“It’s not a principle until it costs you money” - Bill Bernbach
This quote by one of the world's greatest Mad Men has become something of a mantra here at Citizen Wolf. No surprise really, considering both our cofounders worked at DDB, Mr. Bernbach's world-famous advertising agency.
What Bill's getting at is better known as "talk is cheap" and one thing that's been ingrained in our company DNA since Day 1 is that we’re committed to living our values and making sure our actions as a brand - and company - speak louder than words.
Like that time we 5x'd our carbon offsets as a direct response to the Australian bushfires. Or that time we matched dollar for dollar every Black Lives Matter donation made personally by our team members. Or like that time we switched our company bank accounts because it was the right thing to do...
Putting our money where our mouth is.
Coming from an advertising background, the irony isn't lost that it was a billboard that ultimately made us change banks. That billboard was from Bank Australia and featured artwork known as the climate stripes by scientist Ed Hawkins.
“Scientists love making very complex figures but we need to communicate far more clearly with the public. So the idea was to strip away all of the unnecessary detail and to simply leave a visual, which is unmistakable about what’s going on.” - Ed Hawkins
Hawkins cleverly used data visualisation to help normal people (aka everyone without a climate science PhD) more easily understand global warming by replacing numbers with colours.
Every ‘warming stripe’ represents a single year since 1850 whose colour is determined by the average global temperature that year - shades of blue represent years cooler than average and red are years that are warmer. What has been exceptionally clear for scientists is now clear to all - the planet has been dramatically warming in our lifetimes.
Out of sight, not out of mind.
“People forget that the money sitting in a savings account isn't just sitting there. The bank is investing it somewhere [on your behalf]” – Fiona Nixon, Bank Australia
This obviously spoke directly to our values here at Citizen Wolf and after reading into it further, we
swiftly slowly (and with a fair bit of pain) shifted our business banking to Bank Australia.
We know that as consumers our money holds an enormous amount of power, and the same is true for businesses. The things we choose to buy and the companies we support have a huge impact: like switching your milk to Minor Figures, investing in that jacket from Patagonia, or using Thank You soap.
When in doubt, B-Corp.
When given the choice there are worse filters than B-Corp for deciding on where to spend your money. B-Corp is a stringent international accreditation system that takes into account a company's social, ethical and environmental practices.
Bank Australia was B-Corp accredited this year and remains committed to investing into industries that do good for both people & planet. So instead of funding the extraction of our national natural resources or the live animal export industry, Bank Australia instead invests money in community housing and renewable energy. Not only that but the bank also operates on 100% renewable energy.
Don't forget the where.
What we choose to spend our money on is obviously one thing, but it's also crucially important to consider where we are spending it and with which companies.
It took a scientist doubling as an abstract artist plus the balls of a bank willing to spend money broadcasting that art to make us act. But we couldn't be happier knowing that we are now banking our values with a financial partner that sees the world just as we do.
So next time you pull out your wallet, take a moment to reflect on whether you're investing in your principles.
DISCLAIMER: This is not an ad for Bank Australia! We've definitely not been paid and we won't get any kickbacks if you click through to their site. We simply admire the breath of fresh air they bring to the sector compared to the Mordor-level evil of the Big Four, and if you agree, consider switching your accounts here.