A new initiative to open up supply chains to social enterprises to make them “fairer and more sustainable” has been announced.
The new partnership of global corporations and social enterprise bodies “promises to make this form of trade far more common across Europe in the years to come”, says coalition body Social Enterprise UK.
The group of corporations has launched the initiative to encourage businesses to ‘Buy Social’ across Europe to improve their environmental impact and support recovery from the pandemic.
Some of these corporations – including Compass Group, SAP and Zurich Insurance Group – are now working together to build on their success in individual national markets and take their social procurement work to the next level. They are part of a pilot, led by Social Enterprise UK with the support of Euclid Network, the European Social Enterprise Network and Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF), which aims to make it easier for corporations to engage with social enterprise suppliers across the whole of the EU + Switzerland region.
Dominic Blakemore, CEO of Compass Group, said: “We believe social procurement is 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. Now, we’re looking forward to expanding our work globally alongside the other three businesses involved in this important pilot.”
Phil Soderberg, head of procurement and vendor management at Zurich Insurance Group, said “The Buy Social campaign has had a hugely positive impact in the communities we serve. Our spending with a stationery and talent development provider, for example, has helped transform over 1,000 lives around the world through programmes addressing gender inequality and social mobility. The campaign has also generated enormous energy inside our procurement organisation, and we are keen to expand the programme into other markets where we operate to make it a core pillar of our global sustainable sourcing drive.”
A database of approved suppliers has already been launched, allowing the companies to connect with a growing number of recommended social enterprises across the whole of the EU + Switzerland region, according to Social Enterprise UK.
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