Guest Post for Social Enterprise UK: Why Should We Buy Social?

as published by SEUK on SocialSaturday.org

originally posted 13th September 2014.

To celebrate the launch of Social Saturday, it is only fit to pose the question of why ‘buying social’ is so important. As a company based on the concept of buying for social good, we tend to passionately discuss this question quite a bit at GiveMeTap HQ. However, when I ask friends & family this same question, there can be a lot of vague nuances of saving the environment or helping the poor, when actually, there is so much more to it.

Recently, we’ve seen an emergence of businesses that sell products in order to serve their customers as well as produce some sort of social good. This means we’ve discovered a world in which we don’t have to differentiate between making money and helping others. We’ve also seen an increase in people actually buying from these businesses, meaning that this new world could actually work! This is why each of us should ignite this culture of socially conscious buying.

Taking a step back, this prospect can seem a bit overwhelming. How can one person, buying their daily essentials, make that much of a difference? It is actually quite an exciting prospect. For example, according to studies in the US, 51% of Millennials are already changing their buying behaviours away from environmentally unfriendly brands . It is this behaviour and being more conscious of what enters your household, you intrinsically feed this culture to the people around you.

For example, at your next meeting, you may suggest the environmental benefits for your business to swap to a more sustainable printer, or the cost benefits of abolishing plastic cups, improving the culture of responsibility within the firm. You may even share your new way of living with your friends who then start buying fair trade snacks for their children’s lunchboxes and environmentally friendly toilet roll for home. The change in what you purchase is noticed by other businesses that then recognise that they can provide these socially responsible options. This is the ideal we can strive for.

The evidence of this can be seen first hand in the running of our own business. Through a small, simple purchase of buying a GiveMeTap bottle, we have been able to help bring clean water to almost 5000 people in Africa, while people have been able to live more sustainably, switching away from plastic bottles. They then spread the GiveMeTap mission to friends, family and even their workplace, meaning that we can further our impacts as our company grows.

We underestimate the sheer power that we have as individuals who make a choice to buy things and what this translates to. As we’ve learnt from our friend, Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. When we buy a bar of chocolate or a new T-shirt, not only do we have the influence to effect what flavours or prints are released next season, we are exercising the ability to effect how a business interacts with the World. Use your power!

Over & Out

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