Big business encouraged to ‘Buy Social’ in £1bn challenge

Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) and the Cabinet Office have joined forces in a bid to encourage big businesses to spend £1bn with social enterprises – including co-operatives –...

Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) and the Cabinet Office have joined forces in a bid to encourage big businesses to spend £1bn with social enterprises – including co-operatives – by 2020.

Launching at Downing Street on Monday 18 April, the start of Responsible Business Week, the £1bn Buy Social Corporate Challenge will see big businesses procure goods and services from the UK’s social enterprise sector, helping it to prosper and grow.

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[All photos: Social Enterprise UK]

During the programme, Social Enterprise UK and the Cabinet Office will support a group of high profile businesses through the training of their procurement teams on how to source and buy from social enterprises, and the advantages of doing so.

Buy-Social-Logo-2 webThey will also receive advice on measuring the impact of their spend with social enterprises, and how to use the data in sustainability reporting and bid writing.

Co-operatives: the ultimate responsible business?

Business partners already on board include Interserve, Johnson & Johnson, PwC, RBS Group, Santander, Wates, and Zurich.

According to Social Enterprise UK, procuring from social enterprises gives private sector organisations the opportunity to be a force for good in the communities in which they operate while meeting supplier diversity aims and can also bring with them innovation and creativity.

“Big businesses are waking up to the potential of their supply chains, rather than corporate social responsibility budgets, to deliver meaningful change,” said Peter Holbrook, chief executive of SEUK.

“Buying from social enterprises places sustainability at the very heart of a business, creates innovation and helps support the growth of organisations that are tackling some of society’s most pressing problems. I applaud all of the partners who have already signed up to the Challenge for their leadership in this space and encourage others to get involved.”

Minister for civil society, Rob Wilson, added: “This exciting project will have a huge impact on the social enterprise sector. This isn’t about asking businesses to spend more, but to spend in a way which helps us to build a more compassionate society. It’s a win-win for businesses and social enterprises.”

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