Back to Roots Honors 'Godfather’ of Social Business Movement'
Nikhil Arora will speak at fall conference about SVN impact
Monday October 22, 2012 -- Kristian Partington
Nikhil Arora was an infant when the Social Venture Network (SVN) convened for the first time as a group of social entrepreneurs building a new business paradigm. This year, he will speak to the legacy built by those early pioneers during the annual SVN fall conference — the final mark of the organization’s silver anniversary.
With Alejandro Velez, Arora co-founded the urban mushroom business Back to the Roots while still in college, and Arora says it was in college that he first saw the impact SVN founders had on the world of business.
“I graduated about two and a half years ago,” Arora explains. “When we graduated social business and triple-bottom-line concepts just seemed so commonplace. I had classes on it; there are tons of groups out there doing it.
“It just seemed obvious, and to me that’s the biggest thing that blows my mind as I learn more about it — 25 years ago this was absolutely crazy, ridiculous talk in the business community.”
Today, Arora, Velez and their team are on target to divert and reuse 3.6 million pounds of coffee grounds through 2012 and their gourmet mushroom kits are sold in more than 300 Whole Foods store across the United States.
Their green business is booming and much of the credit for making it possible to venture into social business with confidence rests with SVN and the early pioneers who weren’t distracted by the constraints of a profit-at-all-cost mentality.
“SVN is like the 'Godfather' of this movement,” Arora says. “They showed that you can do business a better way.”
But it’s not just the business world that gets it, he adds. A shift in public consciousness now demands that business consider its impact on people and the planet.
“There’s so much more transparency and communication now, so I think that companies are being forced to get their act together because customers are so much more knowledgeable.”
The media and the public demand for information forces companies and organizations to be honest about the impact they have on the world around them, Arora adds.
These factors converge to make it an ideal time for the social business movement to carry forward, and Arora's part to play at the upcoming SVN fall conference is to pay tribute to the leaders who made it all possible.
For more information on the fall conference visit www.svn.org/attend-an-event/2012-fall-conference.
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