We are now a certified B Corp!

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Can business be a force for good?

We think so. The Social Deck team is proud to announce we’ve been awarded B-Corp certification.

Individually, B Corps meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems.

B-Corps originated in the U.S. to promote businesses with purpose. B-Corporation status is awarded by B-Lab, a non-profit organization dedicated to using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.

B Corp certification is to sustainable business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee.

Today more than 1,640 companies are recognised as B-Corps worldwide, from large businesses like Patagonia and Ben and Jerry’s down to small enterprises selling handmade goods and small agencies like us.

On March 30, The Social Deck became the 110th B-Corp in Australia.

Managing Director, Steven Speldewinde, said:

B-Corp status helps to recognise The Social Deck as a ‘social business’, where our core mission is to achieve positive social change through our work. As part of this, most of our profits are put back in to projects that make a positive difference to society and the environment, including our ‘for purpose’ bank which helps local non-profit and community organisations. 

It’s definitely more than just a label – as part of being awarded B-Corp status, we commit to the highest standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

To receive B-Corp certification we had to score a minimum amount of points based on the impact of our business, including our impact on supporting vulnerable people, our environmental impact and our sustainability as a social business. 

The Social Deck also received additional points because of our commitment to helping to promote other start-ups, social enterprises and not-for-profits across Australia, through Ideas Hoist and Product Hoist.

Insights from the #StartingGood Digital Summit

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Back in October we attended the StartingGood Digital Summit, hosted by the team of crowdfunding experts at StartSomeGood. The summit was one of the events forming part of the Changemakers Festival – a series of social change-focused events around Australia in that particular week.

At The Social Deck we work as a very distributed team (Canberra, Brisbane Orange and Byron Bay at last check in to our virtual office!), and it was a great opportunity for us to attend a conference ‘together’, while gaining insights into some of the emerging ideas, tools, tactics and techniques for creating social change from some of the leading thinkers in the space.

Although unfortunately we weren’t available to listen to every one of the talks, we thought we’d share a few quality snippets of some of the sessions we ‘attended’.

The Journey of a Social Entrepreneur

The Summit kicked off with a session by Roshan Paul, co-founder of the Amani Institute, a global Higher Education social enterprise that helps change-makers develop knowledge and equips them with the practical skills they need to solve social challenges. He highlighted the need for social entrepreneurs to “train intensely for a career in impact – the way a doctor or Olympic athlete would”, and to immerse themselves in practical experiences to gain the best understanding about how to solve social problems across national boundaries”.

He wrapped up his session with two important lessons from his own experiences co-founding a social enterprise:

1. “Find a co-founder – somebody you can trust and who can equally invest time and money”, and

2. “Start something if you can’t live with not starting it, or join somebody else if you can.”

Social Media – big wins for small organisations

In the second session, Amy Ward, CEO of Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) and Stacey Monk, founder of the social innovation lab, Epic Change, highlighted their personal experiences for creating successful social movements through social media.

Step one is to develop a strong social media strategy. Amy highlighted that: “money is not necessarily the most effective on social media, but time, energy and a good strategy are critical.”

A key theme that emerged was the importance of creating and building trust with your online community. As Amy said: “Those organisations that put their communities first are the most successful on social media. The first step is to find your friends and ask them to come with you. Don’t create new platforms and wait for them to come. They won’t”.

Another theme was that you don’t always have to be the one to instigate or create a new idea – look to what others are saying as well: “Look for what’s trending. What moves you? Share this with your community and start a discussion with what others have created.”

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The science is in – doing good is good for you

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The science is most definitely in – doing good is very good for your mind and body. In fact, being kind and helpful to others has been found to be more effective than the latest wonder drug, vitamin or super food… not least because it’s completely free and accessible to everyone. And the implications are much bigger than the individual, as the positive effects of altruism are spread through social connections, creating an ever-widening positive feedback loop in society.

Volunteering for social good has traditionally been something that we do as individuals, and while some of us manage to scrape together the time to ‘give back’ regularly, for many people I know the common refrain is “something I’d really like to do when I get some more time”. But, what if the positive effects of doing good (and related positive thinking and emotional intelligence skills) could be harnessed in the workplace as well as in our personal lives? In my opinion, this is a triple whammy as there are benefits for individual wellbeing and personal development; organisations get to create meaningful impact through employee engagement to complement existing CSR programs; and communities benefit directly through the skills and support donated to the not-for-profit sector.

What the Science Tells Us

Why is altruism good for us? Continue reading

Social Enterprises and Government: a match made in heaven?

imageAh it feels great! My first new post since we restarted The Social Deck in Brisbane, Australia and already we’ve been to some awesome events and met some really passionate people in the start-up and social change scene.  One of the highlights was ‘Politics in the Pub’ run by the New Farm Neighbourhood Centre and held at the Brisbane Powerhouse. Just the name does it for me – I like politics and beer! But it wasn’t just all about the current political controversies, as you’re probably thinking. Instead, the night’s event focused on a far more interesting topic – ‘A hand-up not a handout. Is social enterprise the answer?’

I wasn’t really surprised to hear some negativity from people regarding recent changes to government and government services. But one of the key points of discussion I found most interesting – and concerning – was the relationship, or lack of, between the rapidly growing social enterprise community in Australia and Government at all levels.

I’ve just come back out of working in the public service in Canberra for the past 15 months. It’s always a great experience; lots of new people to meet and really important issues to sink my teeth into. Issues I believe can improve people’s lives – even when run in the Federal Government dealing with changing politics, uncertain policies and plenty of bureaucracy.

But while Australia has been experiencing so much change politically, some fundamental things about the way our government does business never seem to change, and that’s where I think the greatest barriers are to how much social change we can achieve in Australia.

In my first few blog posts after relaunching The Social Deck, I thought I’d cover a few of these issues. And the first is one of the most discussed topics at the Politics in the Pub earlier this month:

The relationship between Social Enterprise and Government – does it exist, really? Continue reading