Scotland, which currently leads in number of spin-off deals, has released a landmark report which aims to transform the conversation about the social purpose of all businesses in Scotland, has recently been shared by Duncan Thorp, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Social Enterprise Scotland.

According to the Business Purpose Commission for Scotland, supported by SCDI and the Scottish Government, it is urgent to embed social and environmental values at the core of all businesses.

Businesses with social purpose by 2030

The vision of the report states that: “By 2030, all businesses in Scotland will have become purposeful businesses which profit from finding solutions for people and the planet.”

It is a sentiment which is sure to resonate strongly with the pioneers of social and environmental value in the social enterprise community. Social entrepreneurs place their social mission at the centre of every aspect of their business.

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“The purpose of a business is why it exists, is created, and its reason for being. It is fundamental to every business and should drive its core strategy and activities…what the report demonstrates is the need to look beyond bottom-line financial returns to shareholders to impacts on societies and environments in which business operates,” according to the report.

The pace of change is being influenced by public pressure, not just businesses.

“Scottish citizens are looking to business to play a still stronger part in promoting employee, societal and environmental wellbeing.”

Purposeful businesses are more profitable

According to the report, businesses that are purposeful are more profitable. Furthermore, young people are increasingly interested in working for and buying from purposeful companies:

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“The most popular actions to increase peoples’ trust were paying the real living wage as a minimum (52 per cent), paying fair levels of tax (38 per cent), providing job security for employees (32 per cent), and making a clear commitment to customer services (30 percent).”

There’s a lot of support in the report for the role of social enterprises and the third sector: “Voluntary organisations and social enterprises are experts at purpose. The sector has a reach which stretches from countries around the world to deep within all communities in Scotland.”

“Businesses can learn about purpose from voluntary organisations and social enterprise, and increase their own impact by working with them. Supporting the sector also augments local ‘institutional capital’ – the social fabric in which prosperous economies can thrive.”

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Mutually beneficial relationships

Developing mutually beneficial relationships with social enterprises is of great value to all private sector businesses.

The report further states: “Our call to all businesses in Scotland is to act now to develop and nurture your business purpose. Leaders who embed a clear purpose in their business will help to steer it through economic challenges to seize the business opportunities from solving problems for people and our planet.”

The private and public sectors, as well as companies wanting to make a positive impact on our society and the environment are all friends and allies of Social Enterprise Scotland.

The new report may spark a much needed shift in social and environmental policy. Social enterprises can play a vital role in incorporating social responsibility into business operations.