If you’re looking to boost the sustainability of your category plan, try seeking out social-enterprise suppliers. While we all know change can be challenging, and some buyers are reluctant to shift from tried and tested suppliers, this simple A, B, C approach empowers you to make things happen – and support social enterprise with buying power.
Do you want a quick and easy way to get more sustainability into your category plan?
How about an approach that’s focused on suppliers rather than the scope of what you buy? The answer is to ‘buy social’ – purchase from a supplier that is also a social enterprise.
B2B social enterprises are increasing in number both here in the UK and globally. They’re a great way to promote sustainability because:
- Social enterprises have a positive social or environmental impact at the heart of their business model.
- Their scale is significant – they make a contribution of £60 billion to the United Kingdom’s GDP.
- Social enterprises are more diverse in their leadership and workforce, and we all know that diversity is proven to help businesses succeed and grow.
- Building social value into your supply chain can help your business attract and retain talent, enhance your brand and access new sources of innovation.
And the good news is that buying social is as easy as A, B, C!
A: Analyse Your Spend
Given that there are more than 100,000 social enterprise suppliers in the UK alone, there’s every chance you’ve already got them in your spend. Make sure you analyse spend before you start to source new suppliers – and get your Buy Social KPIs off to a flying start.
Once you have identified that existing spend, why not amplify the impact by highlighting these suppliers to your buyers and getting even more spend with them if you can?
Sometimes you will find them in unusual areas. One of my teams identified that we already used a local social enterprise for kettles and other household goods. We decided to direct more of our buyers to that cause, which meant increased revenues for that supplier – and all it took was an email from our procurement team.
B: Baby-Steps Approach Gets Quick Wins On The Board
Sometimes changing suppliers is a difficult thing to do. People can be reluctant to shift their spend away from suppliers they’ve used for years. So a baby-steps approach could help by giving your team an early success story to build momentum. Try starting with a low-risk category of spending.
Janette Evans-Turner, Head of Sourcing & Procurement at Zurich Insurance, quite literally took a ‘baby-steps approach’ when engaging with the social enterprise From Babies With Love. Members of her team identified a social enterprise they could use in a low-risk category of spend to ensure that there was a minimum of fuss – and they were able to redirect their spend from a mainstream retailer to a social enterprise.
‘It was easy to approach the buying department as the change didn’t seem that big,’ Janette reports. ‘When we explained to our colleagues in human resources the double whammy of benefits that the change to buying social with From Babies with Love could bring, they were chomping at the bit to get started!’
C: Commit To A Challenge
The final step in the process is a commitment to a target that you want to achieve. Companies such as Amey have put in place ambitious targets to increase their spend with social enterprise and the results have been impressive.
They signed up to the Buy Social Corporate Challenge, developed and delivered by Social Enterprise UK, to support this:
- The Buy Social Corporate Challenge programme, launched in April 2016, is designed to make it as easy as possible to buy from social enterprise suppliers.
- There are 24 high-profile businesses signed up to the Buy Social Corporate Challenge representing a broad range of industries – including built environment, financial services, technology and communications.
- More than £65 million was spent with social enterprise suppliers by Buy Social Corporate Challenge partners in the first three years of the programme.
- 100% of Buy Social Corporate Challenge partners in the UK rated the quality of their social enterprise suppliers as comparable or better than existing suppliers.
So why not follow this A, B, C process and see if you can start buying from a social enterprise or increase your spend with one today? Find out more about the Buy Social Corporate Challenge here.