All businesses buy services and products, including stationery items. Justin Pagotto, Chief Ethical Officer of Corporate Spend, can show you how your business can use its supply chain spending for social good, benefitting charities such as REAP, and helping to change the world one spend at a time …
Hi Justin. What’s your association with the Greater Port Macquarie area – what brought you here?
My family and I moved up to Lake Cathie in December 2016. We had lived in Sydney for 24 years and wanted a sea change, and we absolutely love the lifestyle.
Introduce us to Corporate Spend. Where is the organisation based … and what are its aims?
Our vision is to help businesses harness their supply chain spending for social good. Corporate Spend is an ethical procurement company – we connect businesses to high quality ethical suppliers, who pay us a share of the revenue. We take companies through an ethical screen, as well as for the usual price, service, quality and delivery screen.
I recently wrote a #1 Amazon best-selling book on Ethical Supply Chains, explaining how businesses can get an upsurge in customer affinity by looking after the planet and doing good.
As a social enterprise we give a minimum of 80% of our profits to charities. When you buy from Corporate Spend, you know that you are making a tangible difference in the world.
This is a unique model, as the charity donation comes from what you already spend, and not out of your pocket. We give the businesses the credit for the donation, so they can let their customers know they are changing the world one spend at a time.
As a service company, we have clients all over all over Australia.
What’s your role with Corporate Spend?
I am the founder and Chief Ethical Officer responsible for creating the ethical supplier partnerships and sales and marketing.
Most people don’t know that the products they buy often have unethical practices attached to them – like child labour or unethical factory conditions or slavery in the supply chain. Our goal is to provide high quality ethical products for a similar price and also give businesses a positive story to that gives them a competitive edge.
So, at a local level – how can you help businesses? What services do you offer?
We have a number of products and services, but the easiest one to start with is office products and stationery. We distribute social brands like Who Gives A Crap toilet paper (when you buy their toilet paper, 50% of the profits go to building toilets in the third world) and Yoobi stationery (buy one stationery item and one is given to the Smith Family to give away to disadvantaged Aussie kids).
Another fantastic brand we distribute is the World’s Greenest T-shirt, that uses only 21.9 L of water compared to an average of 3,000 L for a traditional cotton T-shirt.
Imagine the impact if Port Macquarie Ironman chose to use these T-shirts? Plus, if you return the shirts at the end, they are degradable and won’t harm the environment.
We also do promotional products, corporate gifts, energy consulting, cloud phone systems, business insurance and social enterprise coffee.
What types of organisations do you typically work with?
Firstly, we want to encourage all businesses that they can use what they already spend to make a difference in the world.
Our focus is on small to medium enterprises (professional services firms, legal, real estate agents, accountants, financial planners and medical) as well as large organisations like universities, schools and hospitals.
Schools and sporting groups can use ethically made sporting goods that do not have toxic PVC in them – basketballs, soccer balls, netballs etc.
When you conduct reviews on most firms’ stationery spending, what common issues do you find?
The most common issues we find are poor service – it seems like good old fashioned service has gone out the window, and secondly, not knowing if the stationery is made in an unethical factory. Unfortunately, there is product dumped on the Australian market made from conditions that are unacceptable. We have screened our suppliers, so you can have confidence in the supply chain.
And lastly, people want good prices – our prices are very competitive, and we save most businesses between 5 to 15%. A key part of our service is to do a stationery and office products review and to also suggest ethical products.
How does what you do benefit not-for-profit organisationscharities?
When we introduce businesses to our ethical suppliers, they pay us a share of the revenue for the length of the client. In this way we solve the charity problem of limited funds and instead create an ongoing consistent revenue that can be used for good.
In Port Macquarie we have partnered with local food rescue charity REAP and will be giving away an AMAZING 51% of our REVENUE (that’s right, our REVENUE) to REAP when local businesses sign up with us.
REAP is part of Oz Harvest and does amazing work.
Who are some of the local organisations Corporate Spend has assisted?
We helped Guy Middlebrook and the Financial 360 team save up to 43% on some items, and they are delighted that 51% of Corporate Spends revenue goes to funding REAP’s future.
We are also helping St Columba Anglican School with an upcoming project combining ethical supply chains and environmental sustainability.
Where can we find out more info?
Final say …
I would encourage all Port businesses from SMEs right up to universities, hospitals, clubs to contact us for a stationery and office products review.
Together we can use our spending to make a huge difference and expand the impact REAP makes.
Interview by Jo Robinson.