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Buy Social Directory launched to make ethical choices ‘easy’



The Buy Social campaign has moved another step forward in its aim to increase the amount of trade between the private sector and social enterprises, with the launch of a new directory.

The Buy Social Directory is a free online resource where over 10,000 UK-based social enterprise suppliers can offer their products and services all in one place.

The directory has been developed collaboratively by the Aspire group, the Cabinet Office, the City of London Corporation and Social Enterprise UK.

Social enterprises are businesses that reinvest their profits into social and environmental causes. Businesses are encouraged to use the directory to find social enterprises their company can use and this can bring about lots of benefits including ensuring money spent on goods goes back into the local community.

Alex Castle, head of procurement at Telereal Trillium, said, “We want to make ethical choices in our procurement and this makes it easy.”

She added that she thinks the site will meet its aim: “This makes it easier for the private sector and takes the corporate responsibility and puts it firmly in the hands of the procurement professionals. It means companies are personally able to make a difference on how they source their products.”

The Buy Social campaign was started by Social Enterprise UK in 2012 and aimed first of all to boost trade with social enterprises among themselves, and has now expanded to include private and public sectors, consumers, charities and universities.

Sinéad Butters, chief executive of the Aspire group, said, “Many businesses and public organisations want to buy from social enterprises, but they don’t know where to look to find them. The Buy Social Directory will be the place to find social enterprises. That will help those businesses to win contracts and to grow and it will bring millions of pounds worth of social benefits to the people who those social enterprises support.”

Recent figures showed many social enterprises are doing well, with the RBS SE100 Index showing that such organisations generated £2.7 billion in profits in 2013, to go straight back into society.

Following the launch of the directory, there are also plans to continue developing the tool into an end-to-end procurement portal that can support electronic requests for tenders.

Photo: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills via Flickr

Further reading:

Businesses urged to ‘buy social’

Social enterprises generate £2.7 billion to plough back into society

Social entrepreneurs celebrated with awards at Good Deals conference

Triodos survey says 3m may consider social investment in next year

Positive investment worth £1.6bn in the UK


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