Givewith’s partnership with SAP Ariba will allow firms to drive positive social impact and business value, too.
By Alan Dorich, Knighthouse Media
These days, corporations cannot underestimate the benefits of making positive social impacts. These contributions not only can help firms boost morale and give employees a greater sense of purpose, but also enhance their reputation in their markets.
That is where Givewith can lend a hand, by helping buyers and sellers make these offerings through their B2B transactions. Founder and CEO Paul Polizzotto started the firm in 2016 after developing businesses that help the environment, education and promote health and wellness across the world.
“I’ve been in interested in how to bring new resources to improve the critical social issues of our time,” he describes, noting that he became interested in these topics while he was a competitive surfer in Southern California.
Although surfing is a healthy sport, the Santa Monica Bay suffered from pollution. “In the ’70s and ’80s, surfers were sick all the time,” he recalls, adding that he sought out ways to remove toxins from run-off before it entered the Bay.
At the age of 25, he pioneered several methods which won him an award from the Environmental Protection Agency. Afterward, he then pursued the goal of creating a non-profit organization.
But when Polizzotto realized he would be taking away needed funds from other nonprofit organizations, he created the concept for Givewith, where companies made contributions through business-to-business transactions. “One supplier could differentiate themselves by using social impacts as a sales incentive,” he describes.
Today, Givewith has offices in New York City, Los Angeles and London and offers a platform that helps firms make impacts through such areas as the RFP process. One client, Polizzotto recalls, used its technology to buy computer technology equipment.
But in its RFP, the buyer also wanted the supplier to underwrite a social impact that created additional business value. Ultimately, the company found its supplier in HP, which provided equipment and contributed a percentage of the transaction to Black Girls Code, a non-profit focused on increasing the presence of women of color in the digital space.
“The buyer negotiated the best price, plus they got all the value associated with the deliverables,” Polizzotto recalls, adding that while HP was able to direct $30,000 in funding to Black Girls Code, it received social impact reporting and content that vastly exceeded that value, while also achieving one of its key corporate objectives.
“It was worth it all day long,” he says. “That’s the beauty of the platform: we are bringing significantly more value to the buyers, without negatively impacting the margins of the suppliers.”
The Right Match
Another feature of Givewith’s platform is that it can help firms find the right match for their transactions. “We’ve done a deep dive on nearly 9,000 companies,” Polizzotto says, explaining that it can also look at the firms’ ESG ratings from MSCI, CSRHub, TruValue Labs, and other premier rating and reporting agencies.
With that information, “We know everything about that company as it relates to corporate social responsibility, sustainability and philanthropy,” he continues, adding that Givewith can look at the standards the firms use to report to the rating agencies.
The platform is also informed by proprietary data from research with Nielsen so users can see what issue areas the firm’s customers and employees care about. “What we’re doing is original and that makes it interesting,” Polizzotto says. “It’s not something that’s never been done before.”
An Enormous Step
Givewith also recently expanded its reach by integrating with SAP Ariba, which operates the world’s largest business-to-business network. “This is enormously exciting for us,” Polizzotto says.
When Givewith met with the company earlier this year, it found that the two had many aligned interests. “That set off a process of integration with SAP Ariba,” he recalls, noting that his firm worked closely with Deloitte to meet the technology requirements of the network.
“It’s a seamless and effortless opportunity to imbed social impacts into the RFP process,” Polizzotto says, noting that if just 8 percent of the transactions that go through the Ariba Network use Givewith, it could generate more than $3 billion in annual funding to non-profits.
It also will allow Givewith to reach a broader audience than ever before. “This gives us an opportunity to offer social impacts to those 4.4 million suppliers and buyers, which is for us, an enormous step in the right direction,” he says. “We’ve spent years preparing for this day.”
A Powerful Role
Polizzotto sees a strong future ahead for Givewith. Thanks to its partnership with SAP Ariba, “We have this opportunity to allow sourcing and procurement executives to play an increasing important role in their company to go beyond just cost savings
while contributing significantly more business value for their companies and make more sustainable choices,” he says.
This will enable them to have a cross-divisional role where they bring more value by improving consumer sentiment, increasing investor interest and confidence, boosting employee retention, and positively impacting Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) ratings. “The future of procurement is going to play a much more powerful and important role in the future, and I think that’s exciting,” he concludes.