How to Be Socially Innovative With Your Business

If you are a business owner, you probably want to make some difference in the world. Many companies have made a difference. Building your company up in a way that positively impacts society needs to be done in a genuine way. Social enterprises should put good business tools to use where you can meet a need that society has.

This might mean offering some form of technology to a part of the world that is underdeveloped. Much of the time it has to do with innovative ideas that reduce waste, as that is a major concern around the world right now. Social enterprise and social innovation can go together. It is the act of you finding an innovative way to help with a social need. Your business doesn’t have to be primarily community service oriented. Your services or employment practices can positively impact society.

Here are some of the different types of companies that work towards social change:

Traditional Non-profits

They are companies that offer a service without profit. Money made has to be reinvested to continue on. The social enterprise, March of Dimes, works to prevent premature births. They have been around since the 1930’s and will have saved $70 billion in healthcare costs by 2020.

B-Corps

This is your non-traditional non-profit organization. They have to be transparent in the social work they do. They have a social mission that is equivalent to their company’s development. Ben and Jerry’s is a good example of this. They impact social change by helping other get rid of any injustice happening around the world. They also offer their employees the chance to make change. If an employee has an idea and it’s a good one, the company will support them in various ways.

Mission-First

This kind of business primarily runs as an act of making positive changes in society. They are companies for profit, but are focused on making the world a better place with their product or service. When they grow, they make a greater impact.

Socially Responsible

They are a for-profit type of business, but they see the benefits of being a part of their community. They will care about their environment and their local community. For example, Patagonia is extremely conscious about the environment. They put a lot of emphasis on their customers and the planet. Their brand makes us feel comforted, which has developed because of their consistent dedication to their causes.

Big Donors

Large corporations will often give big contributions to help make the world a better place. It not only has a positive impact, but it is also a good tax deduction.

Starbucks and Their New Social Innovation

The Starbucks Foundation Service Fellows Program is one of Starbucks’ greatest achievements when it comes to social innovation. The company is proud of this program, where they take community service and turn it into a national service.

Starbucks Affecting Neighbors Around the Country

In the U.S., there are 100 stores where Starbucks partners are making a difference. They will work part time hours (20 hours) in the Starbucks coffee shops. They will then work 20 to 30 hours doing community service. This will go on for the next seven months. They are partners with Points of Light, where they look for certain community service organizations to help out. This is a new corporate model that enables big companies to impact at a small, and yet large scale. This offers them the ability to have a larger impact. The Starbucks workers inspire others in the community as they take part in the community service.

Starbucks is striving to make a positive impact on the world. They authentically care and look for relevant ways to help. Companies will often do this kind of work when they need to boost their reputation. When a company is already performing well but wishes to do something more for the world, this becomes inspiring to customers. It makes one feel good to go into a Starbucks, knowing that they are actively creating great change in the world.

Listening to Employees

The big decision makers of Starbucks listen carefully to their employees. When a cause matters to them and it’s viable to help, the company will. Starbucks has worked with the National Partnership for Women and Families for quite some time. They have been working to get people equal pay in the U.S., no matter what their gender or race is. They are also helping in their Canadian market by fighting to ensure that women get equal pay.

There are 30,00 Starbucks locations, with 350,000 employees. They listen to the partners to make change. For example, throwing food out because it wasn’t fresh enough to sell didn’t sit well with the employees. This prompted Starbucks to start a food share program in conjunction with Feeding America. This has led to 15 million people being fed in the U.S.

Another project is eliminating plastic straws throughout the world. Starbucks currently has a strawless lid for their iced drinks. They are working with a company to create a cup for hot beverages that is completely compostable.

Plastic, of course, is a problem that has been challenging for all kinds of companies like Starbucks. They are doing their best to create a big change, which of course will likely be adopted by other companies. Starbucks has shown its social innovation and dedication for generations. They are hoping that their compostable cup will be ready within the next two years.

The term, “social enterprise” is used a lot. There is a lot under the umbrella and many different activities can fall into it. There are benefits for organizations who show that they care about their community and take action. The methods above are great examples of how you can help the world to be a better place and make your business reputable among your customers. This is an excellent way of getting brand recognition, and gives you and your employees a sense of purpose.

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Loraine Couturier
Staff writer: Loraine Couturier is a jet set writing chick from Canada that travels around the globe. Her writing and marketing skills are what keeps her eating exotic meals and jumping on planes. Loraine loves writing about pretty much anything and likes to pass on the knowledge she has to others. Visit her at lorainecouturier.com

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Staff writer: Loraine Couturier is a jet set writing chick from Canada that travels around the globe. Her writing and marketing skills are what keeps her eating exotic meals and jumping on planes. Loraine loves writing about pretty much anything and likes to pass on the knowledge she has to others. Visit her at lorainecouturier.com

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