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Find Work That Matters: Sustainability-Focused Companies Want Your Talents with Hannah Phang (Episode #147)

Doing work that matters—work that really lights you up—can impact your health and longevity so much that the goal of creating that kind of working-life is fast becoming a central theme in the new world of work. People seek work that matters, but for the longest time there hasn’t been a place dedicated to helping people find that work. To solve this problem, Hannah Phang co-founded The Now Work, a platform that connects people who have world-changing skills and aspirations with world-changing work and companies who are just waiting for the right talent to come along.

Episode Highlights

About Our Guest:

Imagine a world where almost every successful business is a force for good in the world, in some way, large or small. Well, that future is coming. 

Now imagine a system that works to connect us easily to projects and work that uses our unique gifts… and every day of our working lives, we know we’ve done something that really matters. Well, that future is already here!

The Now Work is on the case.

The Now Work is compiling access to opportunities to change the world and reduce the friction associated with finding freelance talent for vital sustainability projects within organizations of all kinds. 

If you’re looking for work in sustainability and having trouble finding it, this jobs board is exactly what you’ve been waiting for. 

Our guest, Hannah Phang, is a co-founder (with Laura Hunter) of this amazing, socially conscious business, now perfectly positioned to boost the progress of urgent work that needs to get done, right now, related to sustainability and climate change. 

Their story is an important one from this wave of “see it and solve it” generation of social innovators, so we are delighted to share it and hope that it will inspire your own journey. 

Laura and Hannah were two people whose life experiences had taught them there must be a better approach to work in sustainability. They themselves had experienced the challenges of finding freelancers, and of securing freelance work firsthand. And one thing was clear to them: People—their energy, resolve and ingenuity—are one of our greatest hopes to reach a low-carbon, socially-just future. 

With all that in mind, they looked at our current models for employment and realized that we are relying too much on personal networks to find work. This keeps opportunities locked within a small group; limits divergent, creative thinking; and reduces the impact that could come from bringing a more expansive talent pool to the enormous tasks ahead of us all with regard to sustainability.

With the current model, both organizations and individuals are stuck scouring the internet, standard jobs boards, and LinkedIn for a good fit, which can waste precious time that could be better spent delivering positive change.

Hannah and Laura knew there was a better way, and they decided to build it.

Now, they are making it possible for companies of all shapes and sizes to find expertise from their 500+ talent network in fields from every corner of the world of work: everything from creatives, researchers, advisory roles, and copy-writing to engineering, agriculture, energy, and government policy.

Here’s just a sampling of the talents and fields they provide connections to: Beauty and personal Care, built environment, culture, energy, fashion, financial services, food, government, health & wellbeing, NGO/charity, pharmaceutical, philanthropy, retail, sport, and tech.

The Now Work creates the framework for those connections between people and organizations that need their help, in whatever niche. The ripple effects of all this connection around progress go out across the scope of time. 

The bottom line is this: most of us instinctively realize that the feeling of doing work that really matters can be a vital buffer against the challenges we all face at various stages of life, and perhaps that’s why a tired (and perhaps, overused) term like “work/life balance” just won’t fade away from our radars. 

And if you combine that yearning for purpose and meaning with the enormous search for talent that most companies and nonprofits are experiencing right now, then common sense tells us there ought to be a way to connect the two!

In this conversation, we talk all about the world of work that matters, and Hannah helps us envision how much power we actually have as consumers to express our desire or demand for change simply by the companies from whom we choose to buy. 

She shows us how we can insist that they enable us, their customers, to live fully sustainable lives as well.

We learn how to harness the power of a quote from Hannah for ourselves. She says about her personal life strategy, “I’m here to live a beautiful life on an abundant magical planet.”

She also gives us some tips for quick wins in expanding what we think is possible (think “decolonizing your bookshelf,”) then offers us a terrific way of “starting fresh” with an all positive approach to the new Meta platform, Threads. 

This interview has delightfully personal and professional insight for all of us due to Hannah’s great range of work. She has worked with both start-ups and global corporations including Tommy Hilfiger, Google, Capital One, and Pfizer.

Her experience as Head of Marketing and Advocacy for Futerra, and on the Steering Committee of the UN Fashion Charter for Climate Action combine to give her wonderful insights about the big picture as well as a fresh personal picture of our own possibilities. 

The Goodness Exchange is delighted to share this story and the insights Hannah can bring to all our working lives. 

And if you know someone who is looking for work that matters in the scope of sustainability and climate action, make sure to send this their way!

Show Notes

00:00 Intro & Welcome

03:53 The Now Work

  • Hannah & her co-founder Laura have backgrounds as sustainability consultants.
  • The Now Work is a hub for sustainability professionals and companies that need sustainability support.
  • The world of work has shifted and more sustainability professionals are freelancing.
  • Many corporations have very small teams working on sustainability.
  • The Now Work allows corporations to access more sustainability professionals that can help guide their processes.

14:25 Corporate Sustainability

  • Sustainability has to be driven from the top down.
  • Andrew Winston, co-author of the book, Net Positive,  appeared on Episode 122 of the Conspiracy of Goodness Podcast and spoke about the importance of sustainability in business.
  • Most big corporations are well on their way when it comes to sustainability.
  • Companies have their strategies in place and we are now in the era of doing.
  • A brand called Faith in Nature has appointed “Nature” to their board. So “Nature” now has a vote on all their decisions.

19:32 Activists by Brand Choice

  • 64% of Millennials and Gen Z say that they are activists by brand choice.
  • 88% of consumers want brands to help them live more sustainably.
  • 43% of consumers feel that brands are making it harder for them to live sustainably.

20:46 Break

23:33 Price and Value

  • The consumer no longer just looks at price as the measure of value.
  • Businesses still look at employees as a unit of input from which they extract value.
  • We can design our lives and our work around long term sustainability.

28:30 How Do We Know Who to Trust? 

  • Third parties exist that can certify corporations for sustainability in different industries.
  • An example of a third party is Positive Luxury.
  • Positive Luxury is a certifier for the luxury fashion industry.
  • We have access to information about companies and we can find out more about the specific actions companies take on sustainability.
  • We can embrace the companies that honestly share their struggles with us. 

32:20 Green-Hushing 

  • A lot of regulation is coming into play to minimize greenwashing.
  • As legislation increases, businesses may become less transparent about their errors or struggles.
  • Brands will benefit from being more humble and honest about their sustainability efforts.
  • When brands make missteps, consumers can ask questions rather than point fingers so that everyone can learn from each other.

34:45 Consumer Trust

  • Consumers want to trust brands.
  • Consumers lack trust in what brands say they are doing.
  • Only 30% of adults in Europe trust brands when they say they will commit to climate change initiatives.
  • Transparency is a key way to build trust with consumers.
  • Customers trust brands more when they are honest and open even about their missteps.

35:46 Creating the Future We Want

  • We can use corporate communications to speak to a more abundant future.
  • Julia Parzyck appeared on The Conspiracy of Goodness Podcast Episode 25 and spoke about unfollowing people who made her feel ‘less than’ about her body image.
  • We can curate our experiences.
  • Hannah has decolonized her bookshelf by diversifying the authors she reads.
  • We can describe the future we want and decide how to bring everyone along with us.

44:23 The World can be our Teacher

48:24 What Do You Wish People Knew?

  • The systems, structures, narratives and cultural norms that we subscribe to were all designed, which means they can be redesigned.
  • We can design new ways of working that enable us to thrive rather than being perpetually burnt out.
  • We can unlock more creative solutions to the world’s biggest problems if we aren’t always burnt out.


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