Are Social Businesses the Catalyst for Increased Global Equality?
By Grace Blackford
In recent years, Australia’s national agenda has shifted to focus on retaining power and influence within the Pacific region, with our declining aid budgets focused primarily in this geographic area. Since Australian aid reached its peak in 2011-12, there has been a declining budget towards foreign aid and the resulting public dialogue surrounding this has increased significantly. So why is everyone relying upon governmental efforts to champion these goals? Despite the role that non-governmental groups are taking, ultimately the spotlight is placed upon nations, often disregarding the work of smaller organisations.
The responsibility to work upon building a sustainable future falls into every individual’s hands, not just those of the government. Larger corporations meet Corporate Social Responsibility goals, but are these sustainable in the long run? Likewise, global charities also work towards achieving the SDG’s, but are these also sustainable and effective in the long-term? So, what is an ideal way to achieve the UN SDGs from a grassroots approach, ensuring that a sustainable future is achieved?
A social business is one that uses enterprise to tackle social issues. It takes a business model, designed specifically to fit the local communities’ needs, and then seeks to create a profitable business that delivers sustainable goods and services that are needed within the community.
To provide an example of a social business, take FarmEd, one of the projects led by Project Everest Ventures. The project focuses on Goal 2 of the UN SDGs; Zero Hunger. FarmEd aims to achieve this by improving agricultural practices to increase income and food security for farmers in a number of developing countries with a heavy reliance on subsistence farming.
FarmEd is a technology-based consultancy service and permaculture farming device that brings agricultural expertise to small holder farmers, to create a food supply chain that is smarter, more efficient and more profitable. Upon identifying a genuine need through extensive empathising in local villages of countries such as Fiji, Timor-Leste, Cambodia and Malawi, the project has been successfully implemented. Not only does this work to achieve Goal 2 of the UN SDGs, but its effects are multifaceted, as the positive flow on effects work to achieve many other SDGs as well.
Social businesses are a growing force in the world of social issues and it is only a matter of time before they are the leading effort in achieving the UN SDGs; so why sit back and expect governments to solve the world’s issues?