Social Enterprise Certification
Currently, in Australia, there is no formal or acknowledged accreditation system for social enterprise.
This means that there is no way of easily identifying if a business is a social enterprise or not (see social enterprise definition).
Certification of social enterprise is important because it has the ability to help develop the sector in Australia. It can do this firstly by clearly defining the sector and legitimising the players. Certification can serve as a useful signal and source of trust and security for buyers, funders and policy makers when enacting their social corporate responsibility, developing social procurement strategies or just being ethically conscious. Together, these benefits can help build and grow the social enterprise sector in Australia.
Certification programs generally require a long time (5-10 years) and millions of dollars to reach a level of awareness considered successful. Most certification programs do not have the necessary long term support to reach sustainability. However, there are many successful certification programs, labels, and logos in Australia for a variety of different kinds of ethical businesses. Some examples include:
B Corp is a certification program for ethical businesses managed and operated by B Labs which is an independent nonprofit based in the United States. There are currently over 1,000 certified B Corps globally, with nearly ¾ based in the US. In order to become a B Corp, businesses must qualify by completing the B Corp Impact Assessment and scoring a minimum number of points based on the organisation’s governance, and their impact on employees, the community and the environment.
Supply Nation was established as a business to business membership body dedicated to growing diversity within the supply chain. The primary purpose of Supply Nation is to increase social procurement with Indigenous owned businesses in Australia and certification is a necessary program to achieve those goals. After 6 years they have 312 certified suppliers, are responsible for $144 billion in transactions and $115 billion in contracts and have 160 corporate members.
In conjunction with global trends around organics and pressure from industry groups and lobbyists, the Australian government began its work. Australia has no national organics mark, instead there are seven accredited private organisations who have the ability to certify farms and use their own logo, based on standards set by the Australian Department of Agriculture. Australia is the only OECD nation without a national mark. The most recognised mark is the Australian Certified Organic logo which estimates 38% market awareness, followed by NASAA with 23% and 7% for USDA Organic. 68% of Australians have purchased organic in the last 12 months, however organic food and beverage sales is only 1% of the total market. To establish national standards for organics in the early 1990s. In 1991 they formalized their work and launched the Australian Certified Organics Standard (ACOS) which establishes national standards for organic production, marketing and export.
Social Traders Social Enterprise Certification
To combat this deficit Social Traders provides a level of social enterprise certification to provide government and corporate buyers with the ability to identify social enterprises and include them in their supply chain.
A Social Traders certified social enterprise means that an organisation has met Social Traders’ definition of a social enterprise through being able to demonstrate significant trading activity and profit redistribution to support a social cause.
We do this because certification gives corporate, government and individual buyers confidence that their spend with a certified social enterprise is directly supporting that enterprise’s social cause and is helping to make a difference in creating social benefit.
Social Traders is the only organisation providing certification for social enterprises.
For social enterprise operators, certification is the gateway to gain access to Social Traders’ new market opportunities, contracts, corporate and consumer markets, promotional campaigns and networking events.
How to apply for Certification
Application is free and can take less than 10 minutes.
- Click here to apply
- Complete all of the fields, including attaching supporting documents, such as financial reports. You can log back in anytime to update or add information.
Certification can take up to two weeks to complete. If you have any queries or would like to discuss certification further, please contact us.
Access for Certified Social Enterprises
Connect is Social Traders’ B2B channel, linking certified social enterprises with corporate and government business and opportunities. Social Traders works with committed corporate and government buyers to identify opportunities and sources certified social enterprises capable of fulfilling these opportunities. See the current list of opportunities available to certified social enterprises.
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Good Spender is Australia’s only online social enterprise marketplace, connecting consumers who want to make a difference with certified social enterprises. Good Spender was developed in partnership with Australia Post as a B2C opportunity for social enterprises to offer a broad range of products directly to consumers, with preferential shipping rates and exclusive marketing and promotional opportunities.
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