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Social Traders conference focuses on job creation via social procurement

August 11, 2018

Last updated on August 13, 2018

More than 250 social enterprises and business and government buyers will gather at the annual Social Enterprise Conference & Awards in Melbourne this week, in an effort to encourage job creation for disadvantaged Australians.

Held on 14 & 15 August, the conference, themed Bridging the Gap Between Social Enterprise and Buyer Demand, will aim to demonstrate how social procurement – the practice of buying goods and services from social enterprise and indigenous business – can drive major social change.

The conference is designed to encourage commitment from business and Government, using  successful case studies and workshop sessions to illustrate what a mere fraction of Australia’s $600 billion annual procurement spend can achieve.

Facilitated by Social Traders, the Australia-first leadership platform will showcase a range of pioneering social procurement deals including:

  • TRY Australia working with John Holland, Boral and Laing O’Rourke
  • Jigsaw working with AMP, Coca-Cola Amatil, and Westpac
  • Outlook Environmental working with Boral and John Holland
  • Bedford Packaging working with Coca-Cola Amatil

Social Traders Managing Director Brookes said that activity to date had delivered some substantial employment outcomes, but there was vast potential for more.

“Social Traders estimates that for every $100,000 dollars spent on social procurement, 1.5 jobs are created for disadvantaged people, including those excluded from the mainstream labour market,” Brookes said.

“The conference is critical in helping buyers understand the huge social impact and significant community benefit they can achieve by including social enterprise in their procurement decisions.

“With an annual procurement spend of $600 billion there is no doubt that social procurement represents the greatest opportunity for social change in Australia.

“It’s encouraging to see our buyers setting a strong example and helping corporate Australia understand what a major impact they could be having, simply by allocating existing purchasing of their goods and services from social enterprise.

“Social procurement isn’t charity, or a goodwill gesture. It’s a legitimate commercial arrangement that can deliver real social impact.”

“There is a groundswell of conscientious consumers out there looking to spend their money with businesses that participate in social procurement, which is where the commercial opportunities and benefits for businesses lie.”

Brookes added that the Victorian Government was leading the way, through the release of a Social Procurement Framework earlier this year.

The Framework is the first whole-of-government commitment to social and sustainable procurement in Australia. It aims to increase job opportunities for disadvantaged people by encouraging Government agencies to dedicate a proportion of their significant spending power to buying from social enterprise.

Supporters of the conference include the Victorian Government, Australia Post, Laing O’Rourke, Coleman Rail, Equity Trustees,  the English Family Foundation and John Holland.


For further information, interviews, case studies or images contact:

Mark Hemetsberger – M: 0438 947 523    E:

James Aanensen – M: 0410 518 590           E:

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