Knowledge Centre

Sustainability, ESG and SDG Impact From The Trenches (Where Theory Meets Practice)

Its not all theory

When Covid shut down the CSR Training Institute’s work I went to work practicing what I preached.

I quickly pivoted and focused on running a small grassroots business, Baraka Impact. Applying the sustainability and social responsibility theory that I had been teaching, writing about and consulting on.

I wanted to demonstrate that we could hard-wire positive (and profitable!) social and environmental impact into the core of the business.  And then use that to create a sustainable, competitive advantage.

That it wasn’t necessary to choose between business success and meaningful sustainability and environmental impact.

That you could indeed have your cake and eat it too.  That Brand Purpose and Impact could be the engine to drive business success.

The business brings handmade/grown ingredients from Ghana and makes them available to the Natural and Organic Skincare and Cosmetics industry.  Primarily to smaller scale producers and the rapidly growing DIY segment of the industry.

It was a great experience for me to take P&L responsibility, roll up my sleeves and put theory into practice.  I learnt a ton that will make me a better teacher and consultant and I am proud of the impact we made.

We still have a long way to go but, three years later we have a business that has:

◾ Over 20,000 customers, 85% of whom cite our social and environmental work as being key to their purchase decision

◾ Made a difference in the lives of over 5,000 hard-working women from rural Ghanaian villages;

◾ Shipped product and ingredients made by these women to over 75 countries worldwide

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◾ 100% Customer Satisfaction Guarantee

◾ Over 16,000 Five Star Reviews (4.9/5)

◾ Unparalleled supply chain transparency & impact

◾ World-class customer service

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◾ Pioneered an innovative, circular economy, waste to energy project that not only combats deforestation, reduces carbon impact and creates employment but has positive health benefits for the women involved

◾ This makes us a global industry leader in carbon impact and deforestation mitigation
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◾ Impact 16 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

◾ Pioneered a simple, new format for SDG impact reporting

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◾ Created what is, arguably, one of the top brand-purpose stories in the rapidly growing Natural and Organic Skin Care and Cosmetics Sector

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One of the key strategic themes that drove our success was our laser focus on value.  Everything we did was tightly focused on value:

  1. Value for our business itself (if we couldn’t deliver value in this dimension we didn’t go forward)
  2. Value for the women and communities we worked with
  3. Value for our customers (and their customers)
  4. Value for the land and environment we worked in
  5. Value for our employees and team

I could go into detail on each of these value dimensions but this is already getting long.  So let’s focus on value for the customers.  Value for the other groups is largely covered in the table above

▶ Our customers are small and medium businesses, DIY (do it yourself) practitioners and consumers in the Natural and Organic Skincare and Cosmetics sector.  A $50 billion/year sector that is growing rapidly.

▶ Social and environmental impact, supply chain transparency and authenticity, pure and natural ingredients, and the ability to emotionally connect with the ingredients and the supply chain are important to our customers and their customers.

▶ They love how the pure, natural, handmade butters, oils and other ingredients (e.g. shea butter, Kombo butter, coconut oils, cocoa butter, palm oils, etc.) allow them to make amazing products for their customers or themselves. 

▶ And, their customers not only love the products, they love knowing that they supply chain that produced these ingredients had such positive social and economic impact for the hardworking women and their families who made them.

▶ Our customers are not only buying high-quality ingredients that they love to work with, they are also getting the brand purpose story that enables them to emotionally connect with their customers in a way that increases sales and returning customers for them.

▶ Tactically we developed practices and procedures that allowed us to take the impact we were having in the far upstream reaches of our supply chain and, using communication, content and strategy, convert that into value for our customers.

▶ This created a virtuous cycle where the more social and environmental impact we had in our upstream supply chain, the more value we could deliver to our customers and make available for them to deliver to their customers.

▶ By using strategy and innovation, rather than treating sustainability as a zero-sum game, we were able to create a sustainable competitive advantage and a true 1+1=3 situation.  Our customers pay for ingredients, but they also get highly valuable brand purpose content they can use in their own businesses.

If you want to learn more about how to do this in your own business join us for one of our upcoming programs.  I will be leading both of them personally.

ESG & Sustainability Strategy Executive Briefing:

Half-Day Certified Executive Masterclass

13th September, 2023, Accra, Ghana

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Insights & Strategy

Certified Executive Masterclass

24th-26th October, 2023 Accra, Ghana

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If you have any questions, or if there is any way we can help you or your organization please contact us directly.

Wayne Dunn

Founder and President.

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Prof. Wayne Dunn

Wayne Dunn is an award-winning global sustainability expert with extensive teaching, writing, lecturing and advisory service experience. He is supported by an extensive faculty and advisory team.