Social Responsibility and The Future of Business

Hey Legacy Makers!

Social entrepreneurship incubates a symbiotic relationship between capitalism and social good. This utilizes capitalism’s resources to benefit people and planet- a marriage set in CSRS heaven! Following last week’s post, where we were introduced to the concept of capitalism and sustainability, this week’s post further explores the intersection of making money work for social, environmental and/or political good. As progressive actions to combat injustices surface as major determinants of economic sustainability for many organizations, social entrepreneurship and social enterprises are emerging as strong career prospects and becoming more prominent in the current societal consciousness.

Social enterprises and social entrepreneurship provide economic activity while creating positive social impact, which is at the core of their mission. This also provides deep loyalty among team members as intrinsic motivations that truly align the company values with personal missions, cultivating an inspired and evidently happier environment.

So what’s the distinct line between social enterprises and non-profits? The main difference lies in the acquisition of funds, operations and returns on investment. Non-profits aim to increase funds towards bettering a social, environmental or political cause. Social enterprises are organizations that use commercial strategies to maximize economic and social value alongside improving the wellbeing of people and planet. Non-profits raise funds through fundraisers, grants and donations and rely heavily on the support of the government and donors. Social enterprises are for-profit organizations that sell products or services that contribute to the improvement of an injustice. Non-profits donates all revenues towards their cause with almost absolute social ROI whereas, social enterprises invest their revenue towards both the social mission and furthering their product or service, combining social and financial ROI.

The area of fundraising is also evolving, and non-profits are adapting traditionally “for-profit” practices to better spread awareness and acquire funds. For instance, the WE Foundation sells merchandise made by the local communities of the recipients of their aid. As with every industry, the non-profit sector is also evolving to the changing demands and behaviours of donors, with the use of social media and other technology that is disrupting the space.

What are Examples of Social Ventures?

Many have an assumption that social entrepreneurs may be small-scale, but these profit- generating, social impact business models have been adopted by various multinational organizations and powerful business professionals. For instance, Facebook’s CEO- Mark Zuckerberg, and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan-founded the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, as the philanthropic arm of Google, and eBay founder, Pierre Omidyar, started The Omidyar Network. All of these operate as a private foundation, under Section 501( c ) (3) of the Internal revenue Code or as a limited liability company. This allows them greater flexibility, and go beyond making philanthropic grants. They could invest in companies, lobby for legislation and seek to influence public policy debates, which non-profits are restricted from doing under tax laws. This allows for greater privacy and control towards their initiatives to generate grander impact.

What are some Careers with a Socially Responsible Business Model?

There’s many ways to intersect your passions for finance, marketing, accounting, etc. and social impact, especially with corporations focusing on becoming more CSR driven. For instance, there are careers within corporate responsibility, diversity and inclusion, impact investing, and social impact consultants. Impact investing is investing in organizations and funds with intentions to generate measurable and beneficial social or environmental impact with financial return. Another example is pursuing a career in computer science as an ethical hacker to retain network security. With all these, it is using talents and skills with the common denominator of doing good.

What is the Future of Social Entrepreneurship?

The future of social enterprises lies in the conscious shift of recent generations to hold businesses on a higher degree of responsibility to care for more than just the bottom line. With new careers developing from social impact-driven industry trends, the future of business and societal good is a boundary that increasingly seems to blur and is becoming more interconnected as many look for purpose in their daily lives. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it has been increasingly what consumers are demanding as up to 53% of consumers state that when price and quality are equal, the main factor driving their purchase decisions would be social or environmental benefits. Now more than ever, the entrepreneurial spirit is ignited to motivate innovation in our world where young and bold leaders are called to make significant changes not only for profit, but the planet and people too.


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