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What if your business spending could drive social and environmental change?

Welcome to the Buy Social Scotland Corporate Challenge, a new initiative supported by the Scottish Government, that aims to encourage positive impact through values-led procurement. The approach builds on the needs of businesses considering their wider impact and support of sustainable development goals as well as initiatives looking at Community Wealth Building and community benefit led by the public sector.

Supply chains play a huge role in the impact that businesses have on society and this new campaign is built around a simple and bold question – if businesses need to spend money on goods and services, why not spend it with social enterprises that deliver impact in local communities in Scotland and beyond?

With over 6,000 social enterprises in Scotland, many already offering goods and services to businesses, there is ample opportunity for businesses to support social, environmental and community impact simply by buying what they already need.

What is Buy Social Scotland and the Corporate Challenge?

'Buy Social' is a global movement existing in over 10 countries to promote social enterprises and the great work they do, to the general public, consumers and businesses.

Last year we launched a pilot Buy Social Scotland initiative with a website and campaign that showcased products, experiences and vouchers from social enterprises as "gifts that give back" in the lead-up to Christmas. The online gift directory saw over 24,000 visitors flock to the website through December alone.

We will be running this campaign again this year, and to build on the success of the initial pilot, we are scaling the initiative this September by launching the Buy Social Scotland Corporate Challenge.

The new campaign introduces a new services directory to make it easier for businesses and organisations to find B2B goods and services from Scottish social enterprises and encourages companies to sign up and pledge to consider them in their supply chain.

Businesses across Scotland that want to reach their CSR and ESG goals and help deliver social and environmental impact are joining the initiative with six companies having already pledged towards a spend of £1 million with social enterprise organisations over 2021/2022.

Working with Social Enterprise Scotland they are aided by the directory and one-on-one support, to access a wide range of products and services, from catering and event gifting to employee engagement, manufacturing goods, printing, and signage. Listings can be searched by service category, region, and type of social impact delivered.

Why introduce more social enterprises to your supply chain?

There are many reasons to introduce social enterprises to your supply chain including to make it more ethical, diverse and sustainable and to use your business spending for purpose as social enterprises reinvest their profits into a wide range of causes and initiatives that benefit local communities.

Research shows that companies who seek to address social and environmental concerns are more likely to attract consumers, investors and employees, build brand equity and strengthen their competitive advantage.

There is a growing trend to bring profit and purpose closer together, with more pressure on businesses to leverage their resources for good. More organisations than ever are reporting on their impact as they look to satisfy customer and investor demands.

A study from Longitude found that 77% of companies believe their sustainability strategy is having a positive impact on employee engagement and retention and an article published in the Harvard Business Review last year found that investors are increasingly using ESG data with high ESG performers more likely to attract investment.

While this initiative set out to focus on corporate partnerships, the link with Public Sector policy and the opportunity to support companies bidding for these contracts cannot be understated. As public contracts look to encompass Net Zero targets and seek to follow Community Wealth Building objectives, companies that bid for these tenders are increasingly looking for ways to add community benefit as part of their competitive offer.

Get involved with the #BuySocialScotland Corporate Challenge campaign

There are many ways to help us share the word about the campaign and to support social enterprises across Scotland.

You can browse the new directory to find services and products that your organisation needs and send this post to colleagues and peers across the private and public sectors who might be interested in partnering with social enterprises.

We'd love for you to share the word about the campaign on social media, we have social copy drafts, images and videos that you can use in our campaign toolkit.

Perhaps you know a great social enterprise offering business services that we should feature in the directory? We’d love to promote them in the campaign, it's absolutely free, all they need to do is submit their information by filling in this Google form or emailing Jesse Audubey at

Finally, if you're a company interested in joining the Corporate Challenge as a partner, we'd be happy to give you more information. Please get in touch with Naomi Johnson at to express your interest.