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做生意的同时行善?不是没可能

Adaire Fox-Martin 2019年09月16日

今天的经济、社会和环境正在重新定义社会企业,并推动了爆发性增长。

过去10年,经济增长推动了全球发展。GDP增长率维持了十年的正增长,通货膨胀很低,技术发展令企业效率提升至前所未有的水平。然而,伴随种种成功则是更多不平等和贫富差距日益扩大。

想想看:据估计,世界上最富有的26人拥有的财富与最贫穷的38亿人相当,38亿人已超过世界人口的一半。随着商业界保持近来时间最长的连续增长,公司明显有义务和责任支持社会企业,利用自身影响力打造更具包容性的经济繁荣。

20世纪70年代,社会企业的商业模式在英国首次出现,自那时起以来一直都存在。虽然这不算新概念,但今天的经济、社会和环境正在重新定义社会企业,并推动了爆发性增长。

千禧一代和Z世代的人均已成年,也在数字工具中找到了力量,得以激发社会变革。这几代人深切关注影响数十亿人生活的问题,要么希望为体现相关意识的公司工作,要么就自己创立企业践行理念。事实上,根据汇丰私人银行的研究, 35岁以下的企业主中将近四分之一认为造福社会是创立公司的主要动机。

社会企业是具有明确社会或环保使命的营利性企业,高达50%或更多的利润重新投入到为之努力的事业中。虽然这听起来跟公司增长不是一回事,但行善的同时打造不断增长的公司是有可能做到的。看看美国的创新能源公司BioLite,或是英国的办公用品公司WildHearts Office就知道了。该行业正在蓬勃发展,全球范围内的类似公司已多达百万家,其中80%是在过去10年中成立的。

公司的价值越发取决于对社会和环境的影响,投资界也注意到这个机会,意识到相关领域可以赚到大钱。但是,风险资本融资对公司的推动也只能走到这一步,公司要有与客户建立联系,才能实现真正的飞跃。

如果可以选择,大多数公司都会选择支持社会企业。思爱普公司正与英国社会企业组织合作提供连接,帮助公司找到社会企业并达成商业合作,主要方式是利用旗下的数字市场平台Ariba网络,全球各地的买家和供应商每年在该平台上交易商品和服务的价值高达3万亿美元。通过将影响力驱动型公司与企业客户联系起来,就可以推动更具包容性和可持续性,也能创造更多利润的经济。

公司想要支持社会企业的话,不必非要自身转型为社会企业。释放劳动力支持社会进步,将社会企业整合到供应链中,密切观察自身业务发展如何改变世界就可以。无论是传统企业、公认的社会企业还是个人员工,要想真正帮助世界更好地运作并改善人民生活,都要拿出创业精神服务于每个人的社会使命,打造更加公平的世界,让所有人过上美好的生活。(财富中文网)

Adaire Fox-Martin是思爱普的执行董事会成员。

Over the past 10 years, economic growth has fueled a global evolution. Gross domestic product rates are on a decade-long positive run. Inflation is low. And technology is enabling levels of corporate efficiency never seen before. However, with this success comes greater examples of inequality and a growing gap between the rich and poor.

Consider this: It’s estimated that the 26 richest people in the world have the same wealth as the poorest 3.8 billion—more than half of the world’s population. As the business world enjoys one of the greatest streaks of growth in recent memory, companies have a clear duty and responsibility to put their relevance to work for a more inclusive kind of prosperity, by supporting social enterprises.

A commercial model for social enterprise has existed since the 1970s, when it was first developed in the United Kingdom. While it’s not a novel concept, today’s economic, social, and environmental circumstances are leading to a redefinition of what social enterprise is and an explosion in the movement’s growth.

Millennial and Generation Z workers have come of age and found empowerment in digital tools that enable them to inspire social change. These generations have demonstrated that they care deeply about issues that affect billions of lives and want to work for companies—or start their own—that reflect this consciousness. In fact, nearly a quarter of business owners under the age of 35 consider benefiting society to be their main motivation, according to research from HSBC Private Banking.

Social enterprises are income-generating businesses with clear social or environmental missions that plow up to 50% or more of their profits back into their cause. While that may sound like a counter-intuitive move for growth, it is possible to build a growing business while doing good. Look no further than BioLite, an innovative energy company in the United States, or WildHearts Office, an office supply company in the United Kingdom. This is a burgeoning sector, numbering in the millions of companies worldwide, of which 80% have been founded in only the past 10 years.

A company's worth is increasingly determined by its societal and environmental impact, and the investment community is taking notice of the opportunity, realizing there’s big money to be made in this space. But venture capital funding will only get these companies so far. Their real surge comes with the power of being connected to customers.

If given the choice, most companies would opt to support social enterprises. At SAP, we are partnering with Social Enterprise UK to use our Ariba network—a digital marketplace where buyers and suppliers across the globe transact $3 trillion in goods and services every year—to provide the connecting fabric for corporations to find and do business with social enterprises. By connecting these impact-driven companies to corporate customers, we can power a more inclusive, more sustainable, and even more profitable economy.

You don’t need to be a social enterprise to support social enterprises. Unleash your workforce in support of social improvement, integrate social enterprises into your supply chain, and watch the world-changing effects of your operations grow. Whether a traditional corporation, a certified social enterprise, or an individual employee, if we want to truly help the world run better and improve people’s lives, we need to put our entrepreneurial spirit in the service of everyone’s social missions and create a fairer world where everyone prospers.

Adaire Fox-Martin is a member of the executive board of SAP.

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