Member Profile: Socially Responsible Shoe Company Founder, Peter Sacco
Our Net Impact community continues to drive impact for a more just and sustainable world and we like to highlight members on our blog who are leading the change. Peter Sacco is one of those members.
Peter is a second-year graduate student studying social entrepreneurship at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He is also the founder of Adelante Shoe Co., a new social enterprise making it effortless to choose a socially responsible pair of shoes without compromising on quality, style, or price.
Peter says that Adelante Shoe Co. is built on the idea that people have values, and will act on those values if given the chance.
What inspired you to create Adelante Shoe Co?
Two principle realizations spurred me to start Adelante. The first was that I only ever want to work on my own vision, and the second was that we can do economic development in developing countries much more effectively than we are.
I spent two years living in Central America between undergrad and grad school, and had about five jobs over the course of that time. It was frustrating because I knew I had passion and ambition, but I was never moved to commit fully to anything professional until I started Adelante.
Over the past few years I have gained a lot of exposure to different NGOs, government programs, and for-profit businesses attempting economic development in one form or another. My experience with NGOs exposed an unsustainable funding model and an inability to address the root of social problems perpetuated by bigger players — often for-profit businesses or government policies. Government development programs are often beholden to broader foreign policy objectives, which can result in less-than-pure intentions. The private sector is best positioned to do development effectively, but profit maximization is the name of the game. With Adelante, I want to prove that for-profit business can promote economic development in a powerful way without compromising profitability.
How do you think we can redefine business as a force for good?
We can redefine business as a force for good by: (1) proving that business can have powerful impact when conducted responsibly, and (2) proving that customer demand exists for socially responsible products that don’t compromise on quality, style or price.
What advice would you give to an aspiring social entrepreneur?
Begin with the end in mind — establish the goals you want to achieve and then map out the steps that will get you there. I would also encourage you to pursue your passion with tenacity. If you haven’t discovered it yet, seek it relentlessly. Working on your passion will galvanize you to work harder than ever before, which will give you the best possible chance to be great at what you do.
What advice would you give to someone who is passionate about making an impact, but is not sure where to start?
Becoming a more informed and conscious consumer is a great place to start. Nearly all of us make a ton of daily purchases without considering the ripple effects of the decisions we make. It’s important to research your favorite brands and demand more transparency and responsibility from their business models. At the end of the day, consumer social responsibility supersedes corporate social responsibility. The ability to shape market demand —i.e. decide where your money goes — is the ultimate lever to influence how businesses operate, for better or worse.
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