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Working sustainably – good for society, good for you

As Bob Dylan sang in the 1960s, the times they are a changin’. Sustainability and sustainable investment have grown in recent years in response to societal and environmental needs as well as pressure from the public and consumers.

From paying the living wage to tackling climate change, organisations are now expected to act more sustainably. Working with social enterprises and other sustainable firms as part of your FM supply chain is one way of doing this. You can support domestic and international causes and change many, many lives. In return, you get a quality product or service – a win-win situation for all.

There are many benefits from sustainable procurement, both for your organisation and for society. In this article, social enterprise, CLARITY takes a look at some of the key ones.

The benefits for society
Procuring sustainably and from social enterprises changes lives, giving people a chance to those who really need it. Your purchasing power can tackle long-term unemployment, provide drinking water in the developing world and be better for the environment.

Here at CLARITY and The Soap Co., 80 per cent of our staff are blind, disabled or disadvantaged. The impact of companies purchasing our soap and products on their lives cannot be overstated. In 2016, we provided 10,000 hours of employment for more than 100 members of staff. Large facilities management providers are key to making this a reality.

Some of our employees have never worked before joining us. They may stay for just six months to gain experience, skills and confidence before getting a job elsewhere. For example, Ronald who has epilepsy hadn’t worked for 30 years. Once ready, he hopes to get a job in a warehouse or supermarket. Others are unable to work elsewhere so remain here for their working lives.

But the impact working here has had on our employees goes beyond the pay check or even the experience gained. It has provided friendship and support e.g. with financial troubles in addition to improve improved mental wellbeing. The spill over from this, in many cases, is our staff have become more independent and less reliant on their loved ones or support from the government or council.

You can watch our employees’ stories in the video below:

Of course, we are not the only social enterprise that works in this way. For example, Old Spike Roastery employs homeless people as coffee baristas, providing training and support with housing to get these individuals back on their feet.

The benefits for the environment
Working with social enterprises doesn’t just support people, but can promote environmental sustainability, reduce CO2 emissions and tackle climate change. With widespread acceptance of the need to be green amongst the public, this is something companies really cannot ignore.

Through CSR-focused procurement, we can help you make a difference. From our manufacturing process to the ingredients we choose, we minimise the impact we have on the environment and we are always looking at further innovations and improvements. Our commitment is highlighted by the fact that we hold the Planet Mark and have pledged to reduce CO2 emissions by five per cent year on year.

To drive our eco-mission and help other companies become greener, we have launched our new environmentally friendly range, CLARITYeco. The first product in this range is an eco-foaming hand wash made with 100 per cent eco certified vegan ingredients, is biodegradable and free from allergens, gluten and GMO. Compared to traditional soap, it uses 80 per cent less soap and requires 10 per cent less water.

But we’re not the only company that promotes sustainable environmental products and achieve great CSR. For example, The Cheeky Panda produces toilet roll and tissue paper made from bamboo rather than traditional wood. Bamboo provides a number of environmental benefits over normal toilet paper.  Bamboo is the world’s fastest growing plant and produces 65 per cent less carbon than traditional tree based products. It is also free from fertilisers and pesticide which is healthier and great for sensitive skin. This innovative company is a best seller on Amazon and provides product innovation for large Janitorial companies like Bunzl and Lyreco.

Protecting the environment has never been so easy or affordable and working with social enterprises and sustainable firms that prioritise the planet is one great way of doing so.

The benefits for you
The benefits of sustainable procurement extend to your firm, boosting your reputation, supporting employee recruitment and retention and your relationship with your customers.

As a social enterprise, we know the tangible difference to people’s lives each relationship with a large organisation can make. We endeavour to make sure our partnership works and go beyond simply selling you products. We help firms shout about the social impact of their purchasing decisions. For employees, we do this through mirror stickers and other marketing materials and for customers and external stakeholders, we can co-create press releases, blogs and social media content.

Boosting your reputation in this way can help you win contracts to deliver facilities management for a range of large corporations. We supply our products to large accountancy firms, government departments, law firms and hotel chains. Aligning your sustainability goals with theirs can help to build stronger relations, win and renew contracts. From our experience, for large corporations, having an FM provider which is on board and able to install our products quickly is hugely beneficial.

Conclusion
The benefits of procuring sustainably and working with social enterprises are clear. Through your purchasing decisions, you can buy products that do good and are good. You have the ability to change lives, support society and protect the environment whilst getting quality products in return.

Here at CLARITY and The Soap Co. we think this decision is a no brainer. We hope you’d agree.

Click here to find out more about our range of products and the impact you can have.

 

About Sarah OBeirne

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