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Simple Steps to Social Procurement

For all organisations, no matter what industry you’re in, the benefits of working with social enterprises are numerous. It can help to align your values with the way you do business, contribute to meeting CSR and social value commitments, and even improve customer retention and staff satisfaction.

The fact that social enterprises can help to achieve all of this (and more), often at no extra cost, makes working with them a no-brainer for any organisation. Buying everyday goods and services from social enterprises can allow your organisation to make a real difference to people’s lives and the communities you work in, all with money you would have spent anyway.

Though creating a solid social procurement strategy can take time, starting to introduce social enterprises into your organisation’s supply chain doesn’t need to.

Here are some simple and practical steps that you can take to start making a difference with your everyday spend straight away:

1. Build on your existing relationships

Is your organisation already working with social suppliers? If so, use the social enterprise suppliers you’re already engaging with that can support immediately with minimal (if any) change to service delivery. Speak to your Community Investment or Procurement teams about coordination of these.

2. Start with small switches

Start by identifying smaller procurement needs within your supply chain that are easy to switch. Some common areas to start introducing social enterprises might include tea (NEMI Teas)and coffee (Change Please) for your offices or show homes , printed marketing materials (Calverts), stationery (Ethstat) or catering (Munch in Marylebone). There are so many social enterprises providing these easy-to-switch goods that are making an impact at the same time, making for really quick wins.

3. Change suppliers on different sites

If your organisation works on various sites (for example, in housing or construction) these present a range of opportunities to introduce social enterprise suppliers. Some examples might be buying carpets for show homes and communal areas from Greenstream Flooring or using Paint 360 to supply paint. In many cases these suppliers may offer an enhanced service with added benefits such as recycling of waste materials and impact to local residents.

4. Encourage your primary contractors

Ask your current contractors to examine their own supply chains to find space to subcontract to social enterprises and help create a (supply) chain reaction! Most organisations need goods and services like catering, cleaning and stationery — all things which can be procured from social enterprises. Giving each contractor a target of introducing 1–2 social enterprises is a great place to start.

Ready to start introducing social enterprises into your supply chain? Supply Change can help with the following:

We’re also currently offering free consultation assessments to help organisations figure out where they are on their social procurement journeys. Book in a free call with one of the team.


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