THE POWERFUL IMPACT OF SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
The world has been a bit tense lately. We’re hot on the heels of a financial crisis, millennials are taking over the workforce, technology is developing at an alarming rate, and the political climate resembles a not-so-funny internet meme.
This perplexing state of affairs reveals a crucial realization: The time has come to create a real, lasting change.
The question is: Can we truly balance what’s best for the economy, the social good, and the world?
Richard Branson CEO of Virgin thinks we can:
“We need a new way of doing business to get out of the present crisis … Absolute greed has come close to bankrupting the world. Thanks to the crisis that certain businesses have dumped on everyone a lot of people are going to suffer on a global scale. All of us must learn. It is all the more important that those business leaders that are left standing try to be a force for good.”
Because profit is no longer the sole measure of success in business
The world is waking up and taking notice of organizations that work to solve our generation’s most urgent challenges. In fact, 91% of consumers around the world expect businesses to do more than make money, they also expect them to operate responsibly and address social/environmental issues.
The conscious economy is growing and social enterprises are leading the charge.
What is a social enterprise anyway?
A social enterprise is a business that creates systemic change and makes the world a better place through socially conscious, market-driven strategies. The goal is to focus on people, the planet and profit, which is also referred to as the triple-bottom line approach.
Being a good corporate citizen is something that every business should strive for. Just ask these three Canadian social enterprises:
Toronto Renewable Energy Co-operative (TREC)
More about Ramp’s work on the video.
We couldn’t write about social enterprise without mentioning our amazing client TREC. They are leading the development of community-owned renewable energy in Canada, supporting co-ops, Indigenous communities, and more through the development, funding, and maintenance of low carbon solutions to climate change. They advocate for a 100% renewable energy future through research and advocacy to inform public policy and communicate the benefits of democratically owned renewable energy projects. Their co-operative approach to social enterprise enables people to work together, pool resources, and benefit from the renewable energy economy.
Some TREC Projects:
SolarShare develops renewable energy systems across Ontario inviting people and businesses to invest for up to 5-6% annual interest.
Relay Education is a charity that delivers renewable energy education to classrooms and community events fostering the next generation of renewable energy leaders.
WindShare is a wind power co-operative that partners with Canada’s premier urban wind turbine at the Exhibition Place in Toronto.
The Federation of Community Power Co-operatives (FCPC) is an umbrella organization for community power co-ops in Ontario that are developing grid-tied renewable energy projects. (3)
Via G Adventures
G Adventures is another social enterprise that gives back to the community. As a travel operator, its source commodity is the planet, making social and environmental sustainability crucial to its long-term success. G Adventures works with small, locally owned businesses instead of international chains to grow local economies, strengthen communities, and raise the quality of life in a visited destination. The company created the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organization that ensures people in host communities benefit from tourism, minimizing the negative impact of travel, promoting sustainability, and enhancing economic growth. Planeterra manages 50+ projects worldwide and partners with the Inter-American Development Bank to develop community-based tourism projects in rural, underserved communities. The organization also assists in disaster relief initiatives and supports animal welfare.
Me to We
Via ME to WE
Another innovative social enterprise and fellow Canadian B Corp that’s making an impact worldwide is Me to We. Me to We stimulates sustainable international development and poverty reduction by empowering others to become agents of change. The enterprise sources consumer products that benefit overseas communities through its ‘Track Your Impact’ model. It also provides volunteer trips that focus on health, education, and economic development projects abroad. The goal is to help consumers make informed decisions and shift from “me” thinking to “we” acting. Me to We is part of the WE Charity family, the social enterprise helps offset costs to fund programs that build schools, provide education, medical resources, water, and sanitation projects as well as alternative income programs that benefit communities at home and abroad.
Via B Corporation
At Ramp, we believe in the triple bottom line approach. That’s why we work with organizations that create a positive impact on people, communities, and the world. It’s why we became a B Corp and also why we advocate for using business as a Force For Good.
We are conscious of our social and environmental performance and focused on transparency and accountability. We hope this article inspires you to join the conscious capitalism movement to work together and make the world a better place.
Do you think businesses can change the world? Let us know in the comments.