How businesses and not for profits can work together for a better world
1 July 2020 at 7:00 am
Now is the time to support purpose-driven businesses and make 2020 a year to remember for the right reasons, writes Kate Carroll, sustainability manager at Beyond Bank Australia.
It will be interesting to see how we all look back on 2020. Will it be remembered as a year the world stopped, our nation burned, our community faced uncomfortable truths and we isolated ourselves from each other?
Or will it become a watershed year where, in the face of adversity, we learnt what is truly important. A year where our humanity shone through and we showed the depth of our generosity and compassion during a time of crisis. We embraced our differences and celebrated our collective story. Where we slowed down and recognised the value of our local communities and meaningful connection?
Will this year be the catalyst we need for change? The kind that tips us over the edge bringing with it sweeping change. And what role will each of us play in ushering in that change?
None of us can truly answer these big questions yet, but there are already some green shoots that suggest positive and profound social change is underway, that the distancing we are enduring now will actually bring us closer together in the future.
During the month of July over 300 Australian and New Zealand B Corp businesses are coming together to celebrate in the spirit of “Better Together for a Better World”. It is an opportunity for the community to strengthen its ties, recognising the challenges we are facing and the need for us to gather around, to support each other and lift each other up.
Business is tough at the best of times, let alone during the current circumstances. But what is truly inspiring are those doing business with impact. Going that step further, seeing a better version of the future and taking risks that others haven’t dared to take, to make that vision a reality.
It is this vision and philosophy on which the B Corp movement was founded. An idea centred on fairness and the interdependence of all stakeholders for our enduring prosperity and success. For Beyond Bank Australia it is a philosophy that is embedded in our co-operative business model, and in our purpose to change lives and build stronger communities by working closely with thousands of not-for-profit partners to create better outcomes for all Australians. Growing the purpose economy through the collective power of business, lights the pathway ahead to a better world.
It is B Corps such as Arnsdorf and Memobottle who are helping to light the way, stepping up to use their business capabilities to support frontline staff and protect the community during COVID-19 by making protective clothing and hand sanitizer. It is Future Super for calling out super funds invested in the destruction of our cultural heritage. And it is each and every one of the B Corp businesses that contributed to the bushfire relief efforts through donations, fundraisers, matched giving or volunteer time.
We can all be the change we seek in the world by continuing to support this community of purpose-driven businesses. But is there more you can do? Can you shift your procurement practices to reflect the values of your organisation through those you chose to engage with? Can you work with businesses such as Freerange Future, a passionate digital agency servicing the not-for-profit and purpose sector, or Impact Seed, who specialise in capacity building for impact investment and social enterprise, or is it who you bank with or simply who you chose to buy your coffee from?
The B Corp Australia and New Zealand directory is a valuable tool to help your organisation identify B2B services or consumer products which support the purpose economy. Alternatively, ask your suppliers about their impact. Challenge them on their social and environmental practices and about what they are doing to support all of their stakeholders. Never before have these questions been more valid. We hope more people will ask them of themselves and of others for all the products and services they use in their day-to-day lives.
At Beyond Bank we are always seeking new ways to work with fellow B Corps such as Your Call, Edge Environment and Method Recycling. We are also committed to engaging with our key suppliers and through those relationships we are proud of the influence we have had on other businesses to start their own impact journey. This includes our commercial fitout supplier Pinnacle who certified as a B Corp in 2018.
As we continue to move through 2020, let’s all help to nurture those green shoots of change. Let’s work together with those that share this path with us and support those who might just be starting out on this journey towards change. Let’s make sure that when we do look back on this time of great challenge, that we see it as a year that pulled society together, not apart.