Cabinet Office sets business a £1bn social task

18 April 2016 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal

A £1 billion ‘Buy Social’ Corporate Challenge to encourage big businesses to procure the services of social enterprises has been launched by the Social Enterprise UK and the Cabinet Office.


The challenge encourages big businesses to join forces to spend £1 billion with social enterprises. Support services company Interserve, Johnson & Johnson, PwC, RBS Group, Santander, Wates, and Zurich are the first businesses to sign up to it.


The initiative is led by the body that is behind the Social Value Summit – Social Enterprise UK, and the Cabinet Office. By procuring goods and services from the UK’s social enterprise sector, businesses can help it to prosper and grow.


It will support a group of high-profile companies to collectively spend £1 billion with social enterprises by 2020. It is hoped that more businesses from a diverse range of industries will enlist to take part.


Peter Holbrook, chief executive of Social Enterprise UK, said: “Big businesses are waking up to the potential of their supply chains, rather than CSR budgets, to deliver meaningful social change. 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.”


Colin Downie, partnership development director for office supplies social enterprise WildHearts, who in February called for social enterprise targets, told FM World: “The Buy Social Corporate Challenge is the next natural step for corporate procurement teams on their social enterprise journeys. Many of the pledging companies are already ‘buying social’. This challenge will help them not only to continue to pioneer in this space, but lead by example for others who are starting to see the multiple benefits that social enterprises bring to corporate supply chains.”

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