01.02.2012

Ethical Evolution

Social enterprise business programs hold promise for the environment, social equity and community support
In a world of dramatic change, we all gain heart from inspirational efforts to improve the lives of our fellow humans around the world. One Health Organisation is one such agent for social enterprise that is achieving great success, as CEO Jimi Wollumbin explains.

"There is strong statistical evidence that consumers really are ascending towards the pinnacle of Maslow's hierarchy of needs." (Saatchi and Saatchi 1999)

All over the industrialised world, a truly remarkable change is taking place. This is not the standard paradigm shift story about quantum physics, Gaia theory and complexity science we have all already heard about, for that is a change in how we think. The change I am talking about is on the same continuum, but is a change in what we actually do.

In the not-for-profit sector this has resulted in what Paul Hawkins describes as the largest scale sociopolitical movement in history, with well over two million community based organisations taking action to address the inequities around them by protecting the environment, upholding human rights and supporting cultural diversity. The thing I find truly remarkable is that as the general public takes action on these matters, they are voting with their wallets and demanding the businesses they support and brands they purchase do no less.

It has resulted in many commentators observing that we are in the midst of the 'third wave' in marketing; in the 'first wave', washing powder was bought because of its functionally unique selling proposition such as "washes whiter"; in the 'second wave' it was sold via an emotionally based selling proposition such as "because you deserve it". In the 'third wave', though, it is increasingly apparent that it must not only fulfil these marketing promises as a brand, but must also make an ethical promise such as 'Gaia's choice'.

If a product is to remain competitive in the 'third wave' it must now have unique functional, emotional and ethical selling propositions.

It certainly seems to me as though the Western market as a whole is maturing exactly as Maslow predicted, from concern centred around physical survival and safety transforming into emotional concerns of belonging and self identity, which is then, in turn, ethically and spiritually transcended by the need for what he termed "self actualisation".

In order for a business or brand to become self actualised, it must mature into genuinely embracing a set of core values that are then enacted via real community engagements. This is the triple bottom line that has replaced the old purely financial bottom line of 1950s style corporations and has resulted in a wide range of Corporate Social Responsibility and Employee Volunteer Programs (CSR and EVPs) in businesses as diverse as Westpac and McDonalds.

The other truly remarkable thing about this is that as the push for CSR has been a consumer driven development, the businesses that have stayed on trend have not only been ethically rewarded for their efforts, but they have also been surprised to receive very real financial rewards. Consider the following statistics from a 2008 study on business in the community:

"87% of the public are likely to switch from one product or service to another if the other product or service is associated with a good cause", and "64% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product associated with a cause they support"

This is where One Health Organisation, (OHO) comes into the picture. One Health is the only United Nations DPI registered organisation with a stated focus on holistic approaches to primary health care.

At the heart of our organisation and approach, are four signature elements: local engagement, community collaboration, sustainable economics and systemic change. We seek to achieve these by engaging individuals in community work, supporting other NGOs to achieve their goals, transitioning business and corporations to greater levels of social responsibility, and advocating at a national and international level for equitable, sustainable and integrative healthcare policy. '

We are therefore the perfect fit for businesses in the wellness and sustainability space looking to sure up their triple bottom line and give something back to the local community.

Graeme Joiner, Director Sales and Marketing for our major sponsor Metagenics explains their involvement:

"Metagenics (Health World Limited) was created in 1985 with the specific mission to help people live happier, healthier lives.

"As a result we aim for excellence in the product we produce, the service we provide and the education we deliver to healthcare practitioners and their patients. Supporting the One Health Organisation as the major sponsor is a significant commitment and is one that we see as a natural and logical extension of our mission.

My advice to others looking to take part in a similar Corporate Social Responsibility program is to ask yourself if the program is true to your mission; do it for the right reasons, not just because you feel you should, or need to be seen as doing something good. If it isn't a natural fit with your company, it will not be sustainable and neither party will maximise the benefit a successful CSR partnership can bring."

When OHO started out, we were offering a fairly conventional sponsorship program but quickly realised that such businesses have so much more to offer. They have highly skilled staff, they have established infrastructure, and many of them have products and services that are sorely lacking in vulnerable communities. So we started approaching them with a range of different opportunities to get involved and were generally impressed by the willingness of these businesses to roll up their sleeves and help out. We arranged for Employee Volunteer Programs to be set up, scholarships to be created, new product lines to be created and donated, disaster relief media exposure to be generated and grants to be established.

With almost three metric tonnes in nutritional and wellness supplements being distributed worldwide to over 40 different community projects via OHO's Social Enterprise Scheme (SES) and over 1.5 million dollars in pro bono services donated by Australian businesses, we started receiving requests for more information on the work we were doing from both our members and the general public.

The Directory Of Social Enterprise or 'The DOSE' is OHO's attempt to celebrate and uphold those companies by documenting the amazing work they have been doing behind the scenes. It is my sincere hope that the positive feedback they receive from their customers after this report is published will not only confirm their belief in the sustainability of this approach, but also encourage other business to join us in our shared mission of 'Health for All'.

The DOSE Report by Benjamin Haynes

The Directory Of Social Enterprise (DOSE) is an initiative designed to highlight organisations and businesses that demonstrate a genuine commitment to humanitarian and philanthropic endeavours, through their involvement with One Health Organisation's Social Enterprise Scheme.

This scheme is a proprietary framework for facilitating "ethical evolution" within organisations, and is based on a linear 5 star system. It allows businesses to play a more meaningful role within the community, by transitioning towards a business model that incorporates a greater level of social responsibility.

How does it work?
The annual DOSE report allows us, as a community, to recognise and support businesses that support our community through OHO's philanthropic endeavours, thereby creating a circle of prosperity that benefits all involved in its creation.

Businesses that take part receive a star rating that reflects their level of involvement. One Star Business Members make monthly donations to help fund the various projects in the market, via OHO's Collaborative Partnerships Program. This program extends much needed support (including legal infrastructure, administrative services, grants and donations) to our registered community partners.

Two Star Business Members take this one step further, by providing product and/or services in addition to their monthly financial contribution.

Businesses that take part in fundraising campaigns, staff volunteering programs, or workplace giving schemes, qualify as DOSE Three Star Business Members.

With the support of OHO, Four Star Business Members develop and run their own customised projects.

The final gold star is reserved for businesses that have shown a deep commitment to the social enterprise model, and joined the "per cent club", donating one percent of their gross annual before tax profit.

One Health Organisation is proud to recognise Happy High Herbs as the first business in Australia to achieve all five stars. General Manager Stephanie Barlow describes the journey towards a commitment to the social enterprise model of modern business:
"I have always been interested in health and community-based health initiatives, and when HHH decided to transition into a 'not-only-for-profit' company we wanted to demonstrate clearly that we are genuinely committed to making a difference in our communities. Partnering with One Health Organisation was a good idea for three main reasons: it would give me the skills to run our own community projects in future; sponsoring projects through OHO would mean that these would be tax-deductible donations; and finally, we would be supporting a ground-breaking and unique organisation. It is incredibly satisfying to be involved in community health initiatives, and our franchisees and employees are all proud of their company and feel like the work they are doing is making a difference in the world."

2011 update
2011 saw OHO's highest rate of growth to date with the total number of projects skyrocketing to over 40 different projects in eight countries across the globe. Global projects supported by One Health's Social Enterprise Scheme include: sustainable health care clinics in India with Traditional Healthcare, healthcare training and educational facilities in the Philippines and nutritional outreach services for orphans in Tanzania with Total World Chiropractic and a donation by Metagenics of $135,000 worth of naturopathic and nutritional care to Burmese orphans through the MyKids project.

Within Australia, seven projects were implemented creating a positive impact locally, including Australian Community Wellness Clinics with Hands on Health, Australian Youth in Crisis Nutritional Outreach Program with the Salvation Army, Community Naturopathic Clinic for Asylum Seekers with NSW Asylum Seekers Center, Alice Springs Indigenous NT Medicine Tree Project with Traditional Healthcare, Indigenous Youth Early Intervention Program with Gunawirra, Indigenous Outreach Bush Medicine Garden with Penrith Adolescent Court Appointed School, Pregnancy and Birth Outreach Program with Doula Heart Network.

2011 also saw the introduction of the 'Open Clinic' project. This initiative encourages practitioners of holistic modalities to register and donate a few hours each week to pro bono cases referred via our Collaborative Partnerships team.

Throughout 2011, volunteers provided over 10,000 treatments and more than a metric tonne of herbal and nutritional supplements to communities in need.

How can I get involved?
Making a difference is now easier than ever!

* support OHO Business Members that support our community!
* Are you a practitioner? Register online at www.onehealthorganisation.org to take part in the Open Clinic initiative and find out about upcoming projects that you could get involved with
* If you are a business and would like more information about the Social Enterprise Scheme, contact our Social Enterprise Manager: benjamin.haynes@onehealthorganisation.org
* Got an idea for a project? Contact our Collaborative Partnerships Team at communityprojects@onehealthorganisation.org
* For all other enquiries contact enquiries@onehealthorganisation.org

Together, with the help of our sponsors, members, and your support, we can continue towards our common goal of health for all!

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