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£45 million spent by Corporates on social enterprises to change lives for marginalised communities

More than £45 million has been spent by UK Corporates on social enterprises, according to a new report from Social Enterprise UK (SEUK), on its pioneering initiative, the Buy Social Corporate Challenge, which is changing lives by redirecting Corporate supply chain spend into businesses which deliver social impact for some of the most deprived communities in the UK and around the world.

SEUK has now launched Year 3 of the Buy Social Corporate Challenge and is calling for UK businesses to spend £1 billion with social enterprises, in this world-first scheme, which is supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and Business in the Community. Major corporate partners include Amey, Johnson & Johnson, PwC, Robertson Group, Santander, Wates Group and Zurich, recently joined by Linklaters, Mace, BP and LV=.

Calling for more Corporates to sign up to the Buy Social Corporate Challenge, Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK, said: “Businesses are increasingly being held to account by their customers and their staff over how they operate, who they work with and the impact they are having on society and the environment. Traditional concepts of corporate social responsibility are often just not good enough but what the Buy Social Corporate Challenge has done is helped catalyse a movement of large companies who are using their core business spend to create real positive impacts in the communities they work with and around the world.

“If we are to achieve our ambitious target of £1 billion spent with social enterprises we need more businesses to get involved. What the Challenge has managed to achieve in the last two years has undoubtedly been impressive. Just over a handful of companies have managed to create hundreds of jobs, weave social impact into their supply chains and spend millions with social enterprises. 

“Social enterprises are thriving, market-leading businesses, which also deliver significant social benefit. Our latest report shows that 100 per cent of major corporates have found the services of social enterprises to be either as good or better than their previous suppliers with prices which are just as competitive. It makes sense that more corporates should sign up – it’s a win-win situation.”

As part of the challenge, social enterprises have been able to reinvest almost £3 million profit into their social missions, helping to create 329 jobs, while supporting some of the most deprived or marginalised communities in the UK and around the world.

Involvement in the Challenge has not only been hugely beneficial to the social enterprises, the Corporate partners to the Challenge have also reported benefits from their involvement around staff engagement, business development and the increased positive perception of their business.

Commenting on the business case for working with social enterprises, Su Pickerill Group Community Investment Manager at Wates Group said: “Wates is proud to support the Social Enterprise sector, enabling us to harness our procurement spend to deliver greater social value.

“This approach reflects Wates’ values to create a positive legacy in the communities in which we work and also aligns us with clients who share such values. Supporting Social Enterprise therefore makes sense both commercially in terms of supporting work winning and by leaving communities stronger and more resilient. We are committed to ensuring business is a force for good and this approach enables us to deliver on that, for our communities and our clients. The Buy Social Corporate Challenge is a channel for Wates to engage with other socially minded organisations and to encourage diverse and innovative organisations into our supply chain.”

To download the Buy Social Corporate Social Challenge Year 2 Impact Report please click here.

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