Partnering with Roundhouse, a coworking and collaboration space at MacEwan University, and the university’s Social Innovation Institute, The Earth Group is pleased to be the first social entrepreneur in residence. The Earth Group will spend its year-long of residency working with up-and-coming entrepreneurs, showing them how to combine the principles of business with social and environmental goals.
Ten years ago, Edmontonians Kori Chilibeck and Matt Moreau founded The Earth Group. Both were avid travellers who had seen the unfortunate economic circumstances faced by thousands around the world. They pledged to help provide food, water, and education to help combat global poverty.
Things started off on a small scale, with Chilibeck and Moreau selling products from the back of their van; today, however, their Earth Water, Earth Coffee, and Earth Tea is sold in 700 locations. Earth Water is bottled from springs around the world, and the caps and labels are sourced locally from the areas they are retailed in to reduce shipping costs and lower The Earth Group’s carbon footprint. Earth Coffee is fair trade and organic. Earth Tea is grown in central Alberta (one of the very few teas grown in Canada) and is picked by hand in an isolated, vehicle-free environment.
The Earth Group sells its products online, as well as through corporate and independent retailers. The company was recently certified as a B Corporation by the non-profit B Lab, ensuring it meets strict social and environmental practices and operates with accountability and transparency.
A worldwide agreement with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) enables The Earth Group to donate 100 per cent of its profits to WFP. To date, this has resulted in 3,650,000 school meals for children in need around the world.
“We believe how you spend your dollars is more important than how you vote, and we’ve created a vehicle to affect positive change in the world simply through your everyday purchases,” Chilibeck and Moreau say in a statement on their website.
The Earth Group also has a fundraising program for students where they sell Earth Group products to raise money for their school, social club, or sports teams while also funding school meals, water, and education for children in developing nations. The fundraising program empowers students to learn about humanitarianism and about how social change can be enacted on a global scale.
During The Earth Group’s residency at MacEwan University, Chilibeck and Moreau will speak at campus events and share their story and ideals with the Edmonton business community. They will also act as advisors to Roundhouse, discuss careers in social entrepreneurship, and collaborate on a social project with MacEwan University’s Social Innovation Institute and Roundhouse.
To learn more about The Earth Group, visit earthgroup.org. To learn more about MacEwan University’s Social Innovation Institute and Roundhouse, visit macewan.ca/innovate and roundhouse.net.