Building Zopeful Climate for the Long Term

Building new things is hard. Building new things that put purpose first is hard. Building new things that need to be designed to live a long time is hard.

And necessary. Particularly in climate and all its adjacencies (pretty much everything).

When we set out starting Zopeful it was about how do we bring more people along through making all the amazing science into something that inspires action and understanding. Something that builds people up from where they are now in how they feel about the climate crisis to where they can connect the dots and see how they - in whatever way - can contribute to being part of the answer. That we can absolutely do this, and that the outcomes of achieving it will be better than what we have now.

Cleaner, greener, stronger. That the opportunity to reimagine and rebuild a world weened off planet-heating fossil fuels is not only needed, but also deeply desirable.

Our feeling that all this is true has only grown.

What has become ever clearer over the last 3 years of building in this space is that building for the long term, with resilience and stability in mind, is essential to create lasting impact and influence on a topic as complex as climate change and humanity's response to the mess we collectively made.

At every stage of Zopeful's evolution so far, how best to build something that lasts the duration has been front and center.

This has been a bit of a departure from the startup and scale-up approach of "go big as fast as you, and hope for the best" in our backgrounds. With climate, the stakes are too high to misallocate too much capital, to burn too hard without a higher level of confidence that we can weather any storms that come our way.

This is a super quick post about why we think, for many organizations of different types, that building with a long term mindset is essential for those working on tackling human-caused climate change. (note: this is not a subtext critique of those sectors that need to burn hard to become relevant and reach a critical mass to become viable - when done well their goal is also long term).

Environmental and Behavioral Impact

Long-lasting companies can develop and implement sustainable solutions that address climate change more effectively over time, and as behavior change evolves - through knowledge and transparency - what good looks like. The pressure isn't on having every experiment or new product to be instantly mega-successful (by whatever measure you choose).

It's to try, iterate, move forward. To keep going and growing.

And this is very similar to how we chip away at solving the amount of greenhouse gases humans pump out every year. It's the same drive and motivation, the same resilience.

Being in the game for longer allows for continuous innovation and research, deeper understanding of the complexity, leading to better ideas, technologies and practices for reducing or removing carbon and finding ways to encourage adoption across our societies.

This is what it is going to take to make this transition.

Doesn't reinventing everything with what we know now sound incredibly exciting and inspiring? That's what tackling climate change means. It's a helluva an opportunity that's century defining, with real world stakes and consequences if we fail. 

Social Responsibility

A long-term presence enables deeper engagement with communities, better connections with partners and customers. Deeper and more thoughtful building of environmental awareness and sustainable practices.

Education and advocacy take time. That patience and persistence is part of the responsibility we owe both ourselves, everything else that lives here and everything that comes after us. Becoming a voice in climate change education and advocacy, influencing public policy and societal norms isn't something that happens easily. But it is happening. We can see and feel it.

That's why it's worth the steadfast effort. The work is a reward in and of itself, and how many industries can truthfully say that?

Resilience and Adaptation

A long-lasting company can better withstand economic, social and environmental fluctuations, ensuring continued progress toward climate goals over a timeframe that makes sense for the size and complexity of the problem we're trying to fix. This isn't a 3, 5 or 10 year sprint, it's a quarter century marathon.

Over time, of course things will change. Building for the long term means adapting strategies to changing situations, markets, sentiments and emerging scientific understanding. It requires the ability to reinvent, renew and refresh itself to remain relevant and continue the greater mission + vision.

With a long-term outlook, we can continually refine and improve practices, technologies, and impact and sustained action. 

Legacy and Systemic Change

This is not a quick fix. We are all unwinding centuries of the way things have been done. Sometimes they evolve and somethings will need to be totally replaced.

Tackling climate change is a long term transition - one we can absolutely achieve. Some climate change projects require long-term commitments (e.g., decarbonizing every sector, reforestation, renewable energy infrastructure, building a carbon removal industry) that only enduring organizations with the long view can sustain that rollercoaster over time.

Moral and Ethical Imperative

Climate change is a pressing moral issue, and building an organization with longevity demonstrates a commitment to ethical stewardship of the planet. As we said at the beginning, putting purpose first isn't always easy, so you kind of need to find alternatives to the traditional ways things have been done. The imperative of solving climate change drives so much interesting thought on new models and ways to do things. Having everything on the table to try new things is an innovation and imagination turbo boost. 

Collaboration and Partnerships

Longevity allows for building lasting partnerships with other organizations, governments, and communities worldwide, amplifying impact. Tackling climate change requires global collaboration on a scale and complexity unlike anything humans have done, so far.

And it's clear to us that this is how we collectively build both a path out of this escalating crisis and a new normal. It's not always easy, but it is necessary and effective over time.

Zopeful is 3 Years Old Already

Zopeful was originally an effort to reframe the narrative about tackling climate change being hard or not worth the investment or too late. After we researched further, it became clear that nothing could be further from the truth. But we weren’t happy with how this was being presented at large.

Instead of taking agency away from folks with fear-laden narratives, we wanted to empower them to act with confidence and knowledge that what any and all of us do matters. Big or small, every tonne counts. That's true whether it's a big business, small company or an individual finding science-backed ways to contribute to being part of the solution. And the outcomes of achieving this grand transition are highly desirable for all. We believe this because it's true.

We've come so far in only 3 years, imagine what we can do in 30.

Our mission is to translate the incredible science into more action, from more places globally. Our goal is to find the most purposeful, resilient, adaptable, long view way to build a thing that lasts and has outsized impact in the midst of a crisis. These are the grand questions we're aiming to find answers to.

On our travels we’ve been fortunate enough to find an awesome group of humans, contributors, partners and collaborators who want to help us continue to expand our ambition for outsized positive impact that Zopeful has at its core. So that’s what we’re doing, unphased by the size of the challenge. In fact, using the enormity as motivation.

Everyone is welcome as we figure it out. Will you join us? 

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