Celebrating 50 Years of Earth Day: Honoring Leila Janah's Legacy

Heather Gadonniex

April 22, 2020

3 Minute Read

I woke up this morning thinking about Leila’s fierce commitment to sustainability.

The two of us spent quite a lot of time visioning how our team could expand Sama’s Give Work platform to incorporate environmental sustainability, and how the organization could play an even bigger role in creating a more equitable, just world. 

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PHOTO:  Leila Janah, Founder,Sama

 

From nixing the use of water bottles at all of our offices to launching the Give Work Challenge, a full-scale business competition that rewards entrepreneurs for social and environmental innovation, Leila had a lot of ideas to weave triple bottom line principles (being financially profitable, creating lasting social impact, and being environmentally sustainable) into our business model. In addition to spearheading our impact model, she sparked a deep love of nature in the visitors to our East African offices by increasing their exposure to African nature and wildlife. One of her favorite topics to muse about over the past few years was how to calculate the positive climate impacts of hiring and empowering women in East Africa. 

On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, I want to take the time to remember Leila’s legacy by giving you a glimpse into a few of the sustainability activities we are working on here at Sama. Mid last year, we officially launched our sustainability program. Our first goals were to understand our carbon footprint (GHGe per GHG Protocol Corporate Standard, Scope 1 and 2), develop an environmentally preferable purchasing program for ongoing consumables, and create biophilic office environments that brought nature inside. 

samasource-east-africa-delivery-centerPHOTO:  Sama East Africa delivery center

 

Ultimately, Leila wanted to pursue B Corporation certification. She always wanted to lead by example, to show the world how business could be both profitable and a force for good.

What better way to do this than provide the ultimate success story and demonstrate that a technology company can be committed to both providing the leading training data platform and to using business as a force for good? 

 

“One of the things I’m proudest of at Sama is our collaboration with conservation groups including the Nature Conservancy to use AI to track endangered species, combat poaching, and protect wilderness. Not only that, but we do it by employing women (more than 50% of our workforce!) from low-income backgrounds, which itself is a way to fight climate change.” - Leila Janah

 

I’m thrilled that Sama is actively engaged with B Lab and is in the final stages of audit verification for our B Corporation certification. I couldn’t be prouder of our Nairobi based Sustainability Analyst, Robert Wahome, for ensuring we have all of the data in place needed to drive this initiative forward, including our first ever Carbon Footprint. In my heart, I know Leila is proud too.

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