Buy Social Europe B2B officially launches at SEWF23

Buy Social

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, October 12, 2023 – 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

Buy Social Europe B2B

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:

Buy Social Europe B2B Consortium

SEWF23 Social Procurement Fringe Event

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).

Buy Social Europe B2B Activities

The funding received so far for the initiative and activities by its partners has already delivered valuable results that are important for the development of the social enterprise sector, increasing social procurement spend and presence of strong (inter)national and local Buy Social B2B markets, and there is more to come. Within the next year, Buy Social Europe B2B will aim to:

  • Map with all partners the ecosystem and landscape of social enterprise suppliers and mainstream enterprise buyers across 17 markets, including to aggregate the data across partners into a European level database and produce a market insights report on findings;
  • Generate greater visibility and understanding of social entrepreneurship and social procurement through campaigns, development and sharing of best practices and case studies of successful B2B trade partnerships;
  • Assess the needs and building capacity of social and mainstream enterprises and intermediary organizations to increase trade-readiness across the sector;
  • Enhance cooperation and value chain integration between social and mainstream enterprises through supplier identification, verification of social enterprises, further development and provision of matchmaking services, and organization of match-making events;
  • Build a strong business case to convince more local, national and European policy makers, funders and investors to make long-term strategic investments in the field of social procurement, to increase support to Buy Social Europe B2B partners and key intermediary organizations developing the market, therewith accelerating the transition towards a more socially inclusive and sustainable economy.

Buy Social Europe B2B is co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of  the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them. Buy Social Europe B2B, is further co-funded by SAP, and participating partners in the Buy Social Europe B2B consortium.