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Harmonizing Profit And Purpose – Ready To Deploy Strategies For Driving Social Impact In For-Profit Enterprises

Written by: Sandeep Jain, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Sandeep Jain

Social impact implies a significant, positive change that addresses a pressing social challenge. Creating social impact is no longer the domain of social enterprises alone. Every organisation, even one centred around profit, has as much of an opportunity to create social impact; in fact, I would believe even more. For-profit organisations can create much larger impact since they have substantial financial and non-financial resources at their disposal. The heartening news is that more and more organisations are utilising this opportunity, some through their formally structured Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) wings and others by integrating impact in their business models.


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When I talk about impact here, I am not talking about CSR obligations mandated by regulations but more about what organisations can do beyond that. The effect can be much broader and more lasting if it is integrated into the business model rather than just deploying funds into a so-called CSR project to meet legal obligations. Also, this creation of impact doesn’t always have to be at the cost of shareholders. In fact, over time, this impact could even help businesses generate incremental profits.


So, how can organisations re-think impact while they think profit?


Let’s look at this through the lens of what I call the 4P model of creating impact in businesses – through People, Products, Processes and Partners.


People


  • Follow a more ‘diversity and inclusion’ based recruitment policy. Not only in terms of gender but also by being more open to recruiting people with disabilities or from the LGBT community to provide everyone with opportunities for a better existence and decent lives. Diversity in hiring has become even more possible in this hybrid environment, where ‘work from home’ has been well integrated into our new normal. 

  • Create awareness and educate employees on sustainable products and services. Create an employee forum which takes the responsibility of scanning for sustainable products and services to showcase to the employees.

  • Nudge employees to adopt more sustainable living practices and even incentivise them to do so. Even little things such as car-pooling, public transport, cycling to work all go a long way as these have a positive domino effect.

  • Give opportunities to employees to get associated with a social cause.


Products


  • Start with packaging and find ways to simply reduce the extent of packaging material in primary, secondary and tertiary packaging.

  • Move to more sustainable types of packaging – paper, biodegradables, single-layer plastics, etc. Be conscious about the carbon footprint of each material when you are designing or re-designing packaging materials.

  • Provide end of life cycle opportunities in today’s circular economy, through re-purchase partners to help with re-use or responsible disposal.

  • Reduce waste that may be generated as a by-product of the manufacturing process and find ways to re-use or put waste to alternate use.


Processes


  • Improve energy efficiency by monitoring energy better. Developments in IoT-based energy tracking and control systems have made it more possible today than ever before. Moving to alternate sources of energy is another impact opportunity worth looking at.

  • Reduce the consumption of water; this precious resource is depleting fast. So much can be done around water conservation, including reducing water used in the manufacturing process and washing cycles, re-using treated water, using water economising gadgets, rainwater harvesting etc.

  • Move to a paperless or less paper environment, leveraging technology to minimise paper use and eliminate the need for retention of paper records.

  • Plan tree plantation drives supported by employees and communities in/around manufacturing and office facilities.


Partners


  • Make it a policy to support livelihood by providing ‘entrepreneurial’ opportunities to people at the bottom of the pyramid as you build your distribution infrastructure to access markets, especially rural.

  • Engage your customers in a social cause. Make it known to the customers the cause that the organisation stands for, create more awareness around the same and provide opportunities for your customers to engage with the cause.

  • Look at investing in impact businesses that synergise your business or create some start-ups at the intersection of profit and impact.


Almost all of the above not only create a positive impact on people or the planet, but these also give organisations opportunities to reduce costs or make some incremental profits. There has never been a more urgent need and never a better moment than now to integrate impact in your business. Are you willing to go that extra mile?


The impact that an organisation creates is only limited by the imagination and commitment of its people.


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Sandeep Jain Brainz Magazine
 

Sandeep Jain, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Sandeep Jain | Leadership Coach & Strategy Consultant | CEO, Value-Unlocked Private Limited


After +25 years in various finance and business leadership roles across Asia-Pacific, Sandeep now runs a boutique strategy consulting and leadership coaching outfit, Value-Unlocked Private Limited.


Sandeep's purpose is to help organizations and individuals bring to life the amazing success stories they want to script for themselves, and he delivers this through coaching, consulting and facilitation.


As a coach, Sandeep primarily works with CXOs in organization-sponsored engagements and with senior teams on agendas around leadership, strategy, purpose and values, business growth, etc. On the strategy consulting side, he helps companies deliver on their transformation agendas through interventions around route-to-market, portfolio optimization, operational efficiencies, leveraging industry-ready technology solutions, cost savings, and organization re-design.


Sandeep also works as a business coach with aspirational business owners who want to scale up, innovate, professionalize and create an owner-independent business and as a mentor-investor-advisor with start-ups.


Sandeep has also recently authored a book Chase the Change which deals with personal growth and helps people own the change that they want to make in their work, life and relationships.

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