How to Work With Social Impact Partners When You’re Not Ready to Start a Social Enterprise

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A company can transition as a sustainable business in stages. Not everything needs to be done at once when you’re striving for sustainable, impact-driven systems. Think of it like planting a tree. Most things with longevity start off small and simple, then grow over a period of time.

Taking the first steps into impact, you can explore third party partners. Your business could team up with initiatives that already engage a social impact concern you’re curious about. Of course, interacting with these initiatives is also a chance to educate yourself and your team on the issue. A third party partner is like having a separate department just for social impact.

Who can you tag team?

Plenty of initiatives provide partnership opportunities. In fact, that’s one of the many ways they make their business model work. You enable them to continue their work at the level they do since a significant amount of impact relies on collaboration. Partnerships position you to amplify impact that’s needed.

On top of amplifying impact, you benefit by taking on less risk. You don’t need to do any research, vetting, or sourcing to create the impact. You can ask questions to get familiar with your partners and their work, then let them create the impact from your support. You’ll most likely help as a direct partner or through a certification.

Direct partnerships are collaborations that relate specifically to a project or campaign. Most initiatives have multiple projects that fall under a larger category. For example, a third party partner could clean the ocean, but they’d have multiple projects around the globe.

Certifications guide companies to create larger impact. Most certification programs have resources to help businesses improve their efforts. Through this, your impact-conscious company can achieve better margins in your triple bottom line: people, planet, and profit.

You can explore the certifications and direct partnerships below to see if their approach suits your business.

The Ocean Cleanup

The Ocean Cleanup funds projects by contributions from teams around the world. All partners support the future clean up systems that get rid of plastic from the ocean. Uniquely, The Ocean Cleanup also works with academic institutions who want to participate as partners.

So far, The Ocean Cleanup works with partners like Coca Cola, Kia, Deloitte, and the University of Miami.

Mission: “The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit organization, is developing and scaling technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. Our aim is to put ourselves out of business once the oceans are clean.”

Planetly

Planetly operates with a community of partners who want to drive impactful corporate climate action. They have a philosophy around holistic carbon management that involves carbon reduction strategies and offsetting.  Companies can use the Climate Impact Manager software for emissions, and explore the ESG Portfolio Management for impact investments.

So far, Planetly works with partners like TravelPerk, Deloitte, and nextbike.

Mission: “To enable businesses to successfully transition to a net zero economy.”

4ocean

4ocean is a B Corp that cleans debris from the oceans, rivers, and coastlines. Company partners can find the global 4ocean projects to make the world’s waterways cleaner. In the process, 4ocean also remembers to take care of their staff who work directly in the cleanup projects. Doing so gave local economies that depend on the ocean an alternative for steady work.

Mission: “4ocean is an ocean cleanup company dedicated to ending the ocean plastic crisis.”

Big Blue Ocean Cleanup

Big Blue Ocean Cleanup manages a list of sustainable solutions with support from business partners. They handle plastic offsetting, establish marine nature reserves, protect vulnerable marine animals, provide free educational resources, research ocean pollution for policy change, and support the development of innovative technologies.

Mission: “To drive positive change towards clean oceans that support all marine wildlife and sustainable living.”

We Don’t Waste

We Don’t Waste collaborates with impact conscious companies to reduce hunger and food waste. They focus on getting surplus food to organizations that can feed communities, such as food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, schools and more. We Don’t Waste does their own initiatives as well, including their mobile food market that travels to food deserts.

Mission: “We support the community and the environment by reclaiming and redistributing quality food to those in need.”

Peace in Schools

Peace in Schools works with businesses to support their mindfulness programs for schools. Together, they encourage well-being that is equity-active, trauma-informed, and mindfulness-based. Partners can participate in a number of ways: sponsor incentives for their program, match funds, offer commission, promote as ambassadors, or in-kind services.

Mission: “Our mission is to create safer schools, healthier communities, and a more peaceful world by bringing mindfulness to students and teachers.“

Climate Neutral

Climate Neutral requires company partners to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from making and delivering their products and services. They cover the GHG emissions by investing in carbon credits. Climate Neutral guides companies using a “Measure, Reduce, Compensate” philosophy to

So far, Climate Neutral works with partners like Allbirds, Alter Eco, and Avocado Green.

Mission: “Eliminate carbon emissions by making climate neutrality a priority for businesses and consumers.”

Climate Partner

Climate Partner encourages companies to improve climate action. Similar to Climate Neutral, this company follows a process of measuring, reducing, and offsetting. Carbon offset projects that Climate Partner works with comply to recognized standards, such as the Gold Standard or the Verified Carbon Standard.

Mission: “We believe that the path to sustainability should be straightforward for businesses—and just as easy for consumers to navigate.”

Climate Impact Partners

Climate Impact Partners uses their CarbonNeutral Protocol to guide businesses. They describe their projects as carbon credit and energy attribute certificate portfolios. Their climate partnerships are not only for corporates, NGOs, but the also work with government organizations.

Mission: “Carbon neutrality delivers climate action now and supports the global low-carbon transformation.”

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