How to find the perfect social enterprise suppliers

Procuring from social suppliers means getting the same (or better) services but with the added value of creating a social or environmental impact. Many organisations are finding that prioritising impact has multiple benefits. As well as helping them attain sustainability and CSR targets for little or no extra buying spend, many procurement teams are finding that social suppliers are more agile and able to adapt to buyers’ needs. There is also benefit to the wider business as organisations taking action to tackle social and environmental problems find it easier to attract and retain the best talent.


Successful social procurement depends on connecting with the right social suppliers. Finding the ideal supplier can be time-consuming and engaging an unsuitable supplier can be costly. Just like finding any supplier, there are a whole host of contract specifics to consider. If you prioritise creating a positive impact then there are further considerations around that impact. Not only must we consider what kind of impact is desired but also to what extent a supplier is creating that impact and how it can be measured.

 


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Supply Change works with buyers to find and engage suppliers who can deliver impactful social procurement in specific locations. Our first step is to get a detailed understanding of the targets. We work with project managers to understand which contracts they would like to switch to a social supplier. Through this work, we also learn more about the specifications of a contract, such as size, timelines, location and social impact goals (e.g. engaging with local ex-offenders).


We have several areas of research to draw on for finding suppliers. The Supply Change Platform includes trusted suppliers who have already passed the Supply Change due diligence process. On it, we can search for suppliers filtered by specifications including product or service, location, size of the contract and areas of impact. We also draw on a database of 800 identified social suppliers, a network or sector support bodies and memberships, regional and national directories, local sector reports and articles and outreach through our digital channels.


Social suppliers deliver quality services and important social value. Pictured, Rising Stars Property Services
Social suppliers deliver quality services and important social value (pictured, Rising Stars Property Solutions)

Once we have our options of suitable suppliers we present them to the procurement teams. This presentation includes key information about each of the suppliers and how they can fulfil the specifics of the contract, including what impact they can deliver. Our support goes beyond research as we support both sides in the negotiations and quoting. One of the key pieces of support we offer is post-contract when we can measure and report on the impact created by buying from the chosen social suppliers.


Businesses across the private and public sectors are eager to embed social suppliers in their supply chains but establishing the right connections can be frustrating and time-consuming. Drawing on strong networks and specialist experience can create big returns for business as well as communities and the environment.

 

Supply Change makes buying from social suppliers easier, faster and more impactful.

Find out more about how we can connect your organisation with the perfect social suppliers.