enterprise tech startup in Australia. He is a leading social entrepreneur and speaker who inspires individuals and companies in terms of social sustainability and fast-forward innovation. He imparts his knowledge on how digital disruption can bring out enormous social good, while having measurable benefits for businesses.