Written by Luke Michael. Originally published on probonoaustralia.com

Cashrewards has become the first ASX-listed company to pledge 1 per cent of its equity to charity, hoping to inspire other Australian businesses to take this philanthropic approach.

The e-commerce platform – which gives customers cash back when they buy products online – is part of the Pledge 1% movement, which involves companies pledging 1 per cent of their equity, product, and employee time to their communities.

Cashrewards also donates 1 per cent of every transaction on its platform to the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

The company officially listed on the ASX last Wednesday, with Starlight now one of its shareholders.

Founder Andrew Clarke told Pro Bono News he was inspired to give back to charity through Cashrewards after witnessing his child successfully battle cancer.

“I spent a lot of time in the hospital with my child and so many people helped us so much. And I saw all the benefits from the various fundraising initiatives,” Clarke said.

“Starlight was doing a lot to help us during that time so I wanted to really embed giving back into the business.”

Cashrewards has delivered more than $100 million in cash back since its inception in 2014, with more than 800,000 members and over 1,500 merchant partners including Adidas, Amazon and Apple.

Clarke said the company’s strong social purpose was a driving force behind its success.

“We would not have achieved what we’ve achieved without having purpose so built into our business,” he said.

“It’s just made such a difference. It’s really why we do what we do, and what gets our team motivated.”

Clarke said with the company’s initial public offering this week, the business was set to grow even further.

He said this would offer a major boost to Starlight, which is one of many Australian charities to struggle this year due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“This means that more and more Australians are going to save money and we’re going to help more and more kids,” he said.

“Starlight haven’t been able to run their events, and this extra boost is significant for them to round out what’s been a difficult year for them, as it has been for most charities.”

Clarke said he hoped he would now inspire other ASX-listed companies to join the 1% pledge.

He noted that he himself was inspired by the actions of the pledge’s founding partners Salesforce and Atlassian.

“In the early days I went and met [Atlassian co-founder] Scott Farquhar, who was encouraging other businesses to join,” he said.

“And that helped us because meeting with [him] and hearing about the power of purpose was just so inspiring.

“We’re looking forward to going out there and encouraging many other businesses to join the pledge as well.”