December 1, 2015
Discussing the opportunity for social procurement to deliver social benefits and change in local communities and the expect growth of procurement via Connect over the next five years, Brookes said, “By 2020, Social Traders’ Connect expects to have more than 50 corporate and government members procuring over $100 million in social enterprise contracts.”
Laz Cotsios, Group Executive of Business Services at Australia Post shared the benefits of buying socially for a business, not only in providing benefit to the local community but in staff engagement and to build the trust and equity in their brand.
Cotsios also shared his vision for expanding social enterprise engagement at Australia Post retail outlets into the future saying, “if we can get this right, our reach can help social enterprises to reach every community in Australia.”
Salvos Legal and RichmondPRA shared their experience in operating a social enterprise and the benefits and opportunities they have been able to provide as a result of their corporate clients.
“Corporate and government buyers are in a great place to help generate social change,” said Salvos Legal Managing Partner Luke Geary. “Thanks to our champions, we have been able to provide legal services to 14,500 cases free of charge,”
Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) Head of Operations Chris Nicholls also shared his experience as a social enterprise beneficiary, receiving peer support services to adapt to life and work after a road accident left him with complete T6 paraplegia.
Social Traders’ Head of Market and Sector Development Mark Daniels stressed the importance that a service like Connect provides in terms of facilitating the huge potential for social procurement to deliver positive social benefits into the future.
“Procurement is the greatest untapped tool for social change, both with the money spent with social enterprises and in the organisational value that it creates,“ said Daniels, “500 billion dollars is spent annually on procurement. Just a small percentage of that can generate change.”
Connect was developed in response to growing interest from business buyers in working with social enterprise who were looking for an intermediary to assist in certifying and assessing the capability of social enterprises to fulfil commercial contracts. The Connect database now includes over 90 certified social enterprises and 9 founding buyer members – Australia Post, Westpac, Lendlease, Mirvac GPT, PwC, NAB, Victorian State Government and the Municipal Association of Victoria.
The Connect launch hosted by Social Traders and Australia Post, brought together over 50 potential corporate and government buyers for a discussion on social procurement as well as a marketplace of 20 high calibre certified social enterprises showcasing a range of professional services including artwork and graffiti management, business services and outsourcing opportunities, land and waste management as well as retail, hospitality and catering.
Further information on Social Traders’ Connect for buyers and sellers is available at www.socialtraders.com.au/buy