Purpose is in the business of mobilization, and their metrics are measured in action. Their mission: Create powerful movements that impact the political process, and solve global problems.
Purpose believes that solutions to crises of the 21st century require global policy shifts and tremendous consumer change. By mobilizing movements of people, online and off, Purpose is helping the green and social economy, as well as major brands, impact global problems.
The creators of Purpose, Jeremy Heimans and David Madden, have already experienced success in the ‘movement entrepreneurship’ world, founding the global movement Avaaz.org and the Australian political movement GetUp.org.
Avaaz, which means voice in many languages, was launched in 2007 with a mission to organize international citizens to take action on critical global issues. Whether the battle is against corruption, poverty, conflict or climate change, Avaaz’s internet model allows thousands of individuals to be forged into a collective and powerful force. Campaigning in 14 languages, with core teams on 4 continents and thousands of volunteers, Avaaz sets out to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people inform policy decisions. Currently Avvaz.org has over 5.5 million members.
Based in Australia, GetUp.org is an independent, community advocacy organization that facilitates Australians to get involved in key political issues and take strategic, coordinated action. With international recognition and praise, GetUp has more members than all of Australia’s political parties put together.
Purpose, based in New York, is creating “21st century movements”. Working with some of the leading players of the green and social economy, Purpose is helping movements to scale and mobilize around progressive causes.
An example of such a movement is ‘Global Zero: A World Without Nuclear Weapons’. Led by Queen Noor, Richard Branson, over 100 world leaders, and endorsed by President Obama, Global Zero’s goal is to eliminate nuclear weapons worldwide. Working with Purpose, Global Zero is pushing the issue of nuclear disarmament to the top of international agendas.
I spoke with James Slezak, who leads Purpose’s work on the sustainable economy. James is motivated by the belief that for the green movement to be successful major sectors of the economy must be rebuilt:
“In the green space the goal is to shift the ways we do things, the economy. This means making less, as well as changing what we make. What is also crucial is shifting demand away from unsustainable products to sustainable ones.”
James’ key projects include building a global movement to support the deployment of electric vehicles, as well as renewable power.
James and his team launched helloelectric.org, a strategic movement to get electric cars on roads faster. This movement demonstrates to society at large that viable alternatives to fossil fuel cars are now available, and also channels enthusiasm for the necessary transition. James is concerned that if electric cars are not trusted from their initial launch they will fail, and there will be no other realistic way for countries like America to lose their oil addiction.
Purpose is dedicated to creating a consumer movement to lay the groundwork for the transition to electric cars. The initial goal is to give populations the opportunity to demonstrate their need for electric cars, so that car companies can target sales in these communities, and increase confidence of investors in the technology.
To achieve this, Purpose is having conversations with government municipalities, electric car industry groups, and working closely with Project Get Ready. Project Get Ready, a non-profit initiative of the Rocky Mountain Institute, is working with numerous partners and technical advisers to help cities develop plug-in vehicle infrastructure and introduce electric cars.
Purpose is also talking to car rental companies and taxi services looking to transfer some of their fleet to electric cars.
This dynamic dialogue of governments, private companies, and non-profits is geared towards sharing ideas and best practices to help cities make the transition to electric cars:
“The benefit of having so many people and like minded groups working together is that you can cross pollinate ideas, to see what works and what doesn’t. Having so much experience is one place also enables you to create benchmarks.”
James explained that to combat the major environmental and economic problems the world currently faces we must rebuild the energy sector and eradicate carbon emitting power sources. Turning the roads of the world electric will be a key strategy to achieving this, and Purpose will continue to drive this movement.
As international citizens looking for a brighter future, let’s help them get the pedal to the metal.