Seven businesses to spend £1bn with social enterprises by 2020

The seven, including Interserve, PwC, Zurich and Santander, have signed up to the Cabinet Office initiative the Buy Social Corporate Challenge

The Buy Social launch
The Buy Social launch

Seven big businesses have pledged to spend £1bn between them with social enterprises by 2020 as part of a Cabinet Office and Social Enterprise UK initiative.

The business support company Interserve, the healthcare company Johnson & Johnson, the professional services firm PwC, the construction company Wates, the insurance firm Zurich and the banks RBS and Santander have all signed up for the Buy Social Corporate Challenge, which will involve businesses buying goods and services from the UK’s 70,000 social enterprises, according to a statement from SEUK.

The statement said procurement teams for the partners in the BSCC, which was launched at Downing Street this week as part of Responsible Business Week, would be given training on how to source and buy from social enterprises and the advantages of doing so.

Peter Holbrook, chief executive of Social Enterprise UK, said: "Big businesses are waking up to the potential of their supply chains, rather than corporate social responsibility budgets, to deliver meaningful social change. Buying from social enterprises places sustainability at the very heart of a business, creates innovation and helps support the growth of organisations that are tackling some of society’s most pressing problems."

Rob Wilson, the Minister for Civil Society, 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 that helps us to build a more compassionate society. It’s a win-win for businesses and social enterprises."

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