A blog by Amanda Williams, Sustainability Manager

Arguably, social enterprises represent the best that business can offer. Innovative, commercially focused organisations, that give back to society or the natural environment. So I was delighted to attend the launch of the third year of the Buy Social Corporate Challenge at Westminster.

The event was hosted by Lord Victor Adebowale, the first People’s Peer and Chair of Social Enterprise UK, and was a chance to highlight some great social enterprises and the work that many businesses are doing to bring them in to their supply chain.

The Buy Social Corporate Challenge is a ground-breaking initiative which aims to get some of the UK’s biggest businesses to spend £1billion with social enterprises collectively. The evaluation of the first two years of the campaign shows that as well as achieving over £45 million in spend, the Challenge created 329 jobs and resulted in £2.98 million being reinvested into the missions of various social enterprises, from improving mental health and wellbeing to protecting the environment.

Opening the event, Lord Adebowale said that he looked forward to a time when buying social was not something that businesses do on the side, but part of core business. “The more people that use something, the greater the value,” he said as he urged the audience not just to talk to the converted, but also the unconverted, about the benefits of social enterprises.

It was particularly timely to take part in the event, as Landmarc is in the final stages of a piece of work with Social Enterprise UK and social enterprise CAN Invest to quantify the social impact of our own business. It was also a great opportunity to catch up with some of our favourite social enterprises.

Here at Landmarc we already engage with some exciting social enterprises, including:

  • AAA Caring Caretaker Ltd, a preferred supplier in the North Region, providing property management, maintenance, cleaning and security services.
  • From Babies with Love, a provider of maternity and paternity gifts which donates 100% of its profits to support orphaned and abandoned children around the world
  • Good Hotel, our preferred hotel in London, which reinvests it’s profits into training long term unemployed people to work in the hospitality industry
  • Wildhearts Group, an organisation that provides micro-loans to poor entrepreneurs in the developing world, which is an approved supplier of printing services to Landmarc

Landmarc is also a founding member of X-Forces, a social enterprise that is the leading organisation in the UK for enterprise in the military community, and works with the Career Transition Partnership which provides resettlement services for those leaving the armed forces.

This was the second chance I have had this year to meet with numerous social entrepreneurs who are on a mission to make the world a better place by doing good business. The first was a visit to the Social Value Summit in February, which aimed to make the case for commissioning and procuring for social value. It is clear that many more opportunities exist, and Landmarc hopes to bring more social enterprises into its supply chain in future.

Businesses that engage with social enterprises, are helping to support this growing sector which has a clear social purpose, delivering added value for society through the business that they do. That’s certainly something to celebrate.