With over 70,000 social enterprises in the country, chances are there’s a social enterprise near you. Social Enterprise UK worked with the City of London Corporation, the Cabinet Office and Aspire Group to put together the Buy Social Directory – the UK’s largest database of social enterprise suppliers.
The Directory is perfect for connecting private and public sector buyers with social enterprises offering products and services. It’s the place to go to get a good deal done.
Ethstat and Telereal Trillium – ‘None of this would have been possible without the Buy Social Directory’
Over the last 10 years, the consideration of environmental impact in procurement has moved from a minor fringe interest to a cornerstone of good practice in all businesses. Across that time Ethstat Founder Bruce Halai-Carter has been a researcher, campaigner and advocate for making environmental purchasing more accessible for business. His argument has always been that reducing an organisation’s environmental footprint should never result in a lowering of quality nor an increase in cost. As this understanding has become more prevalent amongst purchasing professionals Bruce understood that the next logical step had to be to push the boundaries from sustainability to ethical procurement.
Ethstat was established to be an exemplar to show that it was possible for businesses, large and small, to purchase core business supplies in a way that fully embraces John Elkington’s triple bottom line of People, Planet and Profit. By investigating and understanding the provenance of Ethstat’s stationery supplies its expert advisors are able to help organisations select a range of products that best fits its needs and its environmental ambitions. The profits derived from the supply are then invested in environmental and social projects both nationally, through organisations like Shelter and the local Transition Town movements and internationally through organisations such as ActionAid. Internally staff are recruited on a placement basis, weighted towards groups that traditionally find it difficult to gain access to the jobs market, including the long-term unemployed and ex-offenders.
In late 2014, Telereal Trillium were seeking to develop and extend their relationship with social enterprise. Quite rightly, office stationery and catering supplies were seen as an activity that would enable them to invest in the social economy with minimal disruption to their business. Ethstat has helped Telereal Trillium reduce their expenditure on catering supplies and reduced the environmental impact of their deliveries by consolidating suppliers and delivery dates while increasing the proportion of their spend on Fairtrade, organic and recycled products while also increasing service levels. Indeed Alex Castle the then Head of Procurement said of the relationship in a previous case study;
Ethstat are an excellent example for other corporates, that using social enterprises doesn’t mean compromising – they have so far been totally professional, responsive, flexible, transparent, and provided great customer service, as well as good value. Very impressed!
None of this would have been possible without the Buy Social Directory to bring the two organisations together. It is doubtful whether either of us would have ever known of the other, let alone our shared aims and vision for pushing the boundaries of ethical procurement.