Sustainability isn’t just good business – it’s a huge recruitment tool, these execs say

Insider's Karen Ho interviews Mark Frohnmayer, founder and president of electric-vehicles maker Arcimoto (c) and Are Traasdahl, CEO at Crisp, a food-supply analytics software platform, during an Insider virtual event on June 29, 2021
Insider’s Karen Ho interviews Mark Frohnmayer, founder and president of electric-vehicles maker Arcimoto (c) and Are Traasdahl, CEO at Crisp, a food-supply analytics software platform.

  • Corporations want to be more sustainable, and the pandemic has shown we need to all work together.
  • Competing with tech giants for talent can be hard, but working for a sustainable business is a draw.
  • This was part of Insider’s virtual event “What’s next: CEOs on How Talent Drives Transformation” presented by ProEdge, a PwC Product, on Tuesday.
  • Click here to watch a recording of the full event.

Mark Frohnmayer, founder and president of electric-vehicles maker Arcimoto, believes that the biggest misconception related to sustainability is that people can’t change.

“The other misperception is that we can take our time,” he said during Insider’s recent virtual event “What’s next: CEOs on How Talent Drives Transformation” presented by ProEdge, a PwC Product, which took place June 29.

The panel, titled “Accelerating the green transformation to drive growth and sustainability,” was moderated by Karen Ho, senior reporter for the business of sustainability at Insider, and featured Frohnmayer and Are Traasdahl, CEO at Crisp, a food-supply analytics software platform.

Both speakers agreed that the pandemic has shown how people can come together to tackle a global problem. For Traasdahl, whose company is using data to stop food waste, corporate sustainability is the art of the possible.

“Most people believe that large, small, medium-sized companies do not want to share the data because there can be some competitive information, pricing information,” he said. “They want to share – there just haven’t been any tools in place to share this data.”

Traasdahl is trying to solve the “huge paradox” of a world where 750 million to two billion people live with moderate to severe food insecurity, while nearly one-third of all food produced goes to waste.

“The pandemic forced everybody in this industry to actually start breaking open supply chains that they haven’t touched in 30 years and understanding how they can be much more proactive,” he said.

Frohnmayer said the disruption to supply chains affected Arcimoto’s manufacturing, but he believes the benefits of everyone traveling less during lockdowns are a long-term positive.

“Many areas in the world saw clean skies for the first time in some people’s lives during the beginning of the pandemic as industries shuttered operations,” he said. “What we’re building really is at the confluence of autonomy, lightweight electric platforms, shared mobility, and that’s a really key piece of driving a solution to carbon emissions.”

Competing with giants such as Facebook and Amazon for talent presents its challenges, but working for a sustainable business can be a strong recruiting tool.

“Everybody who joins Crisp feels like they have a connection to the mission that we have as a company,” Traasdahl said. He pointed to an internal survey which showed that 46% of employees have an “idealistic focus” in terms of their career, some three times the market average.

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