Social Enterprise UK challenged us to take part in its ‘Buy Social Corporate Challenge’. This ground-breaking initiative aims to see high-profile businesses integrate social enterprises into their supply chains with the aim of achieving a combined £1 billion spend.
Social enterprises are businesses that are changing the world for the better; reinvesting at least 50% of their profits back into their businesses or communities. This allows them to tackle social problems, improve people’s lives and help the environment. Put simply, a social enterprise profits when society profits.
Currently in the UK there are over 100,000 social enterprises contributing £60bn to the UK economy and employing two million people, so there are plenty of opportunities to make more conscious purchasing decisions.
In order to tackle the Buy Social for a Better World challenge, as well as continuing our partnership with Social Enterprise UK, we have been working hard to change our suppliers to businesses who deliver on a certified social mission.
We kicked off with Change Please. Change Please is a coffee supplier that empowers the homeless, helping them off the streets by providing full training to become baristas, jobs paying the London living wage, as well as support with housing, finances and mental wellbeing. After consulting employees – through a coffee tasting session – we were thrilled to switch our coffee supplier to Change Please in October 2019.
In a similar vein, we held a tea tasting session for our employees to understand their opinion on NEMI Teas. NEMI Teas is a social enterprise that blends specialist teas to create positive change by employing refugees to help them better integrate in the UK. The business is solely impact driven and re-invests more than 50% of its profits into helping refugees. The feedback received from the tea tastings empowered our procurement team to make the change to NEMI Teas, which will be introduced in early November 2019.
We also source our fruit from the Fruitful Office. Fruitful Office is a social enterprise that delivers biodegradable fruit baskets to offices. For every fruit basket that Fruitful office sells, it plants one fruit tree in Malawi, partnering with UK charity Ripple Africa. This helps to mitigate the effects of global warming, deforestation and provides income support to local communities in Malawi. Surplus fruit is sent to local charities, including Battersea Zoo and Bristol Zoo, in order to minimise waste.
Since we started using Fruitful Office in September 2019, 50 trees have been planted!
So, it’s safe to say we have officially stepped up to the Buy Social challenge in year one. We have made a visible impact already and we are not stopping there. We are committed to switching to social enterprise suppliers wherever possible and we will endeavour to make as much positive social and environmental impact as we can.
What we can achieve by simply changing our suppliers is limitless. By taking these first vital steps, SAP UKI is helping the world run better with every coffee, glass of water and even an afternoon snack.