Joe Oliver, co-director of social enterprise “We Impact,” is on a mission to “develop and promote opportunities to realize sustainable lifestyles around the world through the dissemination of knowledge, cultural engagement and responsible business.” Operating out of Beijing and London, the social enterprise provides innovative green solutions to make a real impact on the ground.
In some ways, “We Impact” correlates with the concept of most environmental organizations around the world. However, Oliver believes that volunteering in environmental organizations is not the only way to support the environment. With an increasing environmental consciousness in China and changing government policies, Chinese businesses are getting motivated to “go green.”
This is the point where the We Impact team offers help to businesses. Oliver says: “I am not here to tell people how I think. I am here to show what is to be done. And also help people to facilitate their means to create their own stuff. At a certain level, people know what’s right for them. Also in terms of traditional culture, it is embedded in there.”
Oliver has earned numerous recognitions for his work as a social entrepreneur. He has appeared on the BBC and CNN as well as featured in leading publications. He has also won a number of industry awards for his work with several top brands. He was chosen in 2008 as a “London Leader,” a position awarded by the Mayor of London to people who have demonstrated excellence in the public arena.
About his efforts in China, Oliver says: “We worked out how to change people’s perspectives on environmental issues through good communication and ways to approach the challenges we will face.” He eventually identified a number of Chinese people who were keen about social enterprise and sustainability issues. At present he is busy trying to equip these people with the necessary tools to achieve more as social entrepreneurs in their respective fields.
Oliver says that the green social enterprise model must be developed by the Chinese people themselves. He says: “Some people call it the localization process. It is really about parenting people to understand what the content of their life is within the global situation.”