Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why changeXchange?
Whatever your needs, it is likely to be available from the growing network of social enterprise suppliers producing quality products and services whilst creating positive impact in their communities. changeXchange is part of the growing international Conscious Consumer and Buy Social movements. It connects buyers from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors with approved social enterprises offering products and services.
Social enterprises are businesses that trade for social, environmental, cultural and local economic development purposes. They operate in almost every industry: from tourism to training, healthcare to housing, transport to technology, farming to food preparation, finance to facilities management, and recycling to regeneration. Social enterprises support community development, address social exclusion, address environmental or cultural issues, deliver essential, cost-effective public services and help local government improve the quality of their services.
changeXchange vets all applications to list on the website and only certified social enterprises that meet our membership criteria (see membership) can advertise their products and services.
Disclaimer: changeXchange does not accept liability for any product or service offered.
2. Why should you Buy Social?
When social enterprises profit, society profits. Consumers, businesses and governments can use their purchasing power to make a positive difference in their community.
By buying from social enterprises, individuals can derive a range of benefits such as ensuring the money you already spend on goods and services stays in your local community, or goes to a cause you are passionate about. If you drink Trade Aid coffee, work out at a YMCA leisure centre, bank with SBS, the Co-operative Bank, TSB Bank or a credit union, belong to the YHA, the Manchester Unity Friendly Society, or you've been on a Whale Watch Kaikoura tour, then you’re already buying social.
By using the supply chain to buy from social enterprises, businesses and governments can more readily achieve their corporate social responsibility or social procurement objectives, such as reducing their carbon footprint, tackling unemployment, supporting people with housing or health issues whilst achieving social impact.
3. Why Sell Social?
By increasing market share, becoming more profitable and financially independent social enterprises through their trading activities help to build vibrant, enterprising and sustainable communities that improve people’s life. changeXchange aims to create a space where approved social enterprises (see membership) can showcase and sell their goods and services to the general public, government agencies, councils, businesses, not-for-profit organisations, and other social enterprises with a view to increasing their trading activity and profitability.
Specifically changeXchange aims to:
- Grow the market for social enterprise products and services in the B2B, B2G and B2C sectors;
- Build social procurement opportunities;
- Increase social enterprise’s trading capacity;
- Raise social enterprise capability;
- Achieve social, environmental, cultural and local economic development impacts;
- Secure social finance for social enterprises;
- Increase awareness and understanding of social enterprise;
- Influence central and local government policy;
- Support the creation of regional social enterprise hubs;
- Hold special member only events;
- Belong to a national movement;
4. Membership of changeXchange?
It has never been easier to buy social or sell social. Social enterprises who meet the following criteria can join changeXchange online today for free
- Membership is open to any registered New Zealand charity that derives a significant proportion of their income from trading activities.
- Membership is open to any social enterprise in New Zealand owned by a registered New Zealand charity.
- Membership is open to privately owned social enterprises provided they have stipulated in their constitution that a significant proportion of their profits will be redistributed back to the community.
5. Who are we and what do we do?
The changeXchange website has been developed by the New Zealand Community Economic Development Trust which was established in 2010 to foster understanding of community economic development in New Zealand.
6. How NZCED can help you?
- Help individuals, private companies, government agencies, local councils, not-for-profit organisations and other social enterprises find social enterprises from our membership to meet your specific needs.
- Help social enterprises organise ‘meet the buyers' or 'meet the suppliers' events to help engage with and showcase social enterprises their products and services.
- Help build business relationships that generate social benefits to communities across New Zealand and internationally.
- Help drive the social procurement model to build healthy communities.
- Help not-for-profit organisations develop and establish trading ventures and social enterprises.
7. Social Enterprises?
There is no legal business form called social enterprise nor is there is a common international definition: Different countries, government agencies, local councils, businesses and not-for–profit organisations even within a country use different definitions.
The NZCED Trust has a preference for defining social enterprise as a business owned or operated by a not-for-profit entity. As a business they sell products or services to customers, government agencies or other businesses. They have a defined social, cultural or environmental mission and an asset lock to prevent privatisation of profits and assets.
The NZCED Trust considers that privately owned businesses can be classed as social enterprises, if they have stipulated in their constitution that a significant proportion of their profits will be redistributed back to the community.
Despite these differences there are many common themes:
- Social enterprises (also referred to as community enterprises) are businesses that trade to tackle social problems; encourage cultural diversity; improve communities, people’s life chances and the environment.
- They operate as a business in that they make money from selling products and services in the open market. They strive to be viable and profitable. However, they reinvest the majority of their profit back into the local community.
- Their assets are principally retained for community benefit.
- The social, environmental, cultural and local economic development aims are balanced alongside the profit motive.
- Social enterprises are distinct from charities in that they derive a substantial portion of their income from trading as opposed to being funded through grants and donations.
- They are independent of government and are not owned by government agencies.