Younger Leaders Are Saving The Planet (And Us) As They Profit

Originally published at Forbes.com.

Leader: Renee Pindus is an entrepreneur and co-founder of Arrive Well, a company that provides ‘clean’ and sustainable travel goods and accessories. She is also a reader, writer, macaroni & cheese aficionado, and cat-lover. 

Leadership lesson: Persistence is key. Building a business takes an extraordinary amount of work, and it most definitely doesn’t come easy. 

Life lesson: Always surround yourself with people you admire, and always know that you have something to learn from everyone. 

Leadership model: Sophia Amoruso of Girlboss. She has built an empire through empowering women.

Leadership motto: “Everyone fails, but not enough people talk about. It’s important to remember to keep trying, remain resilient, and to believe in yourself.” 

Over the last year, I have found hope for our future through meeting with people in their twenties who are following their passions and making the world better. In September, my colleagues and I traveled to the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management at the University of Denver to work with their seniors on clarifying career visions and plans for the future. We were impressed to see how many of the students integrated sustainability and doing good into their personal paths to success.

Compassionate leaders of all ages and the coming of age of younger more conscious consumers are having a positive impact on how businesses are run and how products are made. A report released by Deloitte in 2018 called The Rise of Social Enterprise, found that: 

  • Companies with purpose & corporate social responsibility outperform S&P 500 peers by 8X 
  • 88% of millennials look for employers with corporate social responsibility values

While many of these millennials and Gen Zers are choosing employers and products more consciously, some are launching ventures that leverage these trends. I recently met up with one of these entrepreneurs, Renee Pindus, a co-founder of Arrive Well to talk about her company that addresses the problem of how to travel with natural products while minimizing the impact on the planet. Renee knows that travel can be detrimental to the environment and as an example, told me that 40% of the plastic waste in the Mediterranean Sea is a byproduct of tourism (WWF 2018). 

According to Renee, we have three options when packing toiletries: 1) use the complimentary products provided by the hotel, 2) scramble to find travel sizes of your favorite products from your local pharmacy or another retailer or, 3) use refillable containers, that can be messy and a pain to remember. All three of these options can be a hassle, and almost always, unsustainable. Arrive Well has solved this problem by providing road warriors and wanderlusters TSA-approved, carefully-curated travel goods and accessories that were designed consciously and with minimal ingredients.

A sampling of Arrive Well products
A sampling of Arrive Well productsMOLLY LEON STUDIOS

Arrive Well’s goal is to disrupt the way people pack by doing the leg-work for its consumers. Any product they offer has to fall into one or more of these categories: 

1) manufactured with the intention of creating a better planet 

2) is cruelty-free 

3) is produced by a socially responsible company

4) created under ethical + fair labor practices 

5) is environmentally sustainable

Renee says that her co-founder, Erin Michaela, was a consultant before they founded Arrive Well. Erin had to travel for work weekly, and was tired of the low quality and wasteful hotel products, and continually forgetting to pack refillable containers. She went to Renee with her idea of a one-stop-shop for products that were good for you and good for the earth, and together, they made it a reality.

Currently, Arrive Well is seeking funding to grow its impact on distributing products that support people, animals and the planet. Renee supports other forward-thinking companies that are aligned with her mission.  She recommends Reformation a clothing company, whose slogan is “Being Naked is the #1 Most Sustainable Option. Reformation is #2”.  And Who Gives A Crap, a company that sells toilet paper, tissues, and paper towels that are completely tree-free, uses no plastic in their packaging and donates 50% of their proceeds to building toilets in areas in need.

Renee and her contemporaries are examples of how compassionate leadership can be practiced at any age. Thanks for being thoughtful, sustainable and giving us all new found hope.