No Match Found
We formalised our support for the social enterprise sector as part of our responsible procurement programme in 2016 as a founding member of the Buy Social Corporate Challenge (BSCC), a joint venture with Social Enterprise UK, the Cabinet Office and the business world. Its aim? To harness the spending power of business to realise greater social and environmental benefit. Buying from social enterprises empowers communities, creates opportunities for vulnerable people and supports our commitment to transition to a net zero and circular economy, in line with our Purpose and our values. Since then, we’ve spent over £1 million annually with close to 50 social enterprises.
Buying from social enterprises empowers communities, creates opportunities for vulnerable people and supports our commitment to transition to a low carbon and circular economy. Hear about the impact of our relationship from some of the social enterprises in our supply chain in the four films below:
Our approach to buying from social enterprises involves three complementary steps.
There can be risks associated with buying from social enterprises compared to larger, well established suppliers. Some social enterprises may be less familiar with the standards and controls used by big businesses, so we collaborate to ensure the quality and security we need can be delivered in ways that are not overly burdensome for smaller start-ups. Another risk relates to the delivery capacity of smaller social enterprises, which may not—initially—be able to offer continuity of supply across our whole UK business. So, we adopt a ‘multi-local’ approach, and buy from social enterprises in categories that are not ‘business critical’ and where alternatives exist.
On the whole, however, we feel that the opportunities outweigh the risks. ‘Buying social’ fits with our commitment to diversity and inclusion, encouraging social mobility and supporting disadvantaged groups in society. It also inspires our people, engendering pride in the business. And, it complements our community affairs programmes, creating synergies that increase the impact of our work in both areas.
Social enterprises have formed a key pillar of our community programme for several years, and we’ve established a range of ways to ‘buy social’.
We set up a social enterprise hub eight years ago at The Fire Station in London. It’s home to a number of important social enterprises, including the School for Social Entrepreneurs (an incubator and training ground for social enterprises) and from 2011 to 2021, Social Enterprise UK (SEUK). We spend with both, for training and marketing opportunities associated with social enterprise.
The Fire Station also houses Brigade, our social enterprise bistro and bar, which provides training and employment opportunities in food service for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. It’s delivered through the Beyond Food Community Interest Company (CIC), a unique collaboration between PwC, Beyond Food and WSH Restaurants. PwC is a key customer for Brigade, and regularly hosts corporate and employee events at the venue.
We procure goods and services from a variety of social enterprises to support our office operations, boost employee engagement and enhance our client marketing. Examples include:
As we emerge from the pandemic and our people return to our offices, this presents new opportunities to engage with social enterprises in our supply chain. Our ‘Moments of Joy’ initiative has been rolled out across all offices, surprising our people with a treat; a moment of joy to celebrate being back collaborating together in our buildings.
Social enterprises are playing a key part in this project, with delicious brownies from Luminary Bakery who support women who have had a social and economic disadvantage and refreshing drinks from Flawsome and Dash Water who reduce food waste by using ‘wonky’ fruit in their products. Other moments consisted of fruit from Fruitful Office who plant fruit trees in Malawi and desktop gardens that were supplied by Social Supermarket.
Using the fantastic products that social enterprises offer as part of this initiative is just one way that we have been incorporating social enterprises into our supply chain.
The festive period looked different in 2020. A different approach was required to bring teams together for their holiday events as in-person events were no longer an option. Customisable hampers containing selection of edible social enterprise treats and a personalised message were mailed directly to our people from Social Stories Club.
Social Stories Club finds products for their hampers bursting with positive stories of social impact, typically you might find speciality loose-leaf tea from Tea People, Fairtrade Divine Chocolate bars, Dash Water, chutney from Rubies in the Rubble, handmade soap from Arthouse Unlimited, hot chocolate from Cafe Direct and more in their hampers. All of these social enterprises put their social and/or environmental mission at the core of their business.
“PwC has been an incredible support from the start. They have provided excellent advice and expertise, met with us personally to find out more about what we do, and have made game changing orders that have helped us grow to where we are now. This support has allowed us to make our first hires providing jobs for those furthest from the labour market.”