Following the Social Value Act 2012, more businesses are following the public sector’s lead and buying social – from social enterprises like Corps Security or community interest companies which have a social or environmental mission. While it’s obviously the right thing to do, there are also several business benefits to taking a more ethical stance to your procurement.
Being competitive: businesses which work closely with the public sector will need to demonstrate social value in their supply chain as part of the Social Value Act 2012. Public sector organisations – and increasingly larger corporates too – are therefore including social value weighting in their tenders. One approach to demonstrating social value when bidding for these contracts is through buying from social enterprises. Businesses which don’t have a buy social approach will increasingly become uncompetitive and lose out on new business.
Increased innovation: social enterprises and community interest companies are typically smaller organisations which are particularly passionate about a specific product or service. This means they are often more innovative, flexible to change and can react quicker than larger competitors. According to Social Enterprise UK, social enterprises “have reach or innovative solutions that a larger business would struggle to achieve.”
Recruitment and retention: there are more than 1m job vacancies across the UK and a widespread labour shortage. Therefore keeping the people you have happy and being an employer of choice to attract the best new talent is key for businesses to survive. According to research by consultancy Global Tolerance, 42% of the UK workforce want to work for an organisation that has a positive impact on the world. Having social enterprises as part of a supply chain can help to meet this demand and ensure organisations have the best people working for them. PWC, which is a founding member of the Buy Social Corporate Challenge, says buying social “inspires our people, engendering pride in our business.”
Boosting ESG credentials. Buying from social enterprises and community interest companies ensures organisations have a diverse supply chain and it can form part of their commitments to environmental, social and corporate governance targets. Buying social boosts diversity and inclusion, encourages social mobility and supports disadvantaged groups in society. As an example, at Corps we don’t have shareholders. Instead we reinvest our profits in our business and people and donate a proportion to Combat Stress, which helps former servicemen and women deal with issues like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.
Ready to buy social? There are over 70,000 social enterprises in the UK, although Corps is the only major social enterprise delivering security services. Social Enterprise UK has 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 – or talk to us about supporting you.