Speaking of business strategy and CSR, can you touch on the role of B Corps in addressing the Global Goals and any trends you see upcoming for social enterprises?
“Social enterprises have gained immense momentum in recent times as far as being viewed as the catalysts for solving the world’s biggest challenges. At SAP, we believe that social enterprises do play a key role in addressing the Global Goals. B Corps is one of the few certifications that officially classify an organization as a socially responsible enterprise. While such certifications are not available in all parts of the world, we do include a wide range of social enterprises as host clients for our Social Sabbatical program, i.e. in addition to working with traditional nonprofits, we also work to provide pro bono consulting and build capacity for social enterprises. Besides our pro bono work, we are seeing an increased interest from companies that are willing to focus on working with social enterprises for topics like skills-based volunteering, social procurement, etc. As an example, SAP is in the process of aligning our efforts to increase support for social enterprises by leveraging our talent, technology, ecosystem, and partnerships approach,” says Hemang Desai, Global Program Director, SAP Social Sabbatical Portfolio.
What is an example of a way your company or organization has connected or engaged its employees with pro bono or the overall SDGs?
“The IMPACT2030 Employees for the Global Goals (#Employees4SDGs) resources are a great way for companies to connect their employees with the SDGs. The resources are open source and available in ten languages. Introducing the Global Goals connects your employees with your company’s engagement around the SDGs and how they can help advance the Goals through their volunteer actions. Employees Teach the Global Goals, in collaboration with the World’s Largest Lesson, takes your employees into classrooms to introduce school children to the SDGs to inspire their curiosity and ignite action,” says Sue Stephenson, Interim CEO, IMPACT2030.
“One of the core benefits of Global Pro Bono is the ability to engage employees in the corporation’s key social priorities, which often align to SDGs, while also building the employee’s skills sets and corporate brand in the community where they are working. For example, SAP has the Social Sabbatical where it engages hundreds of employees each year to prepare organizations and communities for the digital economy. 3M engages hundreds of employees each year through their Global Pro Bono program, 3M IMPACT. 3M found that many employees wanted to participate in a program that leveraged their professional skills to feel engaged in their work, community, and create a positive social impact addressing key issues they care about. Global Pro Bono enables them to do just that, and scale to a size that fits their company,” says Gavin Cepelak, Vice President, PYXERA Global.
How do you get local companies to care about global issues? My organization provides services in Malawi, Africa and we find it difficult to secure corporate partners because most want to benefit their local area. Is there a way to get them to care or should we just be targeting different companies?
“The SDGs were adopted by all 193 members states of the United Nations and are applicable to every country and community around the world. To quote Chris Jarvis, Co-Founder of IMPACT2030 and Executive Director of Realized Worth Institute: “These Goals are for all of us – not just developing nations or the poorest nations. It is the genius of these goals because they belong to all of us. It means we’re all in and need to solve them together,” says Sue Stephenson, Interim CEO, IMPACT2030.
How do you make sure that all stakeholders in a collaboration meet the goals that they initially agree to?
“Partnership isn’t easy, but it’s often worth it because the challenges we are addressing are just too large for one organization or sector to tackle alone. Holding each other accountable in a collaboration is a challenge most everyone has experienced. Setting expectations early on in the collaboration, and in writing, is so very important. It’s helpful to have expectations, roles, and other key communication in writing so you can reflect back on it throughout the collaboration. The other factor is consistent communication on progress or challenges so that if needed, adjustments can be made. Communicating clearly and consistently with collaborators keeps everyone on the same page and keeps expectations top of mind,” says Gavin Cepelak, Vice President, PYXERA Global.
Do you see the Corporate Champions being open to all organizations?
“At IMPACT2030 we are very excited about the potential of Corporate Champions for Education. Collaboration is a multiplier of impact and this program offers multiple benefits to both companies already engaged in Global Pro Bono and those just starting to engage with these types of opportunities. The anchor funding by SAP highlights the company’s commitment to collaboration and a recognition that by bringing together skills professionals from across industry sectors it enables greater inclusion and increased impact for the recipient organizations,” says Sue Stephenson, Interim CEO, IMPACT2030.
“Absolutely! The idea behind Corporate Champions for Education is to foster collaboration and lower the barrier to entry into the world of Global Pro Bono volunteering. Based on the tremendous benefits & triple impact we have seen – to the host nonprofits/clients, participants, and the corporates running these programs, we want to provide a platform to companies of all sizes to join us in this journey. The program does not require any commitments with regards to minimum number of employees participating or repeat participation in subsequent cohorts with the idea that we can enable a wide range of companies to participate at the scale of their choice. Whether it is a company that already runs an established pro bono program, or one that is considering entering this practice area, we’re looking to leverage the power of different companies’ talent coming together to build capacity for the selected nonprofits,” says Hemang Desai, Global Program Director, SAP Social Sabbatical Portfolio.
“Of course, as a key partner with SAP on the Corporate Champions for Education, we have intentionally designed this program to be open to any company interested. We know that multi-company programs, such as this one, are easier to join than independent Global Pro Bono programs. We have found that creating diverse teams, across industries from big or medium-sized companies, adds significant value to the participant experience and solutions to the local organization’s challenges,” says Gavin Cepelak, Vice President, PYXERA Global.
Additional Resources, Reports, or Websites