How One Young World drove me to create shoes that leave the right footprint

Written by Luke Gibson. He is the Founder of Two Degrees and a OYW Ambassador from the UK. Two Degrees' Kickstarter page is now live

I arrived at Bangkok in 2015 not really knowing what to expect.

I was doing Corporate Strategy at a multi-national Asset Management firm in London, and while I enjoyed what I was doing, I was still generally confused about what I wanted to do with my life.

Isn’t everyone to a certain extent?

A friend put me onto One Young World. After watching videos of the Dublin summit in 2014, I was intrigued. I put together a business case at work for me and a few others to attend and managed to push it through.

Now, I don’t want to sound too over the top – It is a constant challenge that we have as a community to not sound too clichéd when reporting back.

Having said that… the experience was completely intoxicating.


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I met, listened to and engaged with people from all over the world who were solving problems I didn’t even know existed – from extraordinary, individual not-for-profit projects to smaller feats of intrapreneurship in larger, for-profit corporates. The thing was… every single person was doing something or talking about doing something meaningful to them and making a difference (however big or small).

From my background in Finance, the idea of conscious capitalism had always felt like a bit of a contradiction, but suddenly I could see evidence of it working and people really believing in it.

But, honestly, I felt disheartened.

What was my thing?

I had heard OYW Ambassadors talking about setting up programmes to combat extremism, training women to tackle domestic violence, standing up for their country in the battle against climate change and even escaping North Korea in extreme circumstances. Extraordinary individual feats.

But, what was my purpose?

While I was at One Young World, a new friend introduced me to the concept of Ikigai.

The concept really focused my mind on the crossover between the things the world needs, what you love doing (the original passions - often things you focused on as a child), what you can get paid for and what you are good at.


impact, two degrees, shoes, rainforest, sustainable, boat shoes, luke gibson, one young world, oyw, yeonmi park

The concept has transformed the way I think about work and has led me on an amazing journey. From banking, to start up consulting in Africa, working for a charity in the DRC, to trying various business ideas to finally co-founding the company I now run today.

It is called Two Degrees.

We make seriously comfortable boat shoes and every pair purchased protects 1,000 square feet of endangered habitat around the world. We are calling it Feet for Feet.

If you are interested, you can check out our website - just by signing up to our pre-launch list you will protect endangered habitat for free


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Picture of a pair of our Two’s in action.

The journey has led me across Europe and South America, challenging manufacturing processes across the supply chain and meeting some amazing people from all walks of life.


impact, two degrees, shoes, rainforest, sustainable, boat shoes, luke gibson, one young world, oyw, yeonmi park

Picture of me (far right) with my co-founder (second from left) with our amazing suppliers.

I can honestly say that without One Young World I would never have re-examined my passion (the environment), had the journey I have had or met the really unique people that have shaped the way I think about the world.

Thank you OYW. Over and out.


impact, two degrees, shoes, rainforest, sustainable, boat shoes, luke gibson, one young world, oyw, yeonmi park

You can support Two Degrees on Kickstarter today.