In this world of profit-making, capitalism and rising industrialization, where companies are working day and night to take their number graphs to greater heights, Marc Cirera, CEO and founder of Companies for good is running a social enterprise to help companies make their mark by not just growing economically but by taking responsible actions towards the greater good.
Cirera is a business ethics and sustainability specialist with a clear vision, and a world where companies operate in a more sustainable and responsible way. They essentially help businesses and their employees do good, for the planet and the communities, ‘good-on demand’ as they call it. Companies for Good works in an unconventional manner since May 2017 by organizing team activities like tree planting, making toys for refugees, beach clean-ups, women empowerment seminars, etc. which focus on the corporate social responsibility that is more often than not forgotten in this fast-paced world. All these activities are run in collaboration with various non-government organizations and other community organizations that also have the same goal as them. They have till now provided a fun hassle-free way to great brands worldwide like Airbnb, Amazon, Unilever, Pfizer, Standard Chartered, Gucci, Philips, BCG, DHL, Mubadala, Sanofi, Henkel, Kellogg’s, Ford, and many more to give back to the society.
A born entrepreneur, he was introduced into the business world by his grandfather who was a self-made businessman. He set up his first business in hospitality while studying Economics and Business Administration in Barcelona. After running it for four years, he sold it and used the profits to pursue a Master’s in Business Ethics in Sydney. He didn’t sacrifice his education for business, after graduating, he moved to London to work at a communications consultancy. During his time there, he helped multinational companies, such as Rolls-Royce, ABB, Nivea, and Cargill become stronger by putting ethics, values, and sustainability at the heart of their organizations.
He then landed in Dubai in 2015 to work as a sustainability specialist at Chalhoub Group until October 2018. While working there, he donut Companies for good in May 2017 and has been fully dedicated to it since November 2018. He told in an interview “I founded Companies for Good because I believe businesses have the potential to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues. And I wanted to help them do good.”
Overcoming the obstacles
It is not easy as it seems, and ever since the onset of COVID 19 worldwide, the pandemic has caused various obstacles in the industry, the scenario has changed so much due to lack of gatherings globally, they’re now witnessing a demand for virtual events, and that’s the way to go according to them in the time to come. They are now coming up with digital solutions (such as the online escape room named Escape Climate Change) as their commitment to doing good doesn’t stop at all, COVID or no COVID.
Other than that, they face two types of challenges, one being more conceptual and behavioral, and others being rather more pragmatic. As Cirera puts it: “Regarding the former, a recurring challenge we face is the concept of responsibility dilution. When we lose sight of who is responsible for what, it can be dangerous – most of us are worried about global warming, yet we drive my cars on a daily basis. This makes us rely on others to be the change we want to see, which will never work as each of us should be playing our part.
The other challenge is that many people think that corporate volunteering initiatives should be free of charge. They want to do good, which is a great thing, and they’re already giving away their time – why should they have to give their money away too? We wrote an article to answer this point – https://companiesforgood.ae/the-good-blog/why-should-i-pay.”
Advice to the budding entrepreneurs
“It’s a cliché, but ensuring your idea solves a real problem is a key to success. I cannot stress that enough. I talk to many people that want to begin their venture with an idea they love, but they aren’t sure if others will find useful. You can build the best product ever, but it will be worthless if people aren’t willing to pay for it. Joining forces with the right people to form a strong team is also very important. And finally, and most importantly, you’d better feel passion for what you’re trying to set up. It will be a tough and bumpy journey. Unless you’re fully committed to making it work, you won’t.”