Procuring a Better Society
Siemens is the latest high-profile business to sign up to the “Buy Social Corporate Challenge” initiative from government-backed organisation, Social Enterprise UK.
The initiative which aims to embed positive social and environmental impact into everyday business expenditure, requires participating businesses to open up their supply chains to social enterprises – businesses that are set up specifically to address some of the biggest challenges the United Kingdom faces, from the climate emergency to deepening social inequalities.
Other businesses participating in the scheme include Amey, AstraZeneca, BP, Barclays, CBRE, Deloitte, Engie, Foodbuy, ISG, Johnson and Johnson, Landmarc, Lendlease, Linklaters, LV = Mitie, Motorola Solutions, Nationwide, PwC, Robertson, SAP, Siemens, Wates, Wilmott Dixon and Zurich.24 who have committed collectively to spending £1 billion with social enterprise suppliers.
There are 100,000 social enterprises in the UK, selling goods and services like any other business, but re-investing the majority of their profits to benefit society. They are found right across the economy – from catering to cleaning products, from signage to software development, and from waste disposal to workwear.
Siemens has already got to work with Social Enterprise UK, the membership body for UK social enterprises who are behind the campaign, to look at where spend can be shifted to these businesses. Additionally, the company is already working with a number of social enterprise suppliers, including Wiltshire Wood Recycling – part of the nationwide Community Wood Recycling network – which offers an award-winning wood collection and recycling service as well as volunteering and employment opportunities to individuals with barriers to the labour market.
Commenting on joining the Challenge, Dietmar Harteveld, Head of Supply Chain Management at Siemens UK, said: “At Siemens we take our commitments to the sustainable development of the communities we work in seriously. Signing up to the Buy Social Corporate Challenge will help us increase our positive social and environmental impact as we use the power of procurement to improve lives, open up opportunities and build a greener, more equitable world. We look forward to working with Social Enterprise UK to bring more social enterprises into our supply chains.”
Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK, added: “Through buying from social enterprises, businesses are using money they would be spending anyway to change lives. With Covid-19 hitting communities and the economy hard, alongside a looming climate emergency, there has never been a more important time for campaigns like the Challenge which have the potential to shift the way we do business and build back better from the impact of the pandemic. It is fantastic to have a company with the size and influence of Siemens sign up and we look forward to introducing them to new social enterprise suppliers.”
About Social Enterprise UK
Social Enterprise UK is the largest network of certified social enterprises in the UK and the leading global authority on social enterprises. Together with our members we are the voice for the sector. We have led public policy for 15 years, helping pass the Social Value Act, and are a strategic partner to government. We exist to increase the profile of the sector through our campaign and research, and build the markets for our members – working with some of the UK’s biggest companies to support them to bring social enterprises into their supply chains. Our members reflect the diversity of the sector ranging from local grass-roots organisations to multi-million-pound businesses. We see social enterprise as the future of business.
About social enterprises
Social enterprises are businesses which trade for a social purpose that reinvest or donate over half their profits to further this social or environmental mission. They are an increasingly important part of the UK economy contributing £60 billion and employing 2 million people. Estimates are there are 100,000 in the UK. Research carried out by Social Enterprise UK, the membership body for the sector, shows they are outperforming traditional businesses when it comes to start-up rates, turnover growth and innovation. They are also ahead of the pack when it comes to workforce diversity and pay. For more information and statistics see Social Enterprise UK’s State of Social enterprise Report 2019 and the ‘Hidden Revolution’ report which showed the true scale and impact of the sector.