Million-pound social enterprise initiative aims to get firms to 'buy back better'

A campaign is being launched to support companies looking to “buy back better” through social enterprise supply chains.

Organised by membership organisation Social Enterprise Scotland, the Buy Social Scotland Corporate Challenge is backed by the Scottish Government and will see ten companies pledge to support social enterprise organisations in its initial phase. A target of £1 million has been set to be spent collectively through their supply chains.

Last year, Social Enterprise Scotland launched the Buy Social Scotland campaign promoting gift options that give back from Scottish social enterprises to consumers. New research suggests that almost 40 per cent of Scots are more likely to support social enterprises following the experiences of lockdown.

Building on that, the corporate challenge programme is being developed to support mainstream businesses to purchase more goods and services from local social enterprises that deliver key social and environmental impact in their communities.

Chris Martin, Social Enterprise Scotland CEO: 'We hope to build on our successful consumer campaign and make it easier for businesses to find and engage with local social enterprises across Scotland' Picture: Becky Duncan

A new online directory will make it easy for corporates, the public sector and small and medium-sized enterprises to find social enterprises that offer goods and services that meet their business needs and can be included in their supply chain.

Chris Martin, chief executive of Social Enterprise Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be working on this new campaign. In so doing we hope to build on our successful consumer campaign and make it easier for businesses to find and engage with local social enterprises across Scotland, while delivering on the ambitions of the social enterprise action plan for 2021-2024 and in response to the new build residential construction framework.

“As part of this framework, all contractors have agreed to engaging a supported business and/or a social enterprise as part of any work order exceeding £1m.”

Initial steps in the new initiative will also focus on interviews and survey work to collect insights and data.

There are in excess of 6,000 social enterprises in Scotland generating more than £3 billion in trading income and employing almost 90,000 people, according to a 2019 census.

The membership body said social enterprises deliver positive social or environmental change and reinvest their profits into supporting Scottish communities.

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