From pay it forward schemes to eco friendly products, to cafes that employ individuals with additional needs, chances are you’ve know of a social enterprise or interacted with one in some way.
It was around 10 years ago that Toms, the shoe brand, hit high streets with their promise to give a pair of shoes for each one that was purchased. and it was the first time in my memory at least that a big brand had social impact built into their business model.
And of course there’s the brands that make an impact not so much in what they do, but how they do it. Lush is famous for selling bath bombs, but you may be less familiar with their vegetarian, cruelty free and ethically sourced ingredients, eco friendly packaging, fair pay, and commitment to raise awareness of and money for good causes.
And it’s not just a handful of big names that have made a commitment to make positive social and environmental change. It’s happening at every level from grassroots community projects, local high street shops, and makers and bakers operating from their kitchen tables.
But what really is a social enterprise?
Well, a social enterprise is a business or organisation with doing good locked into their legal structure. You may or may not have heard of CICs or SCIOs or other legal terms that denote that a business has legally committed to ploughing a certain amount of profits into creating positive change in their chosen area.
But what about the sole trader that has decided they want to do more for their community?
What about the big company that wants to use it resources to make a difference?
What about the shop owner that wants to reduce their environmental impact?
Or the service provider that realises they can make a difference by offering services free to individuals that couldn’t ordinarily afford them?
That’s where More Than Profit comes in. We want to recognise and encourage the fact that any organisation, regardless of legal structure, can and should incorporate positive change into what they do.
So why is it called ‘More Than Profit’?
Well firstly an organisation that defines itself this way will be making a conscious and sustained effort to create positive impact. Which may be through what they do, how they do it, who they work with, who they sell to, or what they do with their profits, or all of the above. This is the ‘More Than’ part.
But why the ‘Profit’?
We want organisations that are committed to creating change to be able to do so as affectively as possible, for as long as possible, and have as far a reach as possible. And what is the only way to ensure sustained impact and growth to allow further impact? Profit.
Now more than ever it has become clear that businesses and organisations are up against a plethora of economical challenges and at the same time the tide of social, economical and environmental issues is rising.
Organisations need to guarantee they are resilient against ongoing and upcoming financial challenges before they can commit to making a sustainable and long term commitment to tackling the tidal wave of issues facing us today and in the near future.
Businesses will need to ensure they themselves can stay afloat before opening the floodgates to any issues they which to tackle.
The ‘More Than Profit’ model is built on the idea that you can guarantee your social impact through ensuring profit, and on the flipside, the more profit you generate, the larger the scope you have for creating positive impact (large corporates, please take note).
If you’re skim reading, have skipped to the end, or have read everything and still aren’t quite sure how to describe a More Than Profit, here’s our definition:
More Than Profit: An organisation, operating under any legal structure that aims to create positive social or environmental impact through ensuring sustainable, reliable and diverse income streams.
If you’d like to find out more about the More Than Profit model, or how to embody it within your own organisation visit our webpage for The Circle Academy. We offer a range of learning programmes designed for individuals running or interested in More Than Profit business skills.