Scots develop independent social enterprise scheme

Social Enterprise Badge will set higher threshold for reinvesting profits

Senscot logo
Senscot logo

Scottish social entrepreneurs are developing an independent social enterprise scheme for organisations north of the border.

The Social Enterprise Badge, under development by Senscot, the Scottish social entrepreneurs network, will be a rival to the Social Enterprise Mark being promoted in England by the Social Enterprise Mark Company and the Social Enterprise Coalition.

The Scottish scheme will have similar criteria to the mark, but will require businesses to reinvest 65 per cent of their profits, compared with 50 per cent for the mark.

In a statement on its website, Senscot said: "From its outset, the new SEM Company came under external pressure to go for maximum growth. This led to the late relaxation of criteria relating to profit distribution - in our judgement, a serious mistake.

"Consequently, in January 2010, Senscot declined the offer to be the Scottish partner. Our concern since then has been to consult with our Scottish sector about the best way forward.

"From various soundings, including a poll of our networks, we believe that a clear majority of social enterprises in Scotland - 75 per cent of our poll - would support an independent Scottish Identifier with our own criteria."

Lucy Findlay, managing director of the Social Enterprise Mark Company, said any new, separate identifier would be confusing to consumers.

"The mark already creates a clear demarcation between social enterprises, ethical businesses and traditional ‘private profit' businesses," she said.

"The final criteria are based on rigorous testing after thorough consultation across the sector to ensure that it includes a wide spectrum of social enterprise models without eroding clarity of purpose or undermining the rigour of the mark itself.

"The time is right to promote a single mark that the social enterprise community can get behind, both nationwide and internationally, and that can provide credibility to consumers who choose to buy from social enterprises."

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