Community Commentary Opinion

Encinitas to become the model city of the for-benefit corporation movement

Having lived in coastal North County San Diego for over 35 years, with the past six in Encinitas, I have witnessed many changes to our community — from the negative environmental impacts of urban sprawl, corporate development, city expansion and the housing boom of the past decades, to the more recent and exciting shift to a community becoming increasingly aware and concerned with sustainability, local conservation and preservation of our natural environment.

Quality of life has become a paramount driver with Encinitas inhabitants; our community has a strong focus on outdoor recreation, eating locally grown organic foods, healthy lifestyles and is underpinned by a commitment to recycle everything.

The Encinitas business municipality has also become vibrant and is poised as model city in the for-benefit movement.

The faction is also termed the fourth sector of America’s economy; a fourth sector business is structured and organized as a profit entity, but in addition, integrates social conscience and planetary stewardship into their mission statement.

The for-benefit model was eloquently introduced at a July 2 meeting organized by Andrew Hewitt, the CEO of GameChangers500 and subsequently gained momentum with a second, expanded gathering held on July 9.

The meetings were attended by a wide array of local entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders and city officials; the assemblies served as a springboard for this excited and eco-driven, conscious collective of like-minded individuals to implement plans for growing the for-benefit business sector in Encinitas.

For my day job, I am Chief Science Officer at Yulex Corporation, a San Diego-based company focused on development of sustainable natural rubber from a desert shrub known as Guayule.

Unlike tropical rubber, which negatively impacts our rainforests, guayule grows in semi-arid climates with minimal impact to our environment.  Yulex has partnered with Patagonia Corporation to make the first sustainable wetsuit, derived from plant materials instead of petroleum products.

Yulex leverages modern genome tools to accelerate natural breeding and plant productivity, without GMOs.

Our main greenhouse operation is housed within the Leichtag Foundation, a community focused agricultural foundation with commitment to education, philanthropy, sustainability and social entrepreneurship; Leichtag’s members are also involved in the for-benefit movement.

While Yulex is not formally considered a for-benefit corporation, we do our part to preserve the environment and create sustainable and planet-friendly products.

In a totally separate entrepreneurial start-up endeavor, Adi Ramon, Noel Brady and myself founded Kombucha Culture in Leucadia in August 2014.

Our mission is to bring the highest quality, freshest and most sophisticated kombucha elixirs to the Encinitas community.

Kombucha Culture was founded on principles, which precisely align with the for-benefit business model; we look forward to establishing a community culture around kombucha as a healthy low alcohol alternative to alcoholic beverages.

Great changes are transpiring globally, which will alter the metrics of how business success is measured; Andrew Hewitt and his team are helping to bring Encinitas into the center of this exciting vortex.

Eric J. Mathur currently resides in Leucadia and is a long-time resident of North County San Diego; he is also a serial entrepreneur who currently serves as Chief Science Officer of Yulex Corporation and one of the three founders of Leucadia’s new start up venture, Kombucha Culture.