Analysis: How Companies Can Partner With Social Enterprises in Their Value Chains
We have a hard road ahead to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. But we’re seeing strategic global companies step up — setting ambitious targets and mainstreaming sustainability investments within core business strategy. Here, a company’s own value chain is an obvious starting point. How might a product’s journey from design to post-consumption better benefit communities and the environment along the way?
A growing number of leading companies are answering this question, in part, through partnerships with social enterprises. Social enterprises are mission-led organizations — for-profit or nonprofit — that tap market forces to explicitly create social or environmental impact. Catalyst 2030 (a global network of social entrepreneurs) and Resonance (a mission-led global consulting firm) recently completed new research exploring how companies are strategically engaging social enterprises in their value chains and beyond.
What we found is that social enterprises have much to offer: They’re testing and scaling innovative new business models that can help companies solve key sustainability challenges; reach underserved customer populations; and advance more ethical, more resilient supply chains.
Photo courtesy of Solar Sister.