Pan-European scheme for fairer supply chains launched

28 September 2021

Major corporations are collaborating with social enterprise organisations in a pan-European initiative to make supply chains fairer and more sustainable.

Businesses including Compass Group, SAP and Zurich Insurance Group are to take part in a pilot, led by Social Enterprise UK (SEUK), to make it easier for corporations to engage with social enterprise suppliers across the EU and Switzerland.

The project, supported by Euclid Network, the European Social Enterprise Network and Social Enterprise World Forum, involves a database of approved suppliers.

Germany and Ireland have been identified as countries where the social enterprise supplier base is more mature and where the opportunities to make rapid progress are greater.

SEUK said global corporations were increasingly committed to bringing social enterprises into their supply chains and there were record levels of trade between corporate buyers and social enterprises in the UK last year, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

It said diversity, inclusion and sustainability were higher than ever on the agenda for procurement professionals, as leading corporations looked to use their purchasing power to achieving positive social and environmental outcomes.

SEUK chief executive Peter Holbrook said: “Procurement leaders at large businesses have really stepped up in the last few years to build social enterprises into their UK supply chains, and I am delighted to see that our corporate partners are now focusing on creating opportunities for social enterprises across Europe.”

Dominic Blakemore, group CEO of Compass Group, said social procurement was essential for a successful future.

“Across many of our regions, in particular the UK and USA, we’re already seeing first-hand the incredible social impact we can drive for communities, clients, customers and colleagues,” he said. “Now, we’re looking forward to expanding our work globally alongside the other founding members of the Social Enterprise UK Global Expansion group.”

Nikolaus Kirner, chief procurement officer at SAP, said now more than ever it was imperative to transform the supply chain to generate social and environmental impact through engagement with social enterprises.

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