Companies must address the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals before it’s too late

By Chloe Chong, Communications Manager, Givewith 

The Covid-19 crisis has exposed the deep cracks within our social framework, upending decades of progress on issues such as world hunger, economic empowerment and equality in education. At the same time, we’ve found ourselves at a critical moment of reckoning as Black Lives Matter protests proliferate across the globe, evoked by the wrongful deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless cases of systemic racism that have persisted throughout history. 

Amid the escalation of these imminent challenges, and our inability to address longstanding social challenges, the pressure for businesses to deliver on theUnited Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is growing exponentially. From eradicating world hunger and curbing climate change, to eliminating disparities in race, health, wealth, and education, the SDGs serve as an interconnected framework for achieving prosperity for people and the planet. 

Now more than ever, consumers demand it, employees value it, and investors are seeking it. Yet companies are struggling to identify solutions that simultaneously address societal needs and their organisation’s financial targets.

That’s why Givewith is helping corporations leverage the power of sourcing and procurement to generate new sources of funding for effective social and sustainability programmes, while also providing business value for the buyer and supplier involved. It does this by embedding social impact funding opportunities directly into business-to-business transactions.

A data-driven platform to scale social impact

To achieve all 17 UN SDGs by 2030, companies need to adopt social impact solutions that can be easily embedded into their existing, ongoing operations. In order to scale social impact initiatives swiftly and with precision, technology is key.

“To match companies with the world’s most impactful nonprofits, non-governmental organisations and social enterprises, we needed a data-driven tech solution,” said Paul Polizzotto, founder and CEO of Givewith. “The Givewith platform analyses environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data from the most prominent third-party rating agencies, as well as companies’ own CSR and sustainability commitments, to identify social impact programmes that are financially material to their business.”

Givewith’s platform also accounts for prominent international frameworks, including the UN SDGs, allowing companies to filter by SDG and identify the precise SDGs advanced by a given programme. Together, this data enables companies to select social impact programmes that are business-relevant and generate the greatest impact for the buyer, supplier, and society at large.

Once a company selects a specific social impact programme, the buyer can seamlessly embed it into their requests for proposals (RFPs) or contract renewals, which can help the company identify, select and further support suppliers that share its corporate values.

Leveraging procurement to propel social change

Givewith’s solutions enable procurement teams to gain additional value from their purchasing dollars by aligning their sourcing operations with their corporate sustainability goals, giving Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) and their teams greater visibility among the company’s key decision makers. Driving social impact by tapping into procurement’s immense purchasing power can also help other departments meet their key performance indicators when the impact is delivered to key stakeholders.

“Givewith’s philosophy is that B2B negotiations should not be a zero-sum game,” said Givewith’s Chief Services Officer Theresa Schieber. “The beauty of our social impact solution is that it generates benefits for both the buyer and supplier when executed and communicated correctly.”

Rather than engaging in charity or corporate philanthropy, Givewith helps companies generate shared value that benefits both society and the business’s bottom line. Traditionally, social impact has been reserved for CSR departments, which are often constrained by tight budgets and limited resources. By tapping into the fundamental activity of sourcing and procurement, Givewith is using entirely new funding streams to help solve the world’s most pressing issues.

There’s an enormous opportunity to generate new funding to help achieve the UN SDGs. By integrating its platform with SAP Ariba, Givewith can potentially generate billions in funding for the world’s most effective social impact initiatives. In fact, if just 8 per cent of the nearly $3 trillion transacted by buyers and suppliers across the Ariba Network included Givewith, over $3 billion in funding for nonprofits and social programmes would be generated.

Creating shared value through social impact sourcing

Once a contract that includes Givewith is awarded, and the buyer and supplier confirm the social impact programme they’ve agreed to fund, Givewith facilitates the funding and reports the precise impacts achieved. The buyer and supplier can access a robust library of high-quality, audience-specific storytelling and reporting assets which both companies can use to showcase the impact to their key stakeholders.

“We’ve meticulously designed every asset as an experience to generate value for each department – from investor relations, marketing and communications and human resources, to CSR and sustainability and even the C-suite,” said Polizzotto. For example, Givewith’s assets allow HR teams to share the impact internally, which can improve employee morale, increase retention rates and support recruiting efforts. Likewise, Givewith provides ESG reporting guides to help investor relations teams attract and retain investors.

An example of Givewith Sourcing in action occurred in a transaction between CBS Corporation and HP Inc. When renewing its print programme with HP, CBS integrated Givewith into its RFP process. Through the purchase of equipment from HP, the two companies directed funding to Black Girls CODE, which helped advance the nonprofit’s mission to increase the number of women of colour in the digital space. By tapping into the power of this single transaction, the two companies directly supported 500 women of colour, giving them the opportunity to attend workshops and summer camps in 13 cities across the US. This transaction also benefited both companies by enhancing their CSR commitments and building a strong, diverse talent pipeline.

In order to achieve all 17 UN SDGs by 2030, businesses need to scale their social impact strategies and embed purpose into their everyday business operations. That’s why Givewith is leveraging the fundamental act of buying and selling as an agent for social change, not only to generate new sources of funding for the world’s most effective social impact programs, but to drive unprecedented business value that advances a company’s KPIs.  

To learn more about Givewith and find out how your organisation can make a real impact, please visit www.givewith.com.