Philosophy of buy2Give1
Founder Masami Sato of Buy2 Give1 explains how simple charitable deeds can impact the lives of the needy.
WHEN Masami Sato set up Bouncing Olives, a Brisbane-based frozen organic food manufacturing company, she often wondered about ways to help the underprivileged.
To kickstart her mission, she used to issue cheques (from profits earned from her business) to various charitable organisations. As her business flourished, Sato, originally from Tokyo, and business partner David Anttony, conceptualised a simple but effective method by giving part of their profits back to charity.
“As a food company, the greater cause was providing nutrition to people who didn’t have access to food. My partner and I put aside profits earned from every frozen food item sold towards feeding the hungry. It dawned upon us how the concept could be applied to business models worldwide.
“For example, for every book sold, publishers could work towards helping the underprivileged obtain free books or replant trees. Alternatively, for every bottle of mineral water purchased, companies could help people have access to clean water or work towards recycling plastic bottles.
“It’s amazing how simple char- itable deeds can impact the lives of the needy,” said Sato during an interview in Kuala Lumpur recently.
Fuelled by passion, she sold her four-year-old food business in 2007 and took the drastic step of relocating to Singapore to launch Buy1Give1 (B1G1), a global initiative that operates to help connect businesses with worthy causes via the website B1G1.com.
Founded by Sato, Anttony and Paul Dunn, B1G1’s website works like this – when a subscriber (individuals/organisations) “buys” a B1G1 business partner’s product or service (a charitable organisation registered under B1G1.com), a certain percentage of funds/profits (from a subscriber) is channelled towards helping the underprivileged.
Subscribers can choose to donate through business transactions or based on impact (for example, how many children you want to help educate).
Today, Sato has clients from 14 different countries. Over 600 projects from 28 countries are now listed on B1G1. The organisation also has over 250 businesses around the world supporting what it does as small and medium enterprises (SME) business members or partners.
All of the contributions made by B1G1 businesses are passed directly to the worthy cause organisations. B1G1 takes nothing from the contributions, neither does it receive funds from charities in any way for services provided.
“We connect business around the world regardlessof their size. There are over 600 projects listed so organisations can browse through our website for projects to support. A few cents donated can make a big impact in underdeveloped countries,” Sato explained.
She said that B1G1’s sole mission was to create an impact on society, and not about the monetary funds received by companies.
“Companies get to keep track of the accumulating impact like the number of meals given to feed hungry children, trees planted or children you have helped to educate.
“The real joy is in creating a ‘giving culture’ within our community, companies and personal life,” said Sato, who studied architecture and life science at private university Maebashi Kyoei Gaguen College in Gunma Prefecture, Japan.
Although the organisation currently has subscribers worldwide, Sato admitted going through a series of hurdles when she first started the company. Some people couldn’t understand B1G1’s concept while others questioned its validity.
“Some questioned if it was possible to give a free TV if you were selling one. However, the concept works if you’re selling a TV, and you’re contributing part of your profits at the same time to help give a gift of vision by giving a cataract operation to a blind person,” she said.
Sato explained that B1G1’s target audience were basically small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which lacked knowledge in channelling profits for charity.
“Large organisations usually have their own Corporate Social Responsibility department which organises business activities. To help SME business organisations, we provide services by offering ways to give back to the needy.
“At B1G1, our objectives revolve around creating a caring society. Giving is not something that is required for businesses, especially for SMEs right now. But once a business starts integrating these little yet impactful giving activities, the company’s culture will eventually surely be transformed,” said Sato, 36, who has authored two books: Joy: The Gift Of Acceptance, Trust And Love
and One – Sharing The Joy Of Giving.
She first learnt the importance of serving the community when she was a young through her neighbour, an elderly woman named Chie Inaba. Through her, Sato learnt about farming, natural cooking and living with simple means.
“Chie loved spending her time giving and caring for everyone. She didn’t need to be acknowledged for her giving at all. Her joy was in giving itself. I learned so much during the time I lived a very simple life growing vegetables and living close to nature,” explained the mother of two.
She will be one of the speakers at the upcoming The Gathering Of Great Minds – Series 3 which will be held at the Securities Commission in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 26.
Sato’s topic encompasses three aspects – letting go of judgement, exploring different perspectives and creating fabulous flow.
“My topic will be on how personal changes can create a massive global difference and how much more resourceful we can all become when integrating these simple ideas.”
The conference comprises a series of talks designed to share strategies ranging from leadership to love, and applying them into your personal life. Series 1 and 2 took place last August and September, respectively.
Series 3, themed Strategies For Today, will be featuring Revolutionising Industries (by Sato); Mad Men: Getting Used To Equality For Women (by women’s rights activitist Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir); Do It For Unity (Zubedy (M) Sdn Bhd’s founder Anas Zubedy); Leadership In The 21st Century ( Leaderonomics chief executive officer Roshan Thiran); Participating In Transformation (motivational speaker Dhyan Vimal) and What’s Your Love Strategy? (physician/clown Dr Patch Adams). n Passes to the The Gathering of Great-Minds–Series3 are priced at RM698. To register, log on to thegatheringofgreatminds.com or liveandinspire.com. For details, call % 03-796 35101, 1-700-801-101 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Altruistic: ‘B1G1 is a global initiative that helps connect businesses with worthy causes through the simple yet powerful online ‘Giving Engine’,’ says B1G1 co-founder Masami Sato.