Can business and noble cause share a common ground?
— Julien Le Corre, Co-Founder of YZ Agency
Can business serve noble causes? Yes it does. Julien Le Corre co-founded YZ, an activist agency. His purpose: reinventing business in a socially and environmentally responsible way. Obviously, to save the planet, we need means. And to have these means, we need to generate business. Are the non-profit and for-profit worlds destined to meet and join forces?
Can you describe yourself quickly, who you are, what you do?
I am Julien Le Corre, co-founder of the activist agency YZ. I've always been passionate about brands, and I've set myself the challenge of reinventing the advertising agency business to put it at the service of environmental and societal issues.
I'm convinced that we can reinvent the agency model by choosing our clients with a focus on projects with a positive environmental and societal impact, and by working to promote causes rather than products. That's what we did with our #periodemoji campaign, for example, to help lift the taboo on menstruation.
What are your favorite subjects?
Ecology, impact, societal transitions. Basically, are we going to make it and how?
Agencies can contribute to changing behaviors and mentalities through communication and citizen campaigns. In concrete terms, over the last two years, our campaigns have recruited 15,000 young people in civic service, provoked the adhesion of hundreds of companies to the 1% for the planet, reached millions of people on the subject of menstrual precariousness...
What is the emerging topic that you think will matter in the near future and how did you become aware of it?
The emerging topic that interests me the most is the collaboration between the non-profit and the for-profit, and more broadly the redefinition of entrepreneurship and profit in the light of the environmental crisis. The Ocean Cleanup, Time for the Planet: are we going to see the generalization of entrepreneurial projects whose performance indicators are the positive impact on the environment and not financial performance? Do we have the right to make money while doing good? These are questions that fascinate me.
I believe that two trends are emerging. The first is to reconcile profit with positive impact: yes, we can make money by doing good. The second is that we will spend more and more money to finance not products, but causes, impact.
What are the stakes, the changes and opportunities that this can bring? What are the brakes, the risks?
This is a paradigm shift. Traditionally, we separate the pursuit of profit and selfless action. Doing good is necessarily 'voluntary', while money is the excuse to do what takes us away from it. But today the richest man in the world is the one who revolutionized the car industry, and more and more young people coming out of school want to start businesses to save the planet.
"Yes we can make money by doing good"
Who are the actors in this field? Where can we learn more?
Frédéric Mazella's new project, Captain Cause, is exciting, as is the startup Vendredi which promotes corporate volunteering and civic engagement.
These are startups that promote the connection between companies and associations, to redistribute value and time to causes. It is both a strong impact lever and a lever for attracting and retaining employees.