For-Profit Activism: How Impact-Driven Companies Are Carrying Non-Profit Missions Forward

Vegan activists are moving from non-profits to for-profits. Is it a good thing?

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Many esteemed founders are moving their energy into for-profit companies that are mission oriented, and I myself have recently gone through this journey as well.

Grassroots Movements 

When I became vegan ten years ago, eating meat wasn’t considered unsustainable by the majority. It wasn’t even regarded as unhealthy, and the connection between eating meat and animal cruelty was not clear for most people. 

As an activist who wanted to make a change, there were few for-profit organizations to turn to for opportunities to drive change. Rather, grassroots non-profits with aims to raise awareness of the importance of decreasing meat consumption were the only choice.

Launching Nestlé’s Sensational Burger with Vegan Friendly.

That is why, very early on, I joined Vegan-Friendly as a founding board member.

For the last several years, I was a part of the non-profit plant based and vegan sector, seeing it as the only way to support the mission of creating a better world for farm animals and a cleaner, healthier world for all of us.

I felt great co-leading an animal rights protest in 2017, attracting 30,000 people to the streets of Tel-Aviv, seeing Israel becoming the top vegan-friendly country globally, and being able to create and see the impact of prime-time commercials promoting the reduction of meat consumption. It was difficult to envision a future in which the for-profit world and mission driven work could coalesce into a connected whole.

My wife and I at the animal rights protest I co-led, attracting 30,000 people.

However, things have changed.

The private industry, notably Venture Capital funds, have woken up to the fact that people are looking to change how they eat. They have begun investing and seeing amazing returns through supporting food technology companies aiming to produce plant-based alternatives. People have become more aware of the harmful consequences of eating meat, and scientists have become more interested in researching the topic. Leaders from the non-profit sector suddenly have the opportunity to raise significant capital and move quickly to develop solutions to help reduce meat consumption, satisfy growing consumer demand for change and alternatives, and make the world a greener, healthier place.

Non-profit activism VS for-profit activism

While, through raising donations, non-profits play an ever important role in grassroots change, consumer education, and pressure on governments, for-profit companies can create a supply of great plant-based alternatives; not only for those donating, but more importantly, for all the consumers who wish to show their commitment to a better world through their spending habits.

Both are crucial for decreasing meat consumption, but the for-profit can scale much faster –  turning the movement of protest into a movement of consumer change.

Talented for-profit founders in the foodtech industry.
L>R: Jasmin Ravid (Kinoko-Tech), Lucky me, Aviv Wolff (Remilk), Eschar Ben-Shitrit (Redefine Meat)

That’s so important because it provides activists greater access to funds to create a faster, longer-term, more powerful impact.

However, there is a negative impact. Many talented people who would otherwise have joined the non-profit sector are now looking to join “sexier” startups that can offer them options and higher salaries.

This poses a challenge to the animal-rights and green non-profits, who must compete to attract talent and find a way to collaborate with the mission-aligned startups to benefit from the changing zeitgeist of the world…

I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with other activists who have found their way to making a faster impact and I remain committed to supporting other non-profits and encouraging them to stay relevant and impactful.

By working together, with our aligned missions, we will continue to change the world for the better.

To a brighter tomorrow,

Ofek

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