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Purchasing with a purpose

An update on our ambition to spend £10 million with social enterprises by 2022.

Setting the scene

Social enterprises are helping to tackle social and environmental issues in the UK. Issues like mental health, homelessness and food waste are being addressed by these small and innovative businesses and we’ve been supporting them for over ten years.

How we helped

Our ​PwC Social Entrepreneurs Club​ offers support through networking, coaching, masterclasses and online learning, as well as mentoring and annual awards, benefitting over 300 social enterprises this year.

We’re buying more from social enterprises and have set an ambition to spend £10m with them by 2022. We’re founding members of Social Enterprise UK’s ‘Buy Social’ corporate challenge - because we want our purchasing decisions to have a positive impact on society. This year, we contributed £1.6 million to the social enterprise sector through direct purchases or by providing other valuable financial support, taking us to almost 60% of our 2022 target. We’re also helping them develop their experience of working with large organisations by stocking their products in our offices.

For example, the soap in the staff and client washrooms and the refreshment hubs - wherever we’re responsible for these facilities - are from Soap Co. We sell various social enterprise food and drink items in our restaurants. And we promote social enterprise products as a preferred choice for our corporate events - including the food served, corporate merchandise and video production services - working with major hotels to make this happen.

Our caterer, BaxterStorey, has been instrumental in delivering our commitment, and has even hosted ‘meet the buyer’ events to give new social enterprises the chance to pitch for business. This led to the introduction of teas from Nemi and Tea People into our London-based client lounges and meeting rooms. These organisations secure employment for refugees and provide education for children on tea farms, respectively.

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“Our contract with PwC and BaxterStorey is literally a game changer! We’ve had other corporate clients in the past, but this is by far the biggest order. Crucially, this will help us empower and change the lives of many more refugees living in the UK.”

Pranav Chopra, CEO, Nemi Teas

Making a difference

By pioneering this approach, we’re not only helping to solve important societal problems through each product sold, but are also raising the profile of these purpose-led small businesses amongst our suppliers and clients, giving them valuable exposure to win more business.