Siemens plc is the latest high-profile business to sign up to the Buy Social Corporate Challenge – a ground-breaking initiative aimed at embedding positive social and environmental impact into everyday business spend.
The UK government-backed Challenge sees leading businesses open up their supply chains to social enterprises - businesses set up to address some of the biggest challenges we face, from the climate emergency to deepening social inequalities.
The group of businesses, now made up of 24 of some of the biggest names from the legal, professional services, construction and insurance worlds, has committed to collectively spend £1 billion with social enterprise suppliers.
There are 100,000 social enterprises in the UK, selling goods and services like any other business, but re-investing the majority of their profits to benefit society. They are found right across the economy - from catering to cleaning products, from signage to software development, and from waste disposal to workwear.
Siemens has already got to work with Social Enterprise UK, the membership body for UK social enterprises who are behind the campaign, to look at where spend can be shifted to these businesses.
Siemens is already working with a number of social enterprise suppliers, including Wiltshire Wood Recycling – part of the nationwide Community Wood Recycling network – which offers an award-winning wood collection and recycling service as well as volunteering and employment opportunities to individuals with barriers to the labour market.
Commenting on joining the Challenge, Dietmar Harteveld, head of supply chain management at Siemens UK, said: “At Siemens we take our commitments to the sustainable development of the communities we work in seriously. Signing up to the Buy Social Corporate Challenge will help us increase our positive social and environmental impact as we use the power of procurement to improve lives, open up opportunities and build a greener, more equitable world. We look forward to working with Social Enterprise UK to bring more social enterprises into our supply chains.”
Peter Holbrook, chief executive of Social Enterprise UK added: “Through buying from social enterprises, businesses are using money they would be spending anyway to change lives. With Covid-19 hitting communities and the economy hard, alongside a looming climate emergency, there has never been a more important time for campaigns like the Challenge which have the potential to shift the way we do business and build back better from the impact of the pandemic. It is fantastic to have a company with the size and influence of Siemens sign up and we look forward to introducing them to new social enterprise suppliers.”