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Buy Social Corporate Challenge spends £99 million in Year Seven

Four individuals gathered around a table holding paper aeroplanes in a workplace setting.

Social Enterprise UK has released its year seven report which shows that Nestlé has contributed to a £99 million spend with 860 social enterprises in year seven. Over the seven years, the Buy Social Corporate Challenge partners have spent a total of £355 million.

Nestlé has been a proud member of the challenge for two years, which signified a pivotal step in its ‘Procurement for Good’ approach, aimed at enhancing community support and increasing the diversity of Nestlé’s supplier base. As one of the largest food and beverages companies in the UK and Ireland, spending money in a more representative way helps create more equitable economic activity for the UK and Ireland. 

Speaking on Nestlé’s partnership with the challenge, Robin Sundaram, Community Regeneration Lead at Nestlé UK and Ireland, said: “One of the benefits to Nestlé of being part of the Buy Social Corporate Challenge is internal employee pride. By working with social enterprises, our colleagues can see that we are helping to make a difference and this work helps in terms of attracting and retaining talent.”

In 2021, Nestlé and Sodexo became signatories of the initiative. Nestlé and Sodexo has partnered with many notable Social Enterprises including Hey Girls, who donate one period product to someone in need for every item bought. This initiative has led to the donation of 30,219,583 period products to people in need, as of January 2023. This year, Nestlé launched a pilot project at the York and Gatwick sites which offer free period products to its employees with Hey Girls products. As of July 2023, Nestlé has directly contributed to 1,152 boxes. 

One of the first social enterprises Nestlé was proud to partner with is From Babies with Love, where Nestlé colleagues can purchase ethically sourced baby gifts for those on parental leave. From Babies with Love uses 100% of the profit from a colleague’s purchase towards helping abandoned children around the world.

Nestlé supports social enterprises in its own offices, in the York office, Nestlé partnered with Fruitful Office, which for every fruit basket sold, one fruit tree is planted. In April and May, Nestlé spend enabled 179 trees to be planted. 

Nestlé has been working together with the WildHearts Foundation since 2019, running its Micro-Tyco programme, an entrepreneurial training programme, for its graduates and apprentices. Nestlé also purchases its office supplies through WildHearts Office, which funds initiatives addressing social mobility, gender equality, education, and health.

Nestlé UK and Ireland has implemented a local supplier’s procurement policy which sources suppliers with external accreditation to validate if a supplier is diverse (51% owned) through three organisations: MSDUK (Ethnic Minority Owned), WEConnect (Women Owned), OutBritain (LGTBQ+), or is a Social Enterprise whose businesses must give at least 50% of its profits to its mission. The Nestlé procurement team helps people across the business to select suppliers from an appropriate list so all employees can make a positive tangible difference to society and the communities in which Nestlé operates. 

The Buy Social Corporate Challenge brings together 30 companies who are leading the way in showing how procurement and purpose can be linked. The challenge is run by Social Enterprise UK with the collective ambition to spend £1 billion on social enterprises by 2026.

The challenge helps social enterprises grow their revenues and impact by tapping into corporate supply chains. Social enterprises reinvest profit or donate them to their local communities to create positive social change. This allows them to tackle social problems, improve people’s life chances and provide training and employment opportunities for marginalised communities.

Read the Buy Social Corporate Challenge: Year 7 Impact Report here.