Knowledge Centre

SDG Pioneer Award

By Wayne Dunn

Wayne Dunn

Wayne Dunn is an award-winning global CSR expert with extensive teaching, writing, lecturing and Advisory Service experience. He is supported by an extensive faculty and advisory team.

2021 SDG Pioneer Award Winner

Baraka Impact was selected as the 2021 SDG Pioneer of the Year award recipient at the Responsible Business Leadership & Excellence Awards Ceremony in Accra, Ghana on April 29, 2022.

This award recognized Baraka’s innovation and leadership in aligning the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal impacts with pragmatic business value and competitive advantage.  Baraka has deliberately and systematically aligned social impact and environmental stewardship with business profitability and competitive advantage, closely following the strategies and tactics outlined throughout the CSR Training Institute’s writings, lectures and teachings..

This alignment enables synergy between social, environmental and business impact.  It avoids the zero-sum framework that is common in most business where spending on social and environmental issues is often seen as a cost that inhibits profits.   In many ways Baraka is like a practice lab, demonstrating how theory meets practice in a pragmatic way.

Alignment of Social, Environmental, SDG and Business Impacts

The CSR Training Institute has long argued for the importance of alignment.  That pursuing social and environmental impact without considering how they can align with and support business value is simply bad strategy.  If you scour the CSR Training Institute Blogs and Video Channels you will see numerous writings and lectures on the importance of aligning social, environmental and business interests so that doing more in one area is directly beneficial to the other dimensions.  See more in our Blogs and on our Video Channels, Strategic CSR/SDG and Insights into Business 2030

Baraka, a private, for-profit venture which was founded and is led by the CSR Training Institutes Founder and President, Prof. Wayne Dunn, has consistently put the CSR Training Institute’s theories into practice by actualizing this alignment.

Social Impact, the Dignity of Income, Environmental Stewardship and Circular economy are not treated as nice to have costs but are integrated directly into corporate strategy.  Not only do they provide the foundation for Baraka’s Brand Purpose, they also provide the foundation for Baraka’s competitive strategy.

Baraka’s Mission Drives 3-Dimensional Impact

Baraka’s mission is all about impact across social, environmental and economic dimensions.  But, it is not about impact as a stand-alone value.  Baraka’s strategic approach deliberately and systematically analyzes impacts in each dimension to see how best to optimize them to maximize impacts in other dimensions.  In this way Baraka is able to, for example, create local social, economic and environmental benefits from funding the Tabiasi Women’s Enterprise Centre, and also use this same activity to support marketing, branding and sustainable competitive advantage for Baraka.  A true Win, Win, Win.   To see more watch the video here.

By providing detailed, transparent and enlightening information on all aspects of its supply chain, including the social and environmental impacts, Baraka is able to create emotional engagement with its customers that reduces marketing costs and increases lifetime customer value as well as average order value.   This is especially impactful in the markets where Baraka operates, e.g. Natura and Organic Skincare and Cosmetics market, where consumers place a high value on supply chain impact, environmental sustainability, ethics and transparency that allows them to connect with all aspects of the supply chain that brings their products to them.

Strategic Integration & Alignment Drive Value

Baraka has developed specific programs and initiatives to leverage the social and environmental value into strategic business value.  For example, they have developed two Video Series, Your Impact and Motherhood.  These videos feature the women and mothers who make Baraka products talking about how their work with Baraka impacts them and their families.

In addition to the videos and blogs on this, Baraka had developed printed cards for each women, with her picture, information and a quote and a scannable QR Code that links to her video.  Cards are placed in every outgoing shipment to enable customers to connect directly with the far upstream supply chain.

Transparency, Humility, Impact & Value Creation

Baraka goes one step further in that the company deliberately gives credit for this impact to its customers and its customer’s customers.  Without their purchases their would be no impact.

Baraka packages the upstream impact and transparency so that it can easily be utilized to create downstream value and provides links, video and image assets and more to support its customers in their marketing efforts, allowing them to connect their products and brand directly to the social and environmental impacts created in the remote, rural communities in Ghana.

What Is In It For Me? Fundamental to Sustainable Social Responsibility

Many may think that Baraka, because of its unique supply chain, is a one-off and that these principles and approaches are not replicable in other industries.  While the specific tactics may not be replicable, the strategic approach definitely is.  It begins with asking this question of every social and environmental effort a company makes:  What’s in it for me?

Seriously, when a company is spending money on social and environmental programs there should be a systematic process of examining those projects and programs to determine how to maximize value for the business.   This does not detract from the social and environmental value, rather it enhances it and makes it more sustainable as if the business is receiving value it is much more likely to survive cutting when budgets come under pressure