Frequently Asked Questions – Biji-biji


Frequently Asked Questions

Is Biji-biji Initiative for profit?

Yes. Biji-biji Initiative is a social enterprise. We are a for-profit business with social and environmental goals. Reaching financial objectives are crucial in running our social enterprise, staying afloat and moving forward, while staying true to all commitments we have made.

Why your Social Enterprise is called Biji-biji Initiative?

Biji-biji is a word of Malay origin, meaning seeds. We want the seeds we sow to sprout into many more Open Workshops around Malaysia. We also aim to encourage replication of our business model in creating many more social enterprises, all across Malaysia.  

What are Biji-biji Initiative’s Sustainability Indicators?

Biji-biji Initiative’s Sustainability Indicators are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) we have developed, against which we measure our sustainability commitments. There are 12 Sustainability Indicators that we measure our business activities with, which you find below:

ECONOMIC

SOCIAL

ENVIRONMENT

LOCAL PROCUREMENT

Percentage of materials sourced from local and international suppliers

RAISING AWARENESS

How many new people were reached (no. of participants)

WASTE UPCYCLED

Amount of waste, recyclables and second-hand materials incorporated

 

FAIR WAGES

How many times  more was the wage earned by the lowest paid employee compared to minimum wage?

 

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

How many individuals or communities were engaged

WASTE REDUCED

New methods and technologies explored to eliminate waste creation

SOCIAL INCLUSION

Total amount of money channeled to community-in-needs through employment or supplier engagement

 

GENDER EQUALITY

Ratio of male and female members engaged by job scope and/or in decision making roles

 

SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT

How was 1% sustainable procurement budget used

OPEN BOOK FINANCE

Adherence to the Biji-biji Initiative Financial Model

 

OPEN SOURCE DEVELOPMENT

How many new open source instructables were made and shared

GREEN TECHNOLOGY

Aspects of green technology incorporated (energy efficiency, etc)

 

 

 What is Biji Score?

Biji Score is a point-based scoring system developed based on our Sustainability Indicators. It measures the social, environmental and economic impact of making one unit of a product. To maintain relevancy of the scoring system in measuring impacts in making a product, we have only chosen indicators that are relevant to the specific line of product that are being measured. Due to the nature of the indicators which either has (1) more than one measurable and (2) with subjective measurable, 1 economic indicator, 2 social indicators and 3 environmental indicators have been excluded. The indicators that have been excluded in the Biji Score systems will be reported on our Annual Report. You can find the Biji Score for all products we sell at online shop.

The chart below shows how Biji Score is calculated.

CRITERIA

PERCENTAGE

BIJI SCORE

ECONOMIC

Local Procurement

Percentage of materials sourced from local and international suppliers

0 %

0

1% - 25%

1

26% - 50%

2

51% -75%

3

76% - 99%

4

100%

5

ECONOMIC

Social Inclusion

Total amount of money channeled to community-in-needs through employment or supplier engagement

 

0

0

1% - 25%

1

26% - 50%

2

51% -75%

3

76% - 99%

4

100%

5

ECONOMIC

Fair Wages

How many times more was the wage earned by the lowest paid employee compared to minimum wage?

 

0

0

1% - 25%

1

26% - 50%

2

51% -75%

3

76% - 99%

4

100%

5

ENVIRONMENT

Waste upcycled

Amount of waste, recyclables and second-hand materials incorporated

0 %

0

1% - 25%

1

26% - 50%

2

51% -75%

3

76% - 99%

4

100%

5

SOCIAL

Gender Equality

Ratio of male and female members engaged in decision making roles

 

1:0

0

1:0.2

1

1:0.4

2

1:0.6

3

1:0.8

4

1:1

5

SOCIAL

Open Source Development

Have the open source instructable been made, published and shared?

No

0

Yes

5

 

What is Biji-biji Initiative Governance Framework?

Our Governance Framework sets out the key principles and models that govern the operations of the Biji-biji Initiative. The principles and models described are a formal documentation of the day-to-day practices and operations of the Biji-biji Initiative. The principles and models may change over time, to suit the size and complexity of the organization. All changes and amendments will be documented and updated on this platform, and communicated to all Biji-biji Initiative members and partners. For more information, check out our Governance Framework

What is Open Book Finance?

Open Book Finance is a term coined by John Case in Inc. magazine in 1993. It was popularized by Jack Stack in his 1992 book, The Great Game of Business, co-written with Bo Burlingame. Open Book Finance encourages the creation of a culture where employees at all levels understand how their particular task fits in with the company’s financial plan. It inspires employees at all level to think and make decisions as the owner of the social enterprise. Below is our Financial Distribution Model. For more information, check out our Governance Framework

BREAKDOWN

PERCENTAGES

Salaries

30%

Materials

30-40%

Overheads

10%

Reinvestment

20-30%

Total

100%

 

What is Open Source?

Biji-biji Initiative is a strong advocate of Open Source principles. Open Source means the rights to study, change and distribute a design and is open to anyone for non-commercial purpose. This allows the designs to be constantly improved upon. By trying to spread good ideas instead of protecting them, we can innovate efficiently and effectively. At Biji-biji Initiative, our product designs are published online. Refer to the Instructables by Biji-biji section at Open Workshops.

What are Open Workshops?

Our Open Workshops are equipped with tools and machinery. They also serve as our prototype development, production and storage facilities. At our Open Workshops, the public have access to all our tools and guidance.  Currently, our Open Workshops equip woodworking, metalworking, electronics and stitching tools. Our team of skilled builders will teach you in designing a product and in bringing your product to reality. You will only be charged for the materials used. For more information, www.biji-biji.com/openworkshops For more information, check out Open Workshops

What kind of waste do you take?

Currently, we mainly use pallet woods, wood waste, scrap metals, diesel drums, rejected seat belts and bicycle wheels. From time to time, we make a call out for specific items that we are looking for. Due to limited space, we have to think thoroughly about how we will use them, before accepting waste materials. We prefer waste materials that are of versatile use and in volume, as it will be easier to incorporate these materials into our products and services. If you have waste materials that you would like to provide us, send us an email (with a picture of the item and amount available) to share@biji-biji.com

How can you get involved?

As a collaborative space, we welcome everyone. There are a few options for any enthusiastic individuals.

Come volunteer/intern/work with us!

You have some free time? Our Open Workshops are a bustling environment with many on-going projects. Check out how to join us for more information

Take on a specific project!

Pick up some building skills or explore a new project that falls within our scope of work (sustainability, upcycling, green technology, renewable energy) at our Open Workshops. Email your ideas to share@biji-biji.com

Are you funded by any individuals or any organization?

Initially, we were self-funded by the founders of Biji-biji Initiative. Soon after, in May 2013, we received British Council’s Entrepreneurs for Good Grant worth RM 32,000. In March 2014, we have received RM 58,000 from Shell Sustainable Development Grant. In December 2014, as the winner of Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin Entrepreneurship Award as part of the Alliance Bank SME Innovation Challenge, we received RM 250,000. All these cash prizes were invested in our Social Enterprise.

Do you provide sponsorship?

No, As a SME, it is not within our capacity to provide any financial sponsorships or free products and services. However, we welcome everyone to our Open Workshops, where we will happily employ our resources to teach you what we know.

Do you provide free talks or workshops?

No. However, from time to time, we do engage in client-commissioned works which are open to public. Please check out our Facebook page for upcoming public events which you can bring your kids and students to.

How do you deal with your own waste?

Reduce

The best way to reduce waste is by not creating it. So, we reduce waste. 

Upcycle

Then, we upcycle by incorporating them in builds, our products and services.

Recycle

We have partnered up with iCycle Malaysia. Our Open Workshops are now collection points of recyclable items. 

Compost

We compost our food scraps.

Landfill

What’s left, we send them to landfill. If you know of individuals or organizations that we can send our waste to, do let us know.

Do you collect recyclable items?

Yes, we do. We have partnered up with Icycle Malaysia. Our Open Workshops are now collection point of items listed below:

a. Newspaper

b. Mixed paper (magazine, coloured newspaper, shredded paper (tie in a bag)

c. Black and white paper

d. Cardboard

e. Tetrapak

f.  Plastic bottles

g. PP-microwavable containers

h. Glass bottles (broken ones as well)

i.  Scrap metal

j.  Cans

k. Toner and cartridges

l.  Cables and wires

m. E-waste

n. Light bulbs

o. Batteries

Do all your projects incorporate waste materials?

No. We try to incorporate waste materials in all products and services we offer. However, at times, as a SME that has to pay our bills and stay afloat, we do engage in client-commissioned works which use 100% new materials. However, staying true to our commitments stated in our Governance Framework, we only take on client-commissioned works that falls under either our social entrepreneurship or sustainability principles.

For our products sold through our online shop, Biji Scores are a good indication of the amount of waste materials incorporated. On the description section of each product, you will find the scoring criteria and details on how Biji Score for that specific product was derived.