A new transnational initiative – Buy Social Europe B2B – is bringing the social procurement movement in Europe to a next level, further unlocking the $500 billion market opportunity for social enterprises. It gathers a consortium of 23 partners, who will cooperate to accelerate trade partnerships between mainstream and social enterprises in 17 countries in Europe.
In our rapidly changing world, we are increasingly aware of pressing global social and climate challenges, and the need for a more inclusive and sustainable economy. Growing social and legislative pressures are urging companies to firmly integrate sustainability into their business strategies and operations. The concept of social procurement – buying from social enterprises that put people and the planet first – has emerged as a powerful strategy for sustainability. It unites purpose and profit for a better tomorrow, allowing mainstream enterprises to source the goods and services they need, while adding impact, innovation and diversity into their supply chains.
A new transnational initiative – Buy Social Europe B2B – has now been officially launched, during the 2023 Social Enterprise World Forum week in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. It will take the social procurement movement in Europe and globally to the next level in the years to come. With 23 partners from 17 countries so far, social procurement pioneers from across Europe and the world join forces. The initiative unites the longest-standing and most experienced experts in the field of social procurement globally together in one movement. The movement this way can build on decades of experience by its key partners, well-recognised and respected social enterprise international and national Buy Social networks and ecosystem actors. The set-up of the consortium and partners aim to offer a one stop shop for social procurement through a network of mainstream and social enterprise partners with an international, as well as local reach.
The momentous unification of partners and radical collaboration will help to substantially increase awareness, capacity building and match making opportunities for both sides of the supply and demand spectrum of social and mainstream enterprises. The impact: more successful trade partnerships between mainstream and social enterprises, more long-term opportunities to increase innovation through partnerships, and positive progress in the transition towards a new economy in the next few years.
Buy Social Europe B2B has so far received €0.5m funding from the European Union and the multinational software company SAP, long-time expert and business leader in the social procurement space. In addition, consortium partners each co-fund at least 10% of activities taking place. New co-funding partners are welcome and can contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about the initiative and join the Buy Social European and global movement today as social enterprise, mainstream enterprise, funder, or (inter)national social enterprise network here
Buy Social Europe B2B Consortium
The Buy Social Europe B2B consortium is led by Euclid Network – the European Social Enterprise Network, who has been convening the European Community of Practice on Social Procurement the past years, together with the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) at the global level. Both organizations, as networks of networks, convene a community and network of over 100 organizations in over 60 countries at the local, national, European and global stage, advocating for change. SEWF is the longest-running convener on the topic of social procurement in the world. In addition, it is the patron of the People and Planet First verification. The new verification brand logo was unveiled on October 12th. This verification supports the identification of social enterprises for social and sustainable procurement.
Among the key partners are also Social Enterprise UK – the inventor of the Buy Social brand and owner of the Buy Social trademark since 2012. The Buy Social Europe B2B initiative works complementary to the Buy Social Europe Corporate Challenge initiative, led by Social Enterprise UK, in partnership with SEWF and Euclid Network. The latter initiative has, since its launch seven years ago, successfully redirected over €400 million in procurement spend to social enterprises. The initiative was recently transferred to a newly set-up social enterprise entity, Telos.
Other key international partners include: Yunus Social Business, Social Entrepreneurship Netzwerk Deutschland (SEND), Social Enterprise NL, Reach for Change, the Sustainable Procurement Pledge, SAP, and Zurich Insurance, along with 13 more partners acting on the national-country level: Belgium (Sociale InnovatieFabriek), Bulgaria (BCause Foundation), Croatia (Act Grupa), France (Mouvement Impact France), Greece (Academy of Entrepreneurship (AKEP), Hungary (Coalition of Hungarian Social Enterprises), Ireland (Social Enterprise Republic of Ireland, SERI) Latvia (Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia, SEAL), Lithuania (Lithuanian Social Business Association, LISVA), Portugal (Associação Portuguesa para a Inovação Social – Eslider), Serbia (Smart Kolektiv), Slovenia (Fund2740), Switzerland (Social Enterprise Network Switzerland, SENS).
Learn more about the partners here
Wieteke Dupain, CEO of Euclid Network – the European Social Enterprise Network: “The Buy Social Europe B2B initiative, co-funded by the European Commission and SAP, is a key opportunity to consolidate the Buy Social and People and Planet First social and sustainable procurement movements across Europe and globally. It enables taking into account networks and learnings from national and local intermediary organizations that have been developed bottom-up for the past 15+ years. It enables further sharing of key learnings, expertise and knowledge. It supports faster identification and more effective development of best practices, case studies, capacity building and matchmaking programs and services. It decreases duplication and “not invented here syndrome”. It increases quality and access to an unprecedented extensive base of social (and sustainable) procurement mainstream and social enterprise actors. Hopefully, it will provide inspiration for other actors and stakeholders to join the Buy Social and People and Planet First social enterprise movements, and unite with us in action going forward”.