Customers, both in B2B and B2C markets, not only expect organisations to provide high quality products and services but they also demand high environmental and social etiquette. Rightfully so.
In the complex ecosystem of today’s world, business has a greater purpose than generating profits.
Some organisations have adopted the triple bottom line reporting framework to evaluate their holistic business performance and measure the financial along with the social and environmental value.
When looking at the creation of social impact there are several considerations to keep in mind, which extend well beyond your own organisation to encompass your entire business ecosystem.
Your organisation’s legal structure determines the commitments you have to fulfil. For example, not-for-profits are required to reinvest all their profits to pursue the social cause that underpins
their very existence. Then there are networks and lobbies, like the B Corp movement, trying to effect systemic changes to the way business operates with the view of creating a more inclusive, equitable and regenerative economy.
There are three key areas that influence your business’s ability to create positive social impact: policy and strategy, workforce composition and spend profile.
Policy and strategy
Policy and strategy refers to the set of documented processes and objectives you have put in place to effect certain outcomes. Generally, it includes things such as Equity, Diversity and Inclusion policy (ED&I), Reconciliation Action Plan (or equivalent formal pledge), Social Procurement and Supplier Diversity policies, Ethical Code of Conduct (for your employees as well as your suppliers) and Modern Slavery statement.
The second area looks at the composition of your workforce and more specifically at gender balance and pay equality, employment of disadvantaged individuals (ethnic minority, long-term unemployed, former convicts, etc.), Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people and people with disability.
The final lever relates to your supply chain and looks at the spend that your organisation directs to suppliers with a social benefit mandate like social enterprises, Indigenous businesses and so on. A good practice here is to set specific spend targets and track your actual spend against those metrics. You can start by redirecting spend in low-risk categories and then work your way up.
Using these principles, Finsbury Green has developed a framework to assess the social impact efforts of suppliers through Sourceit, our sourcing software.
The Finsbury Green Social Rating is a tool that will help customers make more informed decisions about the organisations they buy from.