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Did you know that we are a Not-for-Profit Social Enterprise? - Santos Organics

Did you know that we are an Environmental Not-for-Profit Social Enterprise?

“A social enterprise is a cause-driven business whose primary reason for being is to improve social objectives and serve the common good. A successful social enterprise is one that balances the tension between upholding the social mission of their organisation and maximizing the productivity of their business venture to ensure sustainability.”*

“The principal purpose of an Environmental Not-for-profit Social Enterprise is to protect and enhance the natural environment or a significant aspect of it, providing information or education or carrying out research about the natural environment or a significant aspect of it.”**

For many years, Santos Organics operated as a community owned ethical business supported by shareholders, with a strong focus on community and environmental projects through donations made by our team charity fund and our involvement in many valuable community and environmental initiatives.

When we formally registered as an Environmental Not-for-Profit Social Enterprise in July 2016, there were many questions from our customers and team members about what this actually means and how this structure differs from how we had been operating as an ‘ethical business’. As a Not-for-Profit, how we give back is in line with and supported by a Social Enterprise model.

One of the significant differences between a ‘social enterprise’ and an ‘ethical business’ is that a social enterprise centres itself around a social or environmental mission and uses commerce as a tool to maximise sustainability and impact, whereas an ethical business centres itself around creating profit for its shareholders, but takes an ethics-based approach on issues like the environment, trade practices and community development.*

As a social enterprise, the foundation of our business is to ‘give back' and our priority is the reinvestment of our profits into the organisation’s environmental or social mission rather than payouts to shareholders. When Santos Organics converted its business structure to a not-for-profit, our shareholders effectively became members of our organisation, by converting the value of their shares to an equitable interest in the organisation. While profits are not the primary motivation behind a social enterprise, revenue still plays a significant and essential role in the sustainability of its venture. For this model to be successful, it is also important to ensure that our foundation as a business is healthy and viable and also supports our future growth and expansion.

Ultimately, ‘sustainable revenue’ is what differentiates a social enterprise from a traditional charity that relies on outside funding in the form of donations or grants to achieve its social or environmental mission. Our ‘revenue’ comes from purchases made in our stores and we are very grateful to our customers for their contribution to making our mission possible.

As an Environmental Not-for-Profit Social Enterprise, the focus of our profits continues to be our beautiful environment - the health of our planet and our community, that’s why we exist. This means that a portion of our profits as a health food store are donated as grants to environmental and community projects. We have still continued with our team charity fund, but now this means that every dollar spent in our stores by our customers can also go much further.

In the last Financial Year 2022-23, with the support of our team contributions, customers and purchases made at our stores, we were able to make a donation of $5,000 to ReForest Now towards regenerating the Allansby remnant of the Big Scrub rainforest in Eureka, preserving the vital ecosystem and its threatened species. We were also able to donate $2,500 to Friends of the Koala towards the conservation of koalas and restoration of their habitats.

Thank you to all of our customers for making this possible and for your ongoing support.