Major Corporations Invest Nearly Half a Billion in Social Enterprises, Impacting Jobs and Communities

Major Corporations Invest Nearly Half a Billion in Social Enterprises, Impacting Jobs and Communities

26 Jun    Finance News, In Business

In a landmark achievement, thirty prominent businesses have collectively spent more than £475 million with social enterprises, leading to the creation of thousands of jobs and significant reinvestment in social and environmental initiatives.

This milestone is part of the Buy Social Corporate Challenge, an innovative project spearheaded by Social Enterprise UK and supported by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Launched in 2016, the Buy Social Corporate Challenge aims to integrate social enterprises into the supply chains of large corporations. The programme has seen substantial success, with the latest impact report indicating that 2023 experienced the highest trading levels to date. Challenge partners spent approximately £123 million with 992 social enterprise suppliers this past year alone.

Over its eight-year tenure, the programme’s partners have collectively invested around £477 million in social enterprises, enabling these organisations to reinvest £43.4 million into their critical missions. These missions include supporting vulnerable populations and combating financial exclusion.

The initiative has also been instrumental in job creation, generating over 4,500 jobs, particularly for individuals facing barriers to employment such as disabilities, past incarceration, or homelessness.

Charlie Wigglesworth, Deputy Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK, highlighted the transformative power of the Buy Social Corporate Challenge. “These latest results show that our Buy Social Corporate Challenge is not some well-meaning experiment for businesses willing to try something different – it’s a powerful force for change in corporate supply chains. We’re proud to see social enterprise at the forefront of this transformation,” Wigglesworth stated.

He further noted that corporate partners unanimously reported that social enterprises deliver comparable or superior quality products and services compared to other suppliers. This endorsement underscores that pursuing a purpose beyond profit does not compromise standards.

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The success of the Buy Social Corporate Challenge aligns with a broader global movement towards social procurement, supported by influential bodies such as the European Commission, OECD, and World Economic Forum. These organisations advocate for the integration of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles as a strategic advantage for engaging stakeholders.

Programme partners include major corporations such as Amey, AstraZeneca, AXA, CBRE, Co-op, Deloitte, EY, Johnson & Johnson, KPMG, Mitie, Nationwide, Nestle, PwC, SAP, Siemens, Sodexo, and Zurich Insurance Group. These companies source a wide range of services from social enterprises, including consultancy, education, skills development, and facilities management. There has been a noticeable increase in categories like food and beverages, employment services, and healthcare, though IT and digital services remain underrepresented.

The Buy Social Corporate Challenge continues to inspire both the public and private sectors to adopt socially responsible business practices, driving positive change for communities and the environment.

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