Helping you understand, measure
and communicate your Social Impact
You only get one chance to tell your story so make the most of it.

Create impact, buy social

Social enterprise, Social Saturday, Northern Ireland
For many leading corporate organisations there is a growing emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility, but there is also a simple way to create impact - by adding social enterprises to your supply chain.
 
Across the UK Wates, the construction group, have set themselves a target of having a social enterprise supplier on each of their new construction sites with a total spend of £5 million by 2015. A number of other large organisations are hot on their heels with companies like O2, PwC, RBS, Deloitte and Telereal Trillium, all making commitments to increasing their social enterprise engagement. 
 
Our good friends at Loaf Catering (also part of the NOW Group) are utilised by many private sector businesses who see the value in using a social enterprise, not just for the quality of food but for the social impact that is created.
 
The rationale for engaging social enterprises in the supply chain is simple. By procuring goods and services from social enterprises you can help build strong communities. A business is only as strong as the communities and society they represent. This is supported by business leaders such as Paul Polman, Chief Executive of consumer goods giant Unilever (speaking in the Guardian); “Why would you invest in a company which is out of synch with the needs of society, that does not take its social compliance in its supply chain seriously, that does not think about the costs of externalities, or of its negative impacts on society?" 
 
Moreover, the drivers for demonstrating social value are increasingly more influential. Be that consumer led demand (The UK ethical consumer market is worth over £47bn with households spending on average £989 annually on ethical goods and services) or public sector facing businesses seeking contracts with social clauses or requiring some form of social value (as advocated by the Social Value Act in England). 
 
I recall a conversation many years ago with Mark Powell, the brilliant Director at Yes2Ventures in Sheffield where we espoused the idea that we could have a full night out buying from social enterprises. From a lovely meal (180 Degrees in Portadown or Loaf Cafe Bakery in Belfast), using a babysitting service (numerous nursery services and Bespoke Childcare Services), grabbing a cab (Union Taxis) and a pint (Belfast’s John Hewitt or The Highway Inn in Lisburn) we now can! 
 
So what exactly can we as businesses do? Add just one (or one more) social enterprise to your list of suppliers. A full range of social enterprises, including Gauge (evaluation and research) and Loaf (catering and hospitality) can be found at www.tradesocial.net and www.buysocialdirectory.org.uk whilst a broad spectrum of consumer goods can be purchased from www.runnative.co.uk. Look out for Social Saturday this October to see exactly how easy it is to #buysocial.
 
Gauge NI is a social enterprise that helps organisations understand, measure and communicate social impact. We can work with your business to identify and measure the social impact of your CSR activities and supply chain. 
 
Call us: 028 9043 6400
Gauge NI: 15-17 Grosvenor Road, Belfast, BT12 4GN