Buy Social Corporate Challenge celebrates first anniversary & seeks more partners

The Buy Social Corporate Challenge is celebrating its first anniversary and is seeking more partners to join its group of businesses with the aim of spending £1 billion with social enterprises by 2020.
Led by Social Enterprise UK in partnership with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Business in the Community, the Challenge aims is to demonstrate that businesses in any sector can buy from social enterprises, and sees partner companies open up their supply chains to the UK’s 70,000 social enterprises. It hopes to see UK businesses involved in the Challenge commit to collectively spend £1 billion with social enterprises by 2020.
The first year of the Challenge saw £19.8 million spent, 125 social enterprises connected to major corporates, 35 procurement professionals trained in how best to work with social enterprises and an increase in awareness of the sector across the staff teams of the corporate partners.
Current partners are Amey, Interserve, Johnson & Johnson, PwC, Santander, Wates, Robertson Group and Zurich, but 23-30 partners in total are needed to achieve the £1 billion target.

Partners receive a package of support including a review of their supply chain and benchmarking existing social enterprise spend, training for procurement teams, brokerage support, and advice and support on how to measuring the impact of their spend with social enterprises, and how to use this in sustainability reporting/bid writing.
To encourage new partners to join, a public-facing ad campaign is running this month that will see campaign posters displayed at major train stations across London for two weeks. During this time Social Enterprise UK is encouraging both its members and the public to post on social media, using the hashtag #letsbuysocial and tagging businesses that they would like to see support social enterprise by signing up to the Challenge.

Peter Holbrook, chief executive of Social Enterprise UK said:

“The ambition behind the Corporate Challenge is huge – we’re asking some of the UK’s biggest businesses to change their habits and use their everyday procurement spend to meet social ends. It’s inspiring to see that one year on the Challenge has seen more partners sign up, more money spent and more lives enhanced. Our partners have spent a significant sum in the first year of the initiative but if we’re to hit our target of £1 billion we’re going to have to engage more businesses, and raise awareness of the Challenge across many more industries.