How Can Corporations Make the Switch to Sustainable Corporate Gifts?
By: Supriya Sivabalan
Did you know that if everyone in the world consumed as the developed countries do, we would need FIVE Earths to sustain us? So, what can we do to reduce this ridiculous statistic? 

Green procurement = sustainable procurement = sustainable purchasing 
Sustainable purchasing refers to a company’s integration of corporate social responsibility (CSR) principles into the procurement process of items for the company’s use. It envelopes two important areas - economic soundness and social & environmental policy.
By economic soundness, it essentially means that the company goes beyond itself to determine how procurement practices affect the economy and consider the business’ impact on economic development. Sustainable procurement aims to reduce the adverse impacts of purchased products and services throughout their life. Hence, it ensures that the overall procurement decision is sound from a life-cycle cost; which is the amount of money you estimate to spend on an asset over the course of its useful life. 
Social & environmental policy, however, addresses your need to be a responsible corporate citizen when it comes to human rights and the environmental impact of your buying decision. In this area, businesses consider their impact on natural resources, greenhouse gas, climate change, and overall environmental and social impact. If you think about it, the environmental state directly leads to a social impact - thus the two go hand in hand. 

Benefits of Sustainable Purchasing

Cost Reduction
A very treasured term in the corporate world, cost minimization and maximization of shareholder’s wealth is the key element to any business module. Going green doesn’t cost more. In fact, it oftentimes saves money! Greener products can reduce health & safety costs, repair & replacement costs and disposal costs, amongst others. Plus (occasionally)  green products can work better than their toxic counterparts!
Dignified Brand Image
Corporations that go out of their way to perform in terms of social responsibility and sustainability may enhance the company image as a whole. Adopting sustainable procurement is a step that could provide a greater competitive advantage thus attracting financial investors and can further drive development goals. 
Improves Risk Management
With green purchasing, companies can offset financial and environmental risk - rather than act as a chain of continuation from suppliers. In addition to successfully complying with green regulations, it also slims down the probability of any accidents or lawsuits from occurring as opposed to when a corporation involves themselves in unethical and unsustainable purchases.   
Increases Access to People and Information
By participating in change toward green efforts, a corporation is bound to develop networks of peers and forward-thinking suppliers who have similar vision and morales. This step towards sustainability allows businesses to be at the forefront of the movement to transform our economy, whilst providing them insight into market direction amongst companies that have adopted green practices. 

What green efforts are happening in Malaysia? 

Social Enterprise Day: ExperienSE

ExperienSE was held in conjuction with Global Entrepreneurship Week - jointly organised by Biji-biji Initiative, Me.reka, British Council and the Chamber of Social Entrepreneur Development Malaysia (CSED) last year November. This 2-day public event aimed to raise the profile of local social entrepreneurship practices among the public. The public was provided with the opportunity to immerse themselves and try out the various products and services by featured social enterprises, and do their part in ethical purchasing thus allowing them to participate in conscious consumerism. 

Sharing Session Panel during ExperienSE
Among the event highlights include talks on market access to greener products and creative social entrepreneurs and enterprises, awareness of conscious consumerism and locally made products as well as live demos and workshops. The Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) was also involved in ExperienSE and conducted a Social Entrepreneurship Masterclass!
Sarah Deverall, Director Malaysia, British Council even mentioned that "ExperienSE is a platform for social enterprises to network with ecosystem enablers, and to forge new connections and collaborations towards greater opportunities and impact for the sector." 
MaGIC’s Buy For Impact Initiative

The trademarked “Buy For Impact” logo by MaGIC
Prior to ExperienSE, MaGIC has already been involved in encouraging green purchasing and conscious consumerism since 2017 as seen in a two-day public event they held for a flagship initiative titled “Buy For Impact”. It aims to “cultivate a conscious buying behaviour among the general public, as well as private and public sectors.” Essentially, it allows consumers to easily identify and consciously select products that give back to society and or the environment through the trademarked “Buy For Impact” logo.

Shot taken at the Buy For Impact Event at Publika Shopping Gallery

 

British Council’s Global Social Enterprise Programme 

In efforts to share top-notch resources and create opportunities between countries, the British Council’s Global Social Enterprise program draws on the experts in the UK to support the development of social enterprises in the UK and other countries. It is a program launched in support of positive social change, sustainable development and inclusive growth - which is perfectly in line with green procurement efforts.

A Social Enterprise Policy Dialogue by British Council
It also promotes corporate social responsibility and sustainable economic development through social enterprises. Thus, making the conscious switch to sustainable purchasing as a corporation perfectly aligns with the aim of the program. 

So, what can companies do for now? 

Here’s what Biji Biji recommends to corporations who are looking to embark on their journey of sustainability: Make the switch from unsustainable corporate gifts to more sustainable alternatives that will actually  interest the receivers!
Why is it time to stop unsustainable corporate gifting? These “gifts” corporations provide the public aren’t really gifts at all if they are not able to put them to good use. All they are is additional and unnecessary waste that has nowhere to go but the dark abyss of dumping sites due to the lack of usage.  Read this short article for further information!
To corporations who are looking to make that sustainable switch, you’re in luck! Biji Biji offers a range of sustainable products, suitable for corporate bulk gifting with a variety of options as seen on our Business-to-Business Bulk Gifting Catalogue.We offer a wide range of products that are inspired from your every day materials - tarpaulin banners, felt carpets, vintage kimonos and even seat belts! Biji Biji has mastered the art of innovation through upcycling and is always ready to save precious single-use of discarded materials as we “magically” transform them to gorgeous accessories like clutch bags and folders. 

 

Curious about the other products we have for bulk gifting? Check out our Business-to-Business Bulk Gifting Catalogue or contact us at fashion@biji-biji.com for more information on customization! 

 

Image Sources:
How Your SE Can Get Certified By MaGIC As An Impact Driven Enterprise. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.jirehshope.com/posts/277
Social Enterprise Policy Dialogue: Collaboration for Impact. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.britishcouncil.org.bd/en/events/social-enterprise-policy-dialogue-collaboration-impact 
Sustainability. Retrieved from https://usd.msu.edu/sustainability/
Home | Buy For Impact. Retrieved from https://events.bizzabo.com/buyforimpact
Social enterprise. Retrieved from https://www.britishcouncil.org/society/social-enterprise

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