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Through the simple act of buying their morning coffee, the tenants of 65 Berry Street are making their North Sydney community a better place. Located in the building’s newly refurbished ultra-modern lobby, Symbol is a profit for purpose café which donates 100 percent of its profits to charitable causes. Not only do customers get to give back just by buying a meal, they also get a say in which cause they’d like to support.
The Pure Collective
Symbol is a relatively new member of the Pure Collective, a growing group of social enterprise hospitality businesses that fund the Pure Foundation.
The social businesses making up the Pure Collective donate all of their profits to non-profit organisations through the Pure Foundation. The Foundation, in turn, operates a 100% ‘to cause’ model, ensuring donations reach causes without being diluted along the way. Nicolas Degryse, co-founder and Group Head of Hospitality, said:
“The Pure Collective is an ever-evolving, interconnected tribe of people and organisations. The collective is perhaps best summarised by the simple underlying core principle that despite our differences, the value we create together is much greater than in isolation.”
All of the organisations within the Pure Collective aim to find creative ways to foster gratitude and compassion in the day-to-day lives of their patrons. Whilst still relatively young, the Collective has served over 100,000 customers in the last three years and has helped the Pure Foundation support over 80 charities.
Symbol is the Collective’s latest project following the group’s success with Surry Hill institutions, Gratia Café and Folonomo Restaurant and most recently, Portal at No.1 Martin Place, Sydney.
“In 2018, we took what we learnt from the Surry Hills projects and brought to life, with the generous support of Charter Hall, our new venture, Symbol,” says Degryse. “We wanted to build a way for customers to have an even more direct connection to the impact they were having.”
Charter Hall’s support of the venture showcases its own commitment to fostering a culture of generosity and giving. “We’re proud to partner with Symbol, a social enterprise and Sydney’s first ‘profit for purpose’ hospitality venture”, says Charter Hall Asset Manager, Dawn Wilson. “Already, our new ground floor space at 65 Berry Street has made an impact – for both our customers and the broader community.”
Slow food fast
The focus on philanthropy does not take away from the quality of the food produced by Symbol. Designed by chef Michal Siudeja, Symbol’s menu features healthy and delicious meals with an emphasis on nutrient-rich, organic and local ingredients. The menu includes breakfast combos with an edge and a stellar sandwich line up for the lunchtime crowds. “Symbol’s passion is for ‘slow food fast’”, says Degryse.
And with each item bought, customers receive a bouncing ball to place in one of three jars, each corresponding to a specific charity. The supported organisations are rotated frequently, providing customers with a selection of causes. “We choose Australian NGOs with a strong track record of impact that are supporting one or more of the UN Sustainable Development goals,” says Degryse.
One of the charities supported by Symbol café is OzHarvest, Australia’s leading food rescue organisation. The charity collects surplus food from a wide range of businesses across the country, including supermarkets, restaurants and retail food outlets. The organisation saves over 180 tonnes of food every week which would otherwise end up in landfill and redistributes the rescued food to charitable agencies. It also runs a number of education programs such as Nourish, a hospitality skills program aimed at at-risk young people.
Sustainability is clear priority for the Pure Collective. It chooses providers such as Husk, a business producing multi-use coffee cups made from eco-friendly and biodegradable materials and other local businesses that deal directly with farmers. The Collective aims to operate plastic-free, zero waste operations in the not too distant future.
Symbol’s support of Greenfleet aligns with the sustainability aims of the Collective. Greenfleet connects businesses and individuals with real climate action by planting trees and restoring native forests.
“Our focus on biodiversity means that not only do our forests absorb carbon from the atmosphere, but they also support native wildlife and ecosystems".
Support from Symbol and the Pure Collective is essential to charities like Greenfleet.
“Not only financially, but also to help spread awareness of our work,” says Riche. “We want it to be as easy as possible for everyone to do their bit for the environment, so we love the growing trend for organisations who make making a difference a core part of their business model by supporting organisations like ours.”
Click here to visit Symbol's website.