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Making a positive impact
WHEN it comes to SMEs doing good, Boxgreen has proven to be one of the poster boys of the local business community. Founded in September 2014, the company is an online snack company that delivers healthier, portion-controlled snacks to their customers' doorstep. A portion of the proceeds of each snack goes towards providing meals for the less privileged.
To date, over 30,000 meals have been donated to a soup kitchen, Willing Hearts, through the firm's "1-box 1-meal" programme that has been in place since the company's inception. What's more, Boxgreen donates 2 per cent of its revenue, and S$5 for each snack box sold on World Red Cross Day, to charitable partners.
"All companies, SMEs or MNCs, should focus on impact and sustainability in today's world. Consumers are no longer consuming based on price alone but on the impact they leave on the world. They look at whether there is a social cause behind the business and if a company is committed to doing good in the long run. SMEs especially, have the edge and opportunity to move fast and convey this message to consumers more quickly than anyone else," said Walter Oh, managing director of Boxgreen.
The company also goes to great lengths to ensure that it reduces the impact of its operations on the environment. Boxgreen's snack boxes are made from recycled material and are designed to minimise the material used. Its plastic snack packs are also 100 per cent recyclable.
Meanwhile, some 60 per cent of the firm's expenses are spent with independent local suppliers and producers, helping to reduce the environmental footprint of its supply chain. The company is now experimenting with the use of blockchain technology to provide transparency and trust across the supply chain and provide consumers relevant information about the product origin and eco-certifications.
"It's a challenge sourcing for environmentally friendly materials in Asia and the constant balance between cost, quality and impact. We set out to establish good relationships with local and overseas suppliers who believe in what we are doing and are able to provide us with better pricing to build our products," said Mr Oh.
Boxgreen champions inclusive hiring by providing employment to individuals regardless of race, ethnicity or background. For instance, the firm has provided flexible employment opportunities to over 10 stay-at-home mothers, and has also hired single mothers and elderly workers. The company's various efforts to be socially responsible led to it winning two honours at the inaugural Brands for Good awards; for Fair Employment Practices and Sustainable Resource.
"Brands for Good recognises the achievements of forward-looking companies that champion social impact. We hope that through Brands for Good, we get recognised for our efforts in embedding the principles of sustainability throughout the organisation. We believe that this is also a good opportunity to get our name out there and to show consumers that we are taking small steps in making a difference in society," said Mr Oh.
He added: "The award also serves as an encouragement for the team that has worked hard and a reminder that we are making a positive difference in the industry and on the environment."