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Walking the Talk:
How Companies Are Delivering on the Promise of Social Impact

The metrics used by consumers, employees and investors to measure a company’s success are changing quickly, so the most forward-looking businesses are focused on implementing solutions that benefit people, society and the planet more-broadly — while bolstering their bottom line, too.

The role of business is shifting quickly amidst the proliferation of global challenges such as climate change or the deepening disparities in health, housing, education, and wealth. Today, consumers, employees and investors expect corporations to act sustainably with greater transparency – while also giving back to the communities in which they operate.

The good news is that more CEOs and executive teams are coming to a consensus regarding the shift in focus from shareholders to stakeholders. Last summer, 181 CEOs signed the Business Roundtable’s new memo on the “Purpose of a Corporation,” which emphasized their commitment to customers, employees, suppliers, and communities more broadly. While these commitments are an important indicator of the shift, it appears marketing teams are many years ahead of other departments when it comes to turning these purpose-driven aspirations into action.

The discrepancy between benevolent mission statements and the strategies in place to execute them are breeding a new wave of cynicism among the general public, who can quickly detect marketing gimmicks from genuine commitments backed by the company’s resources and financial support. Considering the formidable nature of the modern enterprise, companies need to identify ways they can leverage their core business operations to help address a key social need. Our goal at Givewith is to help corporations walk the talk, making it easy for companies and nonprofits to partner, and ultimately deliver on the promise of social purpose.

Here’s a look at how companies are embedding social impact directly into their strategies to drive tangible, measurable change:

SAP Ariba’s integration with Givewith

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In November, we announced a partnership with SAP Ariba, to integrate our platform and add social impact programs directly into the company’s sourcing and procurement process. SAP Ariba is the world’s largest business-to-business network, and this integration enables millions of buyers and suppliers in the Ariba Network to add social impact funding into the process they are already using. This is a remarkable opportunity to scale social innovation — if just 8 percent of the nearly $3 trillion worth of transactions that are processed through the Ariba Network annually use Givewith, this would generate over $3 billion in new funding for nonprofits taking on the most pressing issues of our time. This not only generates new funding for the world’s most effective nonprofit organizations, it also creates unprecedented business value and allows organizations to deliver on their social purpose promises.

Sperry and Waterkeeper Alliance’s sustainability initiative

Footwear brand Sperry has built its brand identity around its “love for the sea,” which is why its partnership with Waterkeeper Alliance — the largest and fastest-growing nonprofit solely focused on clean water — made perfect sense. By joining forces, the two organizations are combatting the ocean plastics epidemic by “introducing a new collection of shoes for men, women and kids, made with BIONIC® material, which is spun from plastic recovered from marine and coastal environments.” The company is complementing these efforts with a educational initiative that operates through Amazon’s Echo smart speakers. When prompted, the Sperry Waterkeeper skill on Amazon’s Alexa will offer a range of actionable suggestions for using less plastic.

Walgreens and the United Nations’ Get a Shot. Give a Shot. Campaign

Walgreens has partnered with the United Nations Foundation’s [email protected] campaign to help provide 50 million life-saving vaccines to children around the world since the program’s inception in 2013. As part of the Get a Shot. Give a Shot. program, Walgreens donates the value of a vaccine to the UN Foundation for every immunization administered by the company. The funds generated from this program are donated to [email protected] to help support measles and polio vaccination efforts — which, to date, have helped children in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor and Tanzania. Through this partnership, Walgreens is providing vaccines to remote areas of the world where vulnerable populations have limited access to healthcare, advancing its commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

In the new era of corporate social responsibility, businesses need to identify ways to scale their impact through innovative initiatives and ongoing operations. The metrics used by consumers, employees and investors to measure a company’s success are changing quickly, which is why the most forward-looking businesses are focused on implementing solutions that benefit people, society, and the planet more-broadly — while bolstering their bottom line, too.

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