2020 was the year of virtual networking and acquaintances. Sonia and I met through the Impact Hub global community, soon after an online event we instantly discovered that we had a lot in common having lived in several countries and sharing the same passion for sustainability in the SME sector.
It came naturally that we joined forces and supported each others work ever since. Sonia’s expertise in CSR, sustainability, and product development of over 10 years led to the launch of her consultancy, primarily focusing on companies designing products for children and adolescents. As part of this augural moment, I asked Sonia to tell us more about her pivotal moments in her career and the new venture she just launched.
Sonia, please tell us about the services your offer and who should turn to you for sustainability advice?
I support brands identifying their social and environmental impact and developing a strategy that simultaneously delivers value to society and enhances the brand’s appeal.
I specialise in niche brands that design products for children and teenagers, as my experience in the family industry provides me with a deep understanding of their needs and challenges.
My services include benchmarking, materiality assessment, sustainability plan development, and communication strategy. I tailor my services to my customer’s needs, and I work in collaboration with specialists in different areas, such as circular economy, sustainable procurement, carbon footprint, eco-design, and other relevant fields. I can support my customers in English, Spanish and French.
I meet companies wherever they are at their sustainability journey, and my goal is to make the effort worth both for the world and the brand.
It is clear that your approach is very human-centric, and you genuinely care about introducing sustainability into companies. At what point did you decide to dedicate your life to a better and fairer world? What pivotal moments have shaped your career?
Since I was a child, I cared about the environment, human rights, and fairness. Yes, I was this romantic little girl knowing the list of the most endangered species and struggling to understand why adults didn’t sit and put an end to hunger in the world once for all.
This interest met my professional career after some years of experience in the children’s industry, where I led the development of products designed in Europe and manufactured in Asia. As every product manager, I focused on a fantastic design, the best price, and excellent quality. I loved this job. Nevertheless, at the back of my mind, I wondered the real impact of my decisions in labour conditions and the environment. But that wasn’t the priority back there.
I also love niche, exquisite, authentic brands that pour their soul into what they do. For me, it’s much more about the love and enthusiasm behind a product than the item itself. About 10 years ago, my professional experience and personal interests came together. I felt strongly that ethical business practices and social commitment could transform nice items into awesome products to be proud of selling and buying.
So, I committed to my mission today: supporting nice brands to become remarkable and memorable brands. Awesome for themselves and awesome for the world.
I rolled my sleeves, trained as a sustainability professional, and since there, I’ve been helping businesses develop social projects and helping social projects become businesses. I also wrote a couple of guides about sustainability, published by relevant social and business organisations and, for years, I blogged about Corporate Social Responsibility for SMEs at my own blog and other media. It has been the most rewarding journey!
What is your vision for the future?
I want to contribute to a fair society where humankind and nature co-exist and thrive, and where diversity is a treasure and not a problem.
As cheesy and straightforward as that. And, I don’t want it in the future; I want it now!
Sustainability is a vast field of different disciplines hence the idea to create Collective Futures, do you think this kind of collectivism can help with your purpose?
I’m passionate about the power of bringing together an array of diverse minds, experiences and skills.
That’s the reason why I’m part of Collective Futures, and I collaborate with The Impact Circle, an exciting initiative connecting outstanding impactpreneurs, to help them thrive and maximise their impact.
Sustainability is a compendium of dozens of different fields: climate change, circular economy, eco-design, human rights, diversity, inclusion, biodiversity… Technology, trends and practices in all these areas evolve and change by the day. No single person or company can gather all this expertise for all the industries. Independent consultants need to grow from “competition” to “collaboration” to support brands effectively.
Thank you Sonia for sharing your story and amazing work that contributes to a more sustainable planet and fairer society. We are honoured to be part of your new chapter and be among the first ones to recommend your services to anyone working in the sector of family products and services. You can get in touch with Sonia through our Collective Futures page and at her website.
If you are an impact entrepreneur and interested to join a support network of likeminded changemakers visit the Impact Circle.