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  • Writer's pictureThe Sustainability Collective

No One Cares About Your World Changing Idea

Updated: Aug 9, 2020

Are we all liars? Do we all just talk about how important it is to buy ethically but not do it? Or is the disconnect between wanting to do good and actually doing good an issue of not knowing how?

This was the theme of the Founder Institute’s ‘No one cares about your world changing idea; here’s how to change that’ panel with Jodi Boylan, Lockie Cooke, Adam Long, Sally Giblin.

“People don’t care that what you’re doing is good, just because it’s good” - Adam Long.

92% of CEOs believe implementing sustainability is critical to business success but only 48% are actually doing anything about it.

45% of Qantas customers want to fly carbon neutral but only 10% actually do.

Yeah, why is there coffee that's not Fairtrade?

Understanding your audience

Executive producer of War on Waste and Fight for Planet A, Jodi Boylan agrees. Before she begins work on a series, she tries to understand who their audience is, will they understand it in the first 30 seconds or even if they press mute, can they still understand it.

“People with ideas need to step outside their comfort zone and think big picture to get people to care and ask themselves is it relatable, is it inclusive and is it accessible?” - Jodi Boylan

Interestingly, Sally Giblin, co-founder and CEO of Purebundle, which was started as a solution to fashion waste understands that the sustainability of the product isn’t the first thing she communicates in the customer value proposition.

“Our purpose is to fight fashion waste, but what we communicate to parents is convenience and great quality brands for less rather than a sustainability angle." - Sally Giblin

You have to be solving a customer problem first and foremost

With Humantix, Adam Long explains that in the messaging hierarchy customers need to know with absolute certainty that you’re solving a problem better than anything else in the market and it's a bonus that it also happens to have a positive social impact.

Founder of Iyarn, Lockie Cooke offers a simple equation. “If I’m comparing two pairs of socks, one may be more sustainable but if the price difference is over 40%, the cheaper option will win.” And he most definitely isn’t alone.

The caveat: Similar price and quality!

Understanding what we value

Lockie also knows more than most about understanding social value. He secured funding for his social enterprise Iyarn - a health and wellbeing software platform by communicating the social value of the idea. He wooed funders with Iyarn's ability to make progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #3 - Good Health and Wellbeing.

“Not all investors want a profitable return on investment, there’s a lot of people out there that want a social return on investment.” - Lockie Cooke

So can we get people to care?

YES and also NO! Jodi was able to catalyse 452 high impact waste reduction initiatives from the War on Waste series by making sure she understood the audience first.

You also won’t be able to convince everyone to care so, as Adam suggests, focus your efforts on the minimum number of people you need to convert.

It is abundantly clear that doing good is only half the job - you must get to know your audience, understand them and know how to tell them a good story that motivates them.

Full video of panel is here and top tips below.

Top 3 tips for sustainability founders

  • What’s in it for them - making sure you solve a customer problem

  • Making it visual - something your customers can relate to

  • Be passionate about what you’re doing - that will give you longevity

  • Just because your idea is ethical or meaningful doesn't mean people will care, they won’t - dive into the science of behavioural economics, use the commercial tactics

  • Not trying to reach everybody - you won’t be able to change everyone’s mind, so focus on getting 100% of a small group of people.

  • Huge message repetition - need to hear the message again and again and again

  • Create activations for your nuanced niche community

  • Get them to understand the value proposition, receive feedback and be open to it

  • Follow-up and follow-up - nail the messages and nail the product

Jodi Boylan - People care, but they don’t know what to do about it, here Jodi offers advice on how to translate that care into action

  • Influence your sphere

  • Joining others that are advocating

  • Be mindful of your choices and how you spend your money

  • Be concise

For more tips on how to start your sustainability journey visit and if you're ready to get your sustainable business idea off the ground, visit

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