Aussie kids are Weet-bix kids – so the advertising jingle goes. Yup, Weet-Bix is a great Australian breakfast tradition (my 5 year old eats between 3 and 5 per day) but something lots of people don’t realise is that by purchasing Sanitarium’s Weet-Bix (and their other products) they are actually supporting a charity. Sanitarium is a social enterprise, owned wholly by Seventh Day Aventist Church. 100% of profits go direct to the church.
For those of you who don’t know what a social enterprise is, a social enterprise is usually a commercial venture set up where the profits go directly to funding/helping a social cause. I say usually as social enterprise can take many forms; for-profit, not-for-profit and some times simply for social inclusion. An easy example of a social enterprise is an op-shop where the funds raised through the sale of donated second hand clothing, go to supporting a charity, a particular social outcome or cause.
There are lots of ways that you, the consumer, can do good every day, without really having to put much energy towards it (sometimes you probably already are, without even realising it e.g. buying Weet-Bix). There are many amazing social entrepreneurs creating innovative businesses, formed entirely to fund their cause.
Late last year, lovers of shiny shoes and social enterprises alike welcomed Australia’s first social franchise in Brisbane. Buffed is a network of shoe shine stands that creates micro business opportunities for people whose employment outlook is limited – such as recently arrived migrants, people with unstable health, or those who lack the basic skills required for mainstream employment. Buffed is the brainchild of the Wise Foundation, Bank of Queensland, University of Queensland Business School and The Body Shop, Buffed has two stands currently operating in the Brisbane CBD, with plans for a national rollout later this year.
Another couple of my favourite social enterprises are:
The Big Issue Australia is one of Australia’s leading social enterprises providing creative solutions to the issue of homelessness, producing a fortnightly current affairs magazines where street vendors (who are homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged) buy the magazine for $2.50 from The Big Issue and sell it on the streets for $5, keeping the difference, helping them make positive change in their lives.
Expresso Train in Nundah Brisbane, a cafe who (successfully) market themselves to passers by as a lovely cafe and corporations for catering work. Expresso Train create sustainable employment and training opportunities for people with mental illness, learning difficulties or intellectual disability.
Human Creative is an award winning graphic design agency based in Brisbane Australia, servicing the communication design needs of a range of clients for over 10 years. Design for Good is not just a clever tag line, 100% of Human Creative’s profits are put to work in the organisation to deliver programs and initiatives that bring about good in the community.
There is a fantastic directory of social enterprises in Australia, with 5237 listings: Social Enterprise Finder
There are many companies to be admired for quietly doing more than just adding to their bottom line and aren’t shouting their do-gooding actions from the rooftops or using it as a marketing ploy. Do you have a favourite socially responsible business or enterprise?
Have a GREAT day!