1. What made Verdi Commerce become active from a social impact standpoint in the first place?
Verdi’s founders, Kevin Hamann and Jeromy McVige, have always had the desire to create value for more than themselves and the company’s other shareholders. In fact, our entire business model is predicated on promoting the circular economy and mitigating e-waste. As the business has grown, it’s simply become more of a focus, leading to my hire to augment our proactivity towards creating a positive social impact.
2. Why is giving back important to Verdi Commerce?
It is incumbent on all profitable enterprises to give back to society which fuels their growth. The government, here in the United States and across the world, simply cannot do it on its own. Many organizations understand this; look no further than Yvon Chouinard and Patagonia. While this incredible act of generosity will likely never be matched, it will certainly become a seminal moment for the importance and possibility of corporate social responsibility.
3. What initiatives have you run in the past? And what are you hoping to do in the future?
In 2021, returns accounted for nearly $800 billion in retail value. To put that into context, that’s substantially more than Walmart’s total global 2021 revenue. I expect that realization will be a ‘wow’ moment for others as it was for our team at Verdi. Electronic goods make up a significant portion of those returns, and a large percentage of them end up in landfills. 57.4 million metric tons of e-waste were generated in 2021 alone. Again…wow!
We are on a mission, one that started over 5 years ago, to mitigate that environmental impact by encouraging and supporting brands to re-think how they handle their customer returns and reverse logistics. The decision by OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) to scrap returns or pay retailers to destroy leftover products only contributes to the problem. Verdi’s recertified product remarketing strategy gives those brands another option, one that avoids those products ending up in landfills. In 2021 alone, we purchased and resold over a half million refurbished goods, all of which were re-purposed rather than disposed of!
Going forward, we will amplify that message while looking to contribute to other areas of social need. At Verdi, we pursue the ideals of connected capitalism, in which all of our stakeholders should share in the value we capture. That includes our brand partners, team members, the communities they live in, and of course, our customers. That pursuit will be realized through a variety of social engagement activities we are working on, from sponsoring employee contributions and volunteer work at local charities to developing a tech recycling program for our customers to achieving a neutral carbon emissions footprint across our logistics network. There is so much to do, but we are thrilled to do it.
4. Has giving back always been important to you as an individual?
I would certainly like to say yes, but as I expect is the case for most, my desire to give back was inspired by personal experience. My son, Jack, was diagnosed with autism in 2016. Our family’s journey changed from that point on. We’ve had to make sacrifices, but luckily, we have had the means to adapt and care for our son. There are so many other families, and even single parents, who struggle to care for their children with special needs. It was that realization that completely changed my mindset regarding the responsibility of myself as an individual and any organization I am a part of to contribute to positive social impact.
5. What cause are you most passionate about?
I have been a beneficiary and guest of a wonderful local Western New York charity called David’s Refuge. David’s Refuge cares for the caregiver and the parents of children with special needs. They work under the premise that strong caregivers lead to strong families, which lead to stronger communities.
6. How do you see Kambeo playing a role in your company’s social impact and CSR initiatives moving forward?
Kambeo will provide a platform in which Verdi Commerce can encourage and support charitable work among our team members and within the company itself. We have pledged to match any contribution our team members make to any charity of their choosing and will also provide 2 additional vacation days for use towards volunteering. Without Kambeo’s platform, it would have been extremely difficult for us to accomplish this effectively.
7. What made you choose Kambeo over other solutions?
We chose Kambeo because it allows our team to connect directly with charities and nonprofits they care about. Kambeo gives us a platform to enable our team members to get involved, share our story, and celebrate impact!
8. If you could tell the world one thing about Verdi Commerce, what would you want them to know?
Our company’s leadership and staff care about creating positive social change. This is fundamental to our initiative to do our part and help support causes that mean so much to our staff, their families, and the communities around us.
About Verdi Commerce
Verdi Commerce is a data-driven remarketing solutions company that partners with leading technology & houseware brands to repurpose their returned and certified refurbished inventory via a proprietary business model focused on transparency and sustainability. The company was founded in 2012 by Kevin Hamann and Jeromy McVige and acquired by private equity in December 2020. The co-founders continue to manage all day-to-day operations and strategy for the firm.