I have been asked now on a few occasions about the authenticity of my pledge to donate a large percentage of profits to environmental conservation. I’ve always enjoyed getting out into our natural environment through freediving, mountain biking and hiking, and have a great respect for its fragility and need for protection. In my last job as a junior engineer I found myself doing a lot of international travel and this huge carbon footprint inspired me to think about ways that I could make a positive impact on the planet.
After looking for effective ways to make this difference, and having been inspired by the business model behind Who Gives A Crap I came to the conclusion that the best way to make this contribution was to start my own small business. I had been in an electrical business development role previously too, so I knew what I was getting myself in for.
The hard part about this business model is determining the right level of financial transparency to give; too much makes the business noncompetitive, too little makes prospective clients think that the pledge is false. For the record I have stated that I will donate 60% of profits to Trust for Nature. Profits are the proceeds left after paying for materials, wages, loan repayments, etc, etc.
As I was happy with my wages as a junior engineer, I have set my own salary at the same value; no exorbitant wages or tricky accounting to ensure that there are no profits to donate.
There’s no hiding that this is a new business, and there were large start up costs that we paid from our savings; these will be re-payed before we start generating profits; the first year will probably not see us make any contributions to Trust for Nature.
If you want to know more, or talk about this in depth, I’d be happy to answer any questions during a solar consultation.