A group of high profile businesses are aiming to spend £1 billion with social enterprises by 2020 as part of the Buy Social Corporate Challenge.

Led by Social Enterprise UK in partnership with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Business in the Community, a number of forward-thinking companies are opening up their supply chains to the UK’s 70,000 social enterprises.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign at Downing Street in April 2016, Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, said:

'This exciting project will have a huge impact on the social enterprise sector. This isn’t about asking businesses to spend more, but to spend in a way which helps us to build a bigger stronger society.

It’s a win-win for businesses and social enterprises and I hope to see more big businesses sign up to the Challenge.'

Current partners 

Current partners of this world-first initiative are Amey, Interserve, Johnson & Johnson, PwC, Santander, Wates, Robertson Group and Zurich.

Together, these businesses employ over 700,000 people around the world and have a combined turnover in excess of $200 billion.

Getting involved 

We are actively seeking more partners to be involved in the Challenge. In order to get to the levels of spend we’re targeting, we estimate we’ll need 23-30 partners from across the business community. If you’d be interested in getting involved, please email Charlie Wigglesworth.

The Corporate Challenge launched in April 2016 at a reception at Number 11 Downing Street

Click on the image above to see pictures from the launch 

Partners receive a package of support

Corporate Challenge partners are supported to buy and source from social enterprises - this includes:

  • A review of your supply chain and benchmarking existing social enterprise spend.
  • Training for procurement teams.
  • Brokerage support.
  • Advice and support on how to measuring the impact of your spend with social enterprises, and how to use this in sustainability reporting/bid writing.

It also includes communications support to engage employees and key stakeholders, including:

  • Internal communications campaigns, buyers fairs and promotions to educate staff on buying social.
  • External press coverage at events and through case studies and best practice.
  • Exposure with senior Government figures and across the business community.

The business case for bringing social enterprises into your supply chain

Procuring from social enterprises makes absolute business sense – research has shown that businesses with more diverse supply chains have higher staff satisfaction and retention, perform better and are more innovative. This is money businesses need to spend anyway, getting the same quality of goods and services but with a clear benefit to society – a strong statement of responsible business.

These behaviours are also being rewarded by the market – through the Social Value Act in the public sector, consumers in B2C and increasingly responsible businesses in B2B.

One Year Impact Report

One year since it's launch, this report looks at what's been achieved so far.  As well as reaching £19.8 million in spend, the Challenge has led to 125 social enterprises being connected to major corporates, the training of 35 procurement professionals in how best to work with social enterprises and an increase in awareness of the sector across the staff teams of the corporate partners. We also welcome on board two new partners - Amey and Robertson Group.

Download the full impact report here

#Letsbuysocial campaign 2017

To help reach our £1 billion goal we need more partners to join the Challenge. In order to drive this we're launching a major public facing ad campaign from the 8th May, which will see campaign posters (as above) displayed at major train stations across London for two weeks. Posters will be seen at Liverpool Street station, Bank, London Bridge, Kings Cross and Charing Cross.

During this time we are encouraging our members and the public to post on social media, using the hashtag #letsbuysocial and tagging businesses that they would like to see support social enterprise by signing up to the Challenge.

Click here, to take a look at a number of case studies on the relationships formed through the Corporate Challenge and the impact these partnerships have had.



Challenge Partners 

Challenge Supporters