24 Sep Why We Are A Social Impact Organisation
I travel a lot. And what I see as I visit countries around the world is the need for a different way to do business.
What do we have now?
The corporate model, with shareholders hanging on the quarterly bottom line as if their lives depend on it.
The not-for-profit charitable model, steered by people with lots of love and dedication – but insufficient funding and varying degrees of expertise.
Then the myriad groups and businesses in-between. It’s a tough life for them. More than half of all start-up businesses fail within the first five years. All that hard work and hope just washed away.
Which got me thinking. I’m due to speak as part of a sustainable development panel during the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week.
There I was planning my speech – yet I couldn’t find the right words to sum up my own company, Greenstorc.
Our Hunt For A ‘Sustainable Development’ Model
What’s in a name, you might ask? Well, quite a lot actually.
Take ‘shareholder’ for starters. You grab a share in a company, hold on for dear life and try to stop that company making anything less than super-huge profits . . . regardless of social impact on the ground..
Try ‘not-for-profit’ then. You want to do amazing things but there’s not-a-lot of money in the kit. Unless you find a generous benefactor with deep pockets – or a Government with both the will and the means to support you (how rare is that?) – your organisation chugs along a very narrow track.
I want something different for Greenstorc. Unrivalled scope for sustainable development. Profits that enrich the communities we work with as well as giving us the means to bring clean, 24-hour energy to places that have never before been plugged in.
It’s a participation model that rewards long-term growth AND offers the transparency necessary to build genuine trust.
So, Greenstorc is actually a Social Impact Organisation (SIO). It has the dedication and social conscience of a not-for-profit; the entrepreneurial leanness of a start-up; and the ‘eye on the profit-prize’ of a big corporation.
That last part is critical. We will be judged on what we do with the profit. As an SIO, profits will be used to drive sustainable growth. The more we grow, the more people benefit on the ground. The further our reach, the more communities get access to the electricity they need and deserve.
Smart Contracts And The Advent Of Blockchain
Wonderful, you might say. But who funds you?
That’s what I want to discuss at the UN – how the transparency of the Blockchain and power of ‘smart contracts’ can together drive a fundamental change in the way businesses, organisations and stakeholders relate.
As a privately-funded partnership backed by the community with no external shareholders, Greenstorc is in a unique position to place long-term sustainability goals ahead of cold, hard, short-term profit. Where the profits flow, they get channelled into our next rural or urban electrification project. And that’s sustainable growth.
It all hinges on our Blockchain Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). We’ve developed a smart contract protocol with blockchain technology. This can be turned in to a token by anyone and offered to communities again and again.
The smart contract triggers a reward for holders when we reach our pre-defined KPIs.
So, rather than have a share of our business and force us to chase profit, token holders enjoy a reward for our growth and support that. Clean, clear, transparent and sustainable
It’s a new kind of accountability. You might not know how profitable Apple or Greenstorc truly is. Yet, you could tie a Blockchain KPI to how many iPhones they sell or how many MW we install. No idea how a non-profit group uses your donation? Well, hang a Blockchain KPI on the number of schools they supply with books.
Profit: What’s it all about?
Profit is good. But you need to control it, rather than it controlling you . . . a bit like training a dog really. You get back what you put in. Generous, responsible, thoughtful dog owners tend to get rewarded with years of loyalty, rather than bitten for abuse or neglect.
And remember, profit is not the only game in town. It’s ironic that not-for-profit groups doing sterling work are named after the one thing they DON’T do – a reminder that society places money so high on the global pedestal that many poor communities have pretty much forgotten what it looks like.
So, it’s time for a change. It’s time to make a significant social impact. It’s time to rate powering a remote African hospital more highly than fat shareholder profit . . . while using the new world of Blockchain to create healthy, self-funded, socially motivated businesses.
Paul Flynn, Greenstorc CEO.