First job at 14 was working at Bookworld in Stafford City shopping centre, Brisbane. “We got massive discounts, which was great.” His first savings were stashed in a hollowed-out book. “It was a top-secret thing. Eventually, I worked out you could take it to the bank and get interest.” Once, when his wife Geraldine accepted an attractive job offer from Virgin Australia, he became the primary carer for their two children. When they had a nap, he worked on his start-up ideas in the front room. He says he has learned something from every job, including about values-based leadership when at the CSIRO.
As a young man, James Chin Moody was deeply involved in advocacy as co-chair of the United Nations Environment Programme’s youth council. A core focus was sustainable consumption. Fast-forward 20 years or so, and the devoted campaigner is putting the beliefs he supported then into practice via a unique courier delivery disruptor called Sendle.
That business contracts mid-tier courier companies to collect parcels for Sendle’s clients, initially from the premises or homes of small business operators. Once the couriers delivered their regular loads for the day for other contractors, they had been returning empty to base. What better way to make an extra income than to backload Sendle’s parcels for despatch around the country?
It’s a simple idea, and it is giving Chin Moody a reputation for innovation. He initially tried to interest Australia Post in delivering packages, but it wasn’t up for it. After all, it was a big kahuna in parcels already. But he also believed it had a problem he could overcome. People often stand in long lines at post offices, eating up valuable time, to mail packages. Sendle now has couriers go one better. They call at their clients’ doors. Quickly, easily and at competitive prices.
A downside to the delivery business, however, is that it involves burning fossil fuel. Therefore, to stay true to his environmental principles, Chin Moody has found ways to be fully carbon neutral. Sendle first looks to improve the efficiency of its couriers by helping to reduce their carbon intensity. They are encouraged to use electric vehicles and are paid to install solar panels on the roofs of their depots. That also helps to reduce the costs Sendle otherwise would incur by purchasing carbon offsets to plant rainforests in the Amazon, something they have done since starting out.
“We don’t want the fact that we are 100% carbon neutral in Australia and America to be a competitive advantage at all,” he says. “We want the entire industry to follow.”
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