Galvanizing Businesses to Generate Positive Social Impact Through Impact Sourcing

By Mark Williams, Manager, Global Impact Sourcing Coalition

The Impact Sourcing Challenge is the first of its kind to specifically focus on escalating impact sourcing as a way to increase employment and career development opportunities for disadvantaged workers.

Three months on from the launch of the Global Impact Sourcing Challenge, we are delighted by the outpouring of support from GISC members, over half of which have already responded. The Global Impact Sourcing Coalition (GISC), a business network creating jobs for those most in need through Impact Sourcing, challenged its members to hire 100,000 new impact workers by the end of 2020. So far, twelve companies, all members of GISC, have pledged to hire more than 13,000 new impact workers.

The impressive response rate and boldness we are seeing from our members is a great start but we must keep up the momentum to reach the target number of impact workers. Impact workers are people hired into an organization who were previously long-term unemployed or living under the national poverty line. Through the business practice of Impact Sourcing, companies prioritize suppliers that intentionally hire and provide career development opportunities to people who otherwise have limited prospects for formal employment.

This is why it matters. One of the most sustainable means to inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction is to ensure that disadvantaged populations have access to formal employment and decent work, allowing them to improve their conditions, acquire a career, and thus lift themselves, their families, and their communities out of poverty. For every impact worker receiving employment, five to six family members benefit due to the increased spend on family and household requirements. 

This practice is not just good for impact workers. It also benefits suppliers and their buyers directly. Buyer can access suppliers with responsible hiring that also compete on quality, service, and price. The benefits also include a more stable supplier workforce, as well as increased social impact and a demonstration of corporate citizenship. Tim Hopper, Manager of Responsible Sourcing Initiatives at Microsoft says, “We have been working on Impact Sourcing for several years together with our suppliers to encourage inclusive employment. For Microsoft, Impact Sourcing is about knocking down artificial barriers to employment and allowing high-potential individuals to bring their strengths to the marketplace.”

Suppliers, meanwhile, gain access to a large and untapped talent pool, save costs compared with traditional workers, and stand to benefit from increased workforce performance. Cathy Kalamaras, Managing Executive of People at Webhelp SA, says of the benefits of inclusive employment, “In 2017, we placed circa 230 Impact Sourcing candidates into our business. Over and above the ROI, which showed a 46 percent cost saving and performance delivery improvements, we have enjoyed the enthusiasm, positive attitudes, and willingness to be develop of our new group of colleagues. Webhelp sees this as testimony that this is a sourcing model well worth investing in.”

Impact Sourcing therefore is a proven opportunity for business suppliers to distinguish themselves from the competition as inclusive employers and for buyers to find suppliers that share their values. Through the Global Impact Sourcing Challenge, we aim to galvanise businesses into hiring tens of thousands of people who formerly lacked the resources to secure good jobs to deliver an even greater social impact.

The Challenge marks GISC’s public commitment to helping deliver Sustainable Development Goals 1, 8 and 10. By taking part in the Challenge, companies will be able to make a direct contribution to SDG 8, to “promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all”. The Challenge is seen as the largest official commitment to SDG 8 made since the launch of the Global Goals. Making a pledge is a tangible way for businesses to fight poverty.

Aegis, AutonomyWorks, daproim Africa, Digital Divide Data, isahit, PeopleShores, RuralShores, Pixelz, Regenesys BPO, Samasource, TechnoBrain, Trizma and Webhelp SA have all pledged to hire new impact workers by the end of 2020 and we celebrate their commitments. To join them and find out more about the Challenge visit

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