Updated: May 4
About ThisRock ESG
ThisRock is on a mission to show 1,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and their 10,000 employees over the next 3 years SIMPLE ways they can positively impact their profitability while becoming more sustainable to this rock (Earth). Hence our mission, not to Mars, but on Earth.
We advise businesses and their employees to start 1-2 sustainable and green initiatives. These create impact. The best part: we get to educate a good chunk of people on climate and easy, individual actions they can take.
About Lindsay Hampson
I am a sustainability advisor and the founder of ThisRock. In addition to caring deeply about helping people get green initiatives off the ground, I also have a certificate in Sustainability Leadership; an MBA in Digital Transformation; 15+ years in partnerships, marketing and executive management at various tech companies in B2B and SaaS. Basically, I'm a business-minded tree hugger.
Let's take off!
Mark: Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to create ThisRock after working with some pretty impressive companies like IBM, SAP, eBridge Connections and Jitterbit.
Lindsay: Thank you for “having me” on INSIGHTS. I’ll keep it interesting! I am Lindsay Hampson, and I live just outside of Toronto, Canada. Yes - I’ve always been in marketing/partnerships at technology companies. After being on the executive team at eBridge Connections and successfully getting acquired by Jitterbit in 2021, I celebrated by starting an MBA. This is where I discovered that I am in fact a business-minded treehugger.
ThisRock was born out of MBA coursework. I had to create and defend a new business. I wrote a final paper called “ThisRock Advisory” for Entrepreneurship class, submitted it, and then immediately bought the domain and created the logo, etc. Ever since then I have been outreaching and identifying problems associated with actually doing ESG today. There is no substitute to rolling up your sleeves and helping real business owners.
Mark: At what point should businesses need to begin thinking about addressing ESG or be better with their sustainability profile?
Lindsay: Straight away is the truth. Even if your business has 2 employees. Sustainability strategies impact your profitability in a positive way. Being a socially and environmentally conscious business is not a trend that is going away. All businesses should do it for 3 reasons:
Mitigate risk (in their supply chain, reputational risk, new regulations or policies, etc.)
Lean into opportunities (with new products, new customers, new employees, etc.)
Feel good (knowing that your business is making positive change for future generations)
Mark: Is there resistance to making changes because of cost or time away from their focus of actually running their company?
Lindsay: Both. ESG seems complex and costly. It’s a black box to most people. “What do I need to do? What does it cost? Will someone call me out as a greenwasher?” Those are the biggest concerns I see first hand. People say it's “nice to have,” you know? I honestly think some business owners want to just bury their head in the sand and wait for sustainability to be over.
But, the surviving businesses of tomorrow will be those that did more with less, considered climate risk, and took a stand for their people. Just look at GenZ and Millenials, who are now the majority of the workforce. Studies show they work for purpose and are not afraid to call out brands that are exploiting or ignoring vital issues.
Mark: Once you engage with a business to help them with their ESG initiatives, do you provide regular progress updates or is it up to them? Or is it like a "teach someone to fish" sort of thing?
Lindsay: That is the fun part of ThisRock. Our services are transparent and they get results - quickly. Because we work with a lot of small and medium-sized businesses, the assessment, strategy, initiatives and communications are in concert with our client. We fish and teach them to fish at the same time. We are really proud of our affordability and “no B.S.” approach to ESG consulting. Real businesses want action, a plan and support along the way. That is where ThisRock excels and is different.
Increasing revenue on a P&L by 9% with a new sustainable product or service, can make a noticeable impact. Overall profits are positively impacted when rolling out sustainable initiatives.
Mark: Are there any incentives or mandates from the Canadian govt, etc. that will point businesses to you and your solutions?
Lindsay: Regulators, like the Canadian Securities Administrators, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and European Commission, have developed or are working on mandatory ESG reporting requirements, mandates and disclosures. They are in flux right now, but it certainly looks like SASB/ISSB, GRI, and TCFD frameworks are here to stay and will roll-out to business in certain sectors and/or over a set employee mark. Other stakeholders are also companies to provide this information in certain industries. Most companies are unprepared.
There are incentives for businesses to be “green” or socially-conscious in Canada, similar to the USA. Hiring workers from underrepresented populations, switching out older HVAC systems for energy efficient projects, or adopting solar energy all can grant you funds from the government.
Mark: What can you say to critics of ESG that claim ESG is more of a "nice to have" but isn't measurable, or when it is, it doesn't affect real bottom line performance? (Or, critics in general)
Lindsay: Ah, it fires me up in a great, great way! I am a big Microsoft Excel nerd. I bust out a new spreadsheet, and start speaking to them in a language that they understand - money. For example, increasing revenue on a P&L by 9% with a new sustainable product or service, can make a noticeable impact. Reducing expenses, by doing more with less, switching to a more efficient supplier, retaining happy and inspired employees (from reduced attrition) and even increased work productivity. Overall profits are positively impacted when rolling out sustainable initiatives. Plus, risk is reduced. Numbers are proof. Excel can do magical things to critics.
Mark: How do you get urgency across to companies without it becoming a political topic? (maybe it isn't as political in Canada?)
Lindsay: Oh, this is a GREAT question. Climate change is emotional. It doesn't matter where you sit. It angers people. It numbs people. People think of Elon Musk and his plan to inhabit Mars. And, yes, it is very political. The pandemic was tangible, so action was easier to encourage. Seeing the impacts of climate change in our everyday lives now - for example Yellowstone closing for a time last summer, flooding, draughts in Texas, rain bombs, most intense forest fires on the West Coast - they are tangible and a catalyst for change. And they should be. Getting the message across to businesses is delicate but most powerful when I cut to the “wins” quickly.
Mark: What books would you recommend for engaging and educating the general public about why sustainability is important?
Lindsay: Speed & Scale was a terrific read. It is by John Doerr, who just donated $1.1 billion to create a school at Stanford University focused on climate and sustainability.
Hope Matters was also a favourite. Elin Kelsey gives the topic justice, and presents it through a lens of optimism.
Mark: If you had to choose to put all your focus on one thing, what do you see as the ONE most important environmental issue facing the planet today?
Lindsay: Our habits in the west are not sustainable. We buy and buy and buy, and consume and consume and consume. If we could teach our youth that beyond our essential needs, wants are not important. That would be a huge environmental win. Our planet has a finite amount of resources. And now there are 8 Billion humans. We need to lean into repairing things, reusing things, and repurposing things: the circular economy. We need to “make do.” We need to stop equating our personal worth to the things we have. It is a battle, but one we need to win.
Mark: As a brand designer, I have to ask the details behind your logo. I mean, I get it, but what was that brainstorming session like?
Lindsay: Ha - I do love it. It was 1am after I handed in my Entrepreneurship assignment, and I couldn't stop saying to myself, “While some people plan to retire on Mars, we’re betting on this rock.” The logo was born from a bit of anger for these wealthy people doing nothing to help Earth, and would be gone in an instant at the first sign of planet catastrophe. I was filled with a lot of passion. I needed it to be a BIG ZOOM OUT of the issue at hand - our planet. And, I wanted to visually show that we - a large majority of us - are staying put here. I used Canva, and found the spaceman, and the moon, and worked to get him to relax on it. I love it dearly and it motivates me everyday.
Visit ThisRock ESG to check your sustainability pulse or, if you want to boldly know more about how they can launch sustainability for your business, reach out here. They work with businesses and organizations all over this planet.