AMS Fulfillment: What it Means to Be a Social Enterprise

October 29, 2021

AMS Fulfillment is a company that has long recognized and valued its role as a job provider in the communities in which it operates. We know how valuable the job-providers are and the impact upon the community that a job-provider has. AMS has been serving its community for nearly 20 years, growing to the point where we now provide 600+ jobs in various communities.

It was in January, 2018 that AMS announced its Social Enterprise certification, granted by LA County. At that time AMS, along with the College of the Canyons (COC), had successfully developed the first Logistics Apprenticeship Program in the US. This Apprenticeship was only one opportunity among many under AMS’ Workforce Development programs. As early as 2015 AMS began planning and providing college-level classes free of charge as well as job training, ESL and so forth, in partnership with COC.

It was and is a pleasure for top management to see employees join, grow, train, and advance within the company. A certain pride is felt when an employee utilizes the educational resources to advance at AMS or elsewhere.

AMS Fulfillment is a Social Enterprise as well as a B Corporation. We have long sought to hire individuals for whom finding work has been difficult. This includes individuals with disabilities, single parents, the homeless, persons who have been involved with the judicial system, seniors and at-risk youth. We were practicing diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) long before doing so became trendy! We believe that when it comes to culture and mission, AMS Fulfillment is the corporation of the future, sincere in its desire to be good for the world.

So, what exactly is a Social Enterprise? At SocialEnterprise.US we find the following: “Social enterprise can be challenging to define, in large part because the concept has been evolving rapidly in recent years and increasingly blurs the lines of the traditional business, government and non-profit sectors. Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA) suggests the following basic working definition: Organizations that address a basic unmet need or solve a social or environmental problem through a market-driven approach. Social enterprises span the spectrum of nonprofit to for-profit entities.”

 One of the models SEA recognizes is Opportunity Employment, defined as: Organizations that employ people who have significant barriers to mainstream employment.” The definition of Opportunity Employment certainly seems to describe what AMS Fulfillment does and has been doing for some years.

A recent article published by the World Economic Forum (WEF), the writer talks at length about the benefit of corporations working with social enterprises. The article begins with three points: 1) “There is an untapped opportunity for corporations and social enterprises to work together to achieve both business and social impact goals; 2) Social enterprises can bring inclusion and sustainability into corporate value chains; and 3) Two new reports show the breadth of alignment and impact possible, when corporations use their spending, or procurement, to purchase goods or services from social enterprises.”

For several years the World Economic Forum has been promoting Stakeholder Capitalism, which has similarity to the B Corporation philosophy in that corporations are encouraged to consider the employees, the community and the environment as having a stake in the decisions of the corporation. For the most part, this is good news for members of the public, as stakeholder capitalism indicates a changing culture, away from the model that puts profit before people and the environment.

This cultural change may be driven by public awareness of what happens to the environment and the health and well-being of people when corporations put profit above all else. It may also be driven by the desire of stockholders and top management to play a role in creating a better world.

Recently the B Corporation website (bthechange.com) featured an excellent article on B Corps that are Social Enterprises, entitled “A Look Inside the 6 Types of Social Enterprises,” and subtitled “Innovative, Mission-Driven Businesses Come in Many Models—and Purpose Lies at the Heart of Them All.” The article takes a close look at how different social enterprises are structured. Read the full article HERE.

Does the culture and mission of AMS Fulfillment tell us where corporations are going to be focusing in the future? We believe so. The world is weary of ‘profit above all’ and ready for corporations to B The Change.