Purchasers urge support for social enterprise scheme

22 November 2012

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22 November 2012 | Anna Reynolds

Purchasers at companies backing a scheme to promote buying from social enterprises are urging other buyers to get involved, saying “more can be done”.

The ‘50 in 250’ campaign was launched a year ago to boost the number of firms sourcing from social enterprises. Social Enterprise Mark, the organisation behind the "ambitious" campaign is still trying to get 50 major companies to source from social enterprises. Campaign leaders are in discussion with businesses including British Gas, KPMG and Goldman Sachs to gain further support.

Those buyers who have supported the campaign said the relevance of the issue was increasingly important to both the public and private sector with the introduction of the Public Services (Social Value) Act, which comes into force at the start of next year.

“The importance of businesses having a sustainable supply chain has never been greater,” said Alex Castle, head of supply chain management at property firm Telereal Trillium.

Sophie Hulm, corporate responsibility manager at the City of London said: “Procuring from social enterprises offers an exciting opportunity to invest in an area of economic growth, with social enterprises showing greater resilience than traditional businesses in the economic downturn.”

She added: “There is much more that can be done. With the support of City businesses, the economic and social impacts delivered by social enterprises could be immense.  But we need to make it easy for procurement managers.

“The directory of Social Enterprise Mark suppliers proves that social enterprises provide a huge range of relevant products and services.”

The City of London reviewed its purchasing opportunities in areas such as transport, catering, design and event management. Telereal Trillium, meanwhile, bought its printing supplies, stationery, catering, and accommodation from five certified social enterprises.

Castle added: “We know that our money has contributed to improving various social causes, as well as providing opportunities for training and employment for disadvantaged people, a key focus of our corporate responsibility activity.”

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