How can Velocity be more than a business?
I may be on the rebound … I’ve come out of a 14 year relationship and jumped in to a new one. (Don’t worry Bex, this is not what you think!)
After 14 years of ups, downs and heart warming experiences, I sold up and parted ways with Riverford Organic Farmers to form this new venture and I can now reflect on the key ethos at Riverford – Ethical business. Doing the right thing by the people involved, the partners, the soil and the planet have always been at the heart of everything Guy Watson and his team did, every deal, every decision and every conversation - but does it work? For me, like the very nature of organic farming, it’s complicated but it’s definitely the right way to approach your business (and your life).
The last time I saw Guy he was preparing to submit this plea to our leaders and decision makers about how to deal with carbon emissions.
He was worried about getting it right because this is important. BBC Farmer of the year, Observer Ethical Business Person of the Century and Kirsty Wark’s biggest crush since doing Desert Island Discs with her.....none of that is important in comparison to the chance of getting those in power to consider that doing the right thing is much better than doing the most profitable thing.
I spent a couple of days staying in Guy’s shepherd hut in his garden last October to put together a business plan for Velocity Cycle Couriers. Designing logos on beer mats, wild guessing forecasts & IT spend then walking the fields before enjoying simple delicious evening meals with Guy & Geetie over a glass or two of organic wine. I’d like to think that these roots will help to grow a business that reduces pollution, looks after its people, and puts a smile on people’s faces.
So what is Responsible Capitalism? Can you make sure that everyone gets a fair cut of what you do? Paying the real living wage, avoiding zero hours contracts, building partnerships that don’t need contractual ties because everyone wants them to continue? Surely this can be done without losing your shirt – but whilst every independent coffee shop knows they must compete with the corporate coffee giant with bottomless pockets – and every baker, brewer and florist is up against mass produced, low cost chemically enhanced rivals, it is not easy to make it all work.
We are launching a low & zero emission delivery service and want to treat every customer as a partner where everyone wins, and the washing up gets shared equally! If we can reduce carbon emissions in our city, then we are part of the solution – whichever side of the conversation you are on.
We’ve toyed with a “pay what you can” tariff for local businesses but can’t quite work out the model – could we offer a service to community projects or lower income households at one rate then a higher charge to thriving traders or larger clients?
Let us know if that could be a way forward for a small, ideological, low & zero emission delivery service.