Customers, employees, and investors demand it: Driving an inclusive and sustainable business that benefits all is not just an imperative, it is a movement.
At SAP Select, Adaire Fox-Martin, member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, Global Customer Operations, sat down with Academy Award-winning actor and social business advocate Natalie Portman to discuss inconvenient truths – and convenient solutions in partnership with social enterprises.
“Corporations need to be inspired by social enterprise to see there’s actually a market; when you can see that doing good is profitable, people get excited,” Portman shared with an audience of business leaders. “I think we can be creative in seeing how it’s possible to do good and do well.”
“If we aren’t radical, extreme, and immediate in our changes, we’re going to have to answer to our own kids,” she said. There is no economy with no planet. If this planet is gone, then your money’s not going to be worth anything.”
The Oscar winner offered optimism through choice – consumers and corporations alike can effect significant change simply by being thoughtful in where they spend their dollars, pounds and euros.
Hear Natalie Portman share her perspectives on social enterprise on One Billion Lives, a brand new content channel brought to you by Social Enterprise UK and SAP dedicated to sharing stories from the world of social enterprise. Listen here.
Bringing it back to business, Fox-Martin appealed to the audience that one of the most effective levers organizations can pull on to find a better way to grow is procurement, specifically with social enterprises. Organizations around the world are spending trillions on the day-to-day goods they need to run their businesses, but the majority are missing out on the opportunity to direct this spend to suppliers that not only deliver prime quality and competitive price, but also certified social impact.
“This is money you are spending anyway,” she said. “You can buy a ream of paper, or you can buy a ream of paper that is helping educate girls in developing countries. Euro to euro, it will cost you exactly the same. But in terms of value, there’s no contest.”
To put it in perspective for the audience, Fox-Martin said that that the average philanthropic donation fund for a FTSE 100 company is £10 million, while the average procurement spend among those same companies is £4 billion.
“For every euro companies invest in traditional CSR programs, we spend €400 on the goods and services we use to run our business. By simply directing a portion of this spend toward organizations with a social or environmental mission, your spend has a drastically improved impact.”
Ahead of the fireside chat at SAP Select, Fox-Martin and Portman had met up with Berlin-based social enterprises to learn about their products and how their operations and profits benefit local community projects. Over the last three years, SAP has been working closely with social enterprises, building capacity, integrating them into our own supply chain, while at the same time innovating on Ariba Network to make it easier for customers to integrate them into theirs.
In closing the session at SAP Select, Fox-Martin encouraged customers to join SAP in this movement and to seek the company’s support to learn more or take action.
“This will become a core element of business success and business outcome,” she said. “It’s a journey, and it’s better to change now when you can rather than when you have to.”