Talking about responsibility is ordinary; Being responsible is eXtraOrdinary.” – Naveen Lakkur
“With great power comes great responsibility,” said Spiderman. It may be fiction or a piece of pop culture, but it holds. Whether you choose or give responsibility, everyone takes up new responsibilities. Some people to a Little Extra and assume responsibility to build a better, safer, or a larger solution to problems, helping the world reap benefits. Let us look at a few inspirational stories of people or organizations that have been responsible.
Story 1 – Toying with Eco-friendly Packaging
There isn’t a child who loves playing with Lego. They use Lego sets to build, craft, giving shape to their imagination. However, for parents, the word Lego might reinforce memories of messy playrooms and shooting pain up their legs, having stepped on an unsuspecting Lego piece.
Nonetheless, Lego is a treat to any and every child.
Although, as we all know, Lego brick is made entirely of plastic. High-grade ones, but plastic nevertheless. It is common knowledge that plastic takes more than a thousand years to decompose, not healthy for the planet. Today, when plastic is threatening the existence of the planet and its inhabitants, plastic production is looked down upon.
Realizing how dangerous plastic packaging is for their play toys, Lego came up with sustainable and recyclable packaging using eco-friendly paper. The move to use sustainable packaging is a huge move when taken up by a company as large as Lego, which has billions in turnovers every year.
Lego aims to be responsible and make all its packaging sustainable by the end of 2025, replacing plastic bags with easy-to-open recyclable, sustainably sourced paper bags. A few years ago, Lego experimented with biodegradable pieces made from plant-based bio-plastic sourced from sugar cane. The company pledged to use this material, which currently accounts for less than 2% of all pieces.
The company went a Little Extra and vowed to achieve zero-waste to landfill by the end of 2025 and carbon-neutral manufacturing operations by the end of 2022. In an interview with the Guardian, the Lego Group Chief Executive, Niels B Christiansen, said that they received letters from children about the environment asking them to remove single-use plastic packaging. Being responsible, they explored alternatives and also sourced ideas from children, inspiring them to make a change.
Story 2 – Injecting Good Health
Every year, medical practitioners worldwide administer over 12 billion injections, and out of that, 50% are unsafe. These unsafe injections can infect patients with deadly diseases such as Hepatitis and HIV.
In 1948, Marc Koska discovered from a newspaper article the scale of HIV infections through the reuse of syringes. He later studied the hefty price people paid owing to unhygienic medical practices. While the number of malaria deaths is approximately a million every year, deaths due to the reuse of syringes are 1.3 million.
In countries such as India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and China, reused syringes are in abundance. Rag pickers in the subcontinent pick used syringes from the landfills and sell them for a price. In Indonesia, used syringes are given to school going children to play with during recess. It gets worse. These children sometimes drink water from them, infecting themselves with different diseases.
Witnessing these conditions across countries, Marc Koska invented the world’s first auto-disable syringe. The syringe can only be used once. After use, the plunger breaks away from the seal. Marc is credited with saving 10 million lives since then, having changed WHO policy and best practice on the ground. He has revolutionized not only syringes but the way to administer injections.
Marc has gone a Little Extra to be responsible for the better health of others through single-use syringes and injection administering practices, changing healthcare for good, helping avoid unnecessary infections and deaths.
Story 3 – Selling Art from the Motherland Internationally
India is a land of myriad cultures, languages, ethnicities, and religions – housing approximately 1.3 billion people. Within this, more than one-third of the population is living in extreme poverty. Poverty affects all facets of life, making it difficult to live.
Artists from lower economic backgrounds have it worse. They have no scope of accessing quality materials, no access to the market to sell their crafts, or even a disposable income to support their talents.
This is what Manish and Ruchi Gupta wanted to change.
On a trip to India, Manish was moved by the conditions of the artisans from lower economic backgrounds. In 2006, with his wife and business partner, he began Matr Bhoomie to support the local artisans, provide them with training, material, and access to the market.
They initially set up their office in their Austin apartment and have grown to empower more than 20,000 artisans to create a sustainable livelihood, with 40 partner communities throughout India. Matr Bhoomie went a Little Extra with their 1,500 retail touchpoints spread across North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia, selling their jewelry, gifts, journals, fashion, and home accessories.
Premium brands such as Ben & Jerry’s, Coldwater Creek, Disney, Home Goods, National Geographic, Smithsonian, and Whole Foods turn to them for custom and private label designs.
Matr Bhoomie is a breakthrough in uplifting the artists of the country who grew up in poverty.
While being responsible for changing the economic situation of the poor artisans, Manish and Ruchi have gained access to the international market through premium quality products.