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Mindful : October 2014
So what does that actually mean for what I do every day? We focus on work- ing across the organization to make sure people have the means a nd the desire to ma ke decisions accordingly. So the means may be a study on how climate change impacts the domestic market- place for Etsy. So then if you’re working on shipping labels, you can ma ke certain decisions. Now the desire piece is a trickier one. So how do we inspire people to think in these interdependent ways or understand why this is really important? We realized that if this is really what we want to accomplish, we need to have someone in position to make sure we’re stewa rding this through the company. So I’ve got a small tea m—four of us in total— and we work across all of the organiza- Mindful spoke with Matt at the Etsy offices in Brooklyn, New York. Mindful: Tell us about your title. Matt: Values and impact is a title that I made up, so I’ve not seen it any where else. What I do is I focus on giving Etsy employees and customers, and people anywhere, the means and the desire to minimize harm and ma ximize benefit for people and the planet. Can you give us an example? I do a lot of stuff that might be considered corporate social responsibility (CSR), but the more I learn about CSR, the more I know that’s not what we’re doing. We’re not a weapons company who urges its employees to clean up parks while giving a bunch of money to the arts. At Etsy, we want the sole purpose of our enterprise to be the impact that we have on the world. We’re not doing this because we feel guilty. We’re doing this because: 1) we think it’s essential to the long-term survival of our business. You can’t have a business that doesn’t take its impact on people and the planet into account. It’s not sustainable. And 2) we do think in this way of interdependence. And we believe that the community, our customers, our neighbors, our peers in the business world, our employees, our stakeholders, and the planet are all part- ners in our enterprise. So we need to be optimizing for all of them—that ’s just our approach to business. Matthew Stinchcomb vice president of values and impact at Etsy.com tion. But we have the potential to effect more tha n Etsy ’s operationa l footprint. I think our real potential lies in the fact that we have a platform of a million small businesses a nd 40 million consumers, so how do we extend that work? We could put solar pa nels on our office, for exam- ple, but if we could put solar panels on all of the businesses on Etsy, that ’s a lot more impact. Etsy has three corporate values, and they’re all connected in a way: We are a mindful, humane, and transparent business. (See page 42 to learn more about Etsy’s values.) We are mindful of the relationship we have with our con- sumers, one another, a nd with the planet and our approach is that if any one of our stakeholders is failing, we’re all failing, conversely if we make our customers successful, that makes us successful too. If we make our planet successful that makes us successful. If we hurt one of those, we get hurt too. Being mindful of that relationship between all of these things I think is essential to the way that we want to do business, and will be essential to our long-term success. Can you speak to how having a mindful practice has been valuable in the work that you do and in your life? I bring it with me wherever I am—in the workplace, where it benefits the company and what we’re trying to do, as much as on a personal level. With- out going too far down this path, I was raised without any sort of spiritual → “We wanted to create a culture that says, ‘Hey, it’s cool to do this.’ We want you to take care of yourself.” October 2014 mindful 41 business