This week on the Be Loud: Climate podcast, we spoke with Joe Hill of One Planet Pizza. If this name sounds familiar to you, you may have seen their product in your weekly Ocado shop. Joe is one half of the father-son duo on a mission to save the world one slice of pizza at a time.
The adjective that links climate action to these seriously yummy pizzas is simple: vegan. Although being a vegan in most urban areas around the world isn’t a novelty, there was significant backlash in 2018 when WeWork announced that they wouldn’t be having any meat-containing products on their premises. Although fairly innocuous perhaps, it indicated that the broader public were not quite ready for corporations to have an ethical stance on issues which require them to change something about their lives.
The knock-on effect is that many of us find ourselves working for corporations that lack real values and in an age where we are facing the complete devastation of our planet because we are closer to greedy pirates than ecowarriors, has the time come for values to take priority over profit?
One Planet Pizza is a company is indistinguishable from it’s values, and so we wanted to learn from Joe about how you can be a values-based company without getting into virtue-based market mudslinging... or putting off potential customers by trying too hard.
It’s a commonly quoted fact that eating a plant-based diet can reduce an individual's carbon footprint by up to 70% as found in a recent study by Oxford University led by climate hero Dr Joseph Poore. However despite this being fairly well-known, the idea of transitioning fully to a plant-based diet is not one people would consider for any number of practical and emotional reasons. But like everything else, you needn’t consider the entire shift in favour of a modest effort to eat less meat.
As Joe notes in the interview, perfection is the enemy of progress. The message that Joe enforces is one of positivity and inclusion, saying that if they want to compete with the household names in pizza, One Planet Pizza sees vegan-curious and flexitarians as the key to their success. This is a great lesson for the entire climate movement.
We are not looking for climate activists who will commit to fully changing every aspect of their lives - it’s generally not sustainable, nor should we expect people with busy lives and competing priorities to drop every other thing. We are looking for every person to take little steps towards reducing their carbon footprint and living their lives in a more planet friendly way for we are more than the sum of our parts. Influence creates influence, and as explained by Joe taking an inclusive approach to their product marketing has brought more people into the conversation which may not have been possible if they took a harder line.
For most of the private sector, veganism may not be a value that you choose to explicitly include in your company culture. However the time has long since gone when a company can sit back and let the world happen around them. A company after all is a community of people who have united under one mission. Sure, that mission might have nothing to do with any social purpose, but society is crying out for unity and if you truly consider yourself a leader in your category, then what are you waiting for?
From the vegan pizza company in Norfolk, we can learn a lot of things about marketing around a niche value, ingraining values within your company culture without being dictatorial, and making sure that as you grow and evolve, you will keep those values at the heart of what you are doing.
We’d like to thank Joe Hill for joining us on the Be Loud: Climate podcast and invite you to check out their website: https://www.oneplanetpizza.com/. And just in case you needed any convincing, they are launching dough balls in the near future.