- Leading UK businesses have spent £165m through their supply chains over the past five years to help tackle major social and environmental challenges facing the country, including £73m in the past twelve months.
- Their investment has helped to create an extra 2,030 jobs at a time when the UK economy has seen significant challenges in employment
- Social enterprises backed to boost post-pandemic recovery
A staggering £165 million has been spent amongst the world’s leading businesses over the last five years to help tackle some of the most pressing social and environmental challenges facing the country – according to the Buy Social Corporate Challenge Year 5 Report published today by Social Enterprise UK (20th July).
The Challenge, which brought together companies from nearly every sector of the economy with the common goal of using their supply chains to change lives, create jobs and protect the planet, has seen procurement spend rise to a whopping £73m in the past twelve months alone.
As the trend continues for businesses to shift their spend by helping social enterprise organisations which work in deprived communities, hire disadvantaged people, implement environmentally sustainable practices and reinvest their profits back into the communities they support, Social Enterprise UK is calling for all large businesses to open up their supply chains to social enterprises
With 100,000 social enterprises now operating in the UK, contributing £60 billion to the economy and employing 2 million people, participation in the Buy Social Corporate Challenge has allowed social enterprises to create more jobs, grow their operations and increase their impact.
The new Buy Social Corporate Challenge Year 5 Report confirms that social enterprise suppliers performed strongly both on cost and quality, with 95% of corporate partners reporting that they deliver goods and services of comparable or higher quality compared with other suppliers. 95% also said buying from a social enterprise was cost neutral when compared with other suppliers.
Since the launch of the Buy Social Corporate Challenge in 2016 by Social Enterprise UK, the national body for social enterprise, corporate contracts have led to the direct or indirect creation of 2,030 jobs at social enterprises. Many of these jobs have gone to individuals who face barriers to the job market such as those with disabilities, veterans and ex-offenders. With the nation facing a COVID jobs crisis, corporate spend is now helping make real the promise of building back better and levelling up the country.
The 27 businesses signed up to the Corporate Challenge say that sourcing from social enterprises brings a wide range of benefits to their own businesses such as increasing supplier diversity, bringing more innovation into their supplier base and generating external recognition. Yet the most significant driving factor was its employees. As business leaders know that the market for talent is becoming more and more competitive, they are acutely aware that young people attach more importance to engaging with social enterprises – organisations which embody innovation, sustainability and diversity – and a new way of doing business. This new generation of Global Millennials and Gen Z are channelling their energies toward meaningful action—increasing political involvement, aligning spending and career choices with their values, and driving change on societal issues that matter most to them. For businesses to survive, business leaders are being encouraged to clearly demonstrate social value in their businesses and supply chains.
Commenting on the successes of the Buy Social Corporate Challenge, Peter Holbrook CEO of Social Enterprise UK said:
“Achieving nearly £165m of supply chain spend is a fantastic result that deserves recognition and celebration. Our Buy Social Corporate Challenge partners are social value pioneers; they are leading the way in changing the way business is done and using their spending power to bring new opportunities in every part of our country. The Buy Social Corporate Challenge shows us how we can address the local and the greatest global challenges of our time; addressing the climate emergency, levelling up the country, and using business to build a better and more equitable future.”