4S: Sustainable & Social Suppliers' Stories
1. A pair of funky socks.
2. Now, a pair of funky socks building prosthetic limbs.
3. Then, a happy person!
It seems unreal but it is as true as the story you are about to read:
UP movement is an Australian-based social enterprise that exists to help restore the freedom of human mobility to amputees in developing and war-torn countries. They commit 100% of profits from the sales of their funky socks to build prosthetic limbs and train more professionals in the field.
WHAT'S THEIR BUSINESS?
UP movement was born in Cambodia. It was early 2017 when founder, Tom Henskens was on a university placement for prosthetic rehabilitation in Cambodia. He was astounded by the severe lack of resources and overwhelming need for prosthetic care throughout the country. The small rehabilitation centre where he worked in Phnom Penh, took care of hundreds of patients. There were not enough trained professionals at the facility to care for the amputees, and of the clinicians that were there, they were not paid nearly enough to support their families.
Upon returning home to Australia, he learned that the situation for amputees was even more dire in other parts of the world.
THE SITUATION, IN NUMBERS
There are over 35 million amputees in the world, resulting from either disease, road accidents, landmines, or war.
In Syria, over 50 thousand civilians have been affected by the ongoing civil war and required some form of amputation.
In Sudan, there is only one Prosthetic Rehabilitation Centre that supports approximately 60,000 patients annually.
The lack of support for amputees is a growing concern in many nations–mostly in underdeveloped countries–and it is still an underreported and recognised issue.
This is what motivated Tom to start UP movement.
SOCIAL COMMITMENT, THEIR BUSINESS MODEL
Up movement operates a 100% profit donation model. They sell funky socks and donate all profits to build prosthetic limbs and train professional staff in rehabilitation centres and clinics.
To do this, they have partnered with ALTSO, a global organisation with great expertise in the field, and committed to the cause. “A Leg To Stand On” (ALTSO) is a NYC-based charity that builds prosthetic limbs at a cost that makes it possible for UP movement to scale their project worldwide.
Currently UP movement’s operations are focused in Cambodia and they are in the process of becoming a registered charity to be able to fundraise and receive tax-deductible donations.
“Everybody deserves the freedom of human mobility, and we
together have the ability to improve the quality of life for millions
across the globe, one pair of socks at a time.”
CURRENT CHALLENGES AND PROJECT OZ
COVID-19 has been a devastating event for many organisations across the globe, with many losing their jobs, income and their overall quality of life. At UP movement, they have experienced severe disruptions in their supply chain, and their major fundraising event in October may not go ahead.
At the same time, they acknowledge that there are many Australians that have been hit significantly harder than them, so they want to do their bit to help them.
So on April 20th, they launched Project Oz, an effort to do their bit to help small businesses and artists in Australia, bringing out a line of socks that are fully manufactured by small businesses in Australia and also designed by Australian artists.
In recognition of supply chain fragility, and wanting to support Australian businesses, one of UP movement’s first steps was to bring their manufacturing operations back to Australia. “We originally had our socks made in China due to lower operating costs, however as the current situation has worsened, we wanted to do as much as we could to support more local manufacturers.”
These are one of the hardest-hit professionals during this pandemic, with many not eligible for government support.
Through Project Oz, UP movement will be able to support several artists by engaging them to design new styles!
Through this collaboration, the socks will showcase new designs of artists while at the same time create awareness of their work. The artists will receive a commission from every pair of socks sold.
HOW COULD YOU USE THEM IN YOUR BUSINESS?
There are many ways and reasons to integrate UP movement’s funky socks and social impact into your business:
- National Sock Day! It’s not a thing? Well it should be. Let your staff show off some individual flair and support for local artists by celebrating with a morning tea and sock parade.
- Instead of the same old corporate gifts, show clients and employees that you support social enterprise by gifting a pair of socks that helps restore the freedom of human mobility to millions of amputees worldwide.
By supporting UP movement, you are contributing to 6 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: Goal #1 No Poverty, Goal #3 Good Health & Well-Being, Goal #4 Quality Education, Goal #8
Decent work and Economic growth and Goal #10 Reduced Inequalities.
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