Today is Social Saturday – a day encouraging us to ‘buy social’ from the UK’s growing number of social enterprises. Is this all new to you – or do you already consider social purpose when you make a purchase?
When we spend our money on products and services a lot of things come into consideration – price, quality, brand and packaging to name a few.
But how many of us think about where our money goes or what it’s being used for? And if we did, how much would that affect our purchasing decisions?
Hot competition for businesses
Social enterprises are businesses which trade for a social purpose. This means they operate across all the sectors businesses trade in – from chocolate to gyms and clothing to dentists. The difference is that they exist in order to put their profits back into their social purpose.
As with charities, this can be any social purpose – such as employing marginalised groups, supporting local communities and global development. There are over 70,000 in the UK now, employing around two million people and contributing £24 billion to the UK economy.
The sector is growing fast too – our latest research shows they’re outstripping mainstream businesses for growth. This growth has been fuelled by pioneering entrepreneurs who believe their companies should exist for the good of society, but also because increasingly you, as consumers, see the value in what they’re offering and want to buy from them.
Buy Social for Social Saturday
We believe there’s much more that can be done – which is why we’ve launched our Social Saturday campaign to encourage consumers to ‘Buy Social’. Taking place today, it celebrates the best social enterprises in the country and highlights the fantastic products and services you can buy from them.
Of course, as businesses all social enterprises have to be able to meet those purchasing criteria I mentioned at the start: be competitively priced, great quality and well packaged. Some, like Divine Chocolate, Better Leisure Centres and Belu Water, are already well-known brands that many people will have used, but there are many others that are still to be discovered.
So, would it make a difference to you if you knew the money you were spending on a quality product or service was going to good causes rather than shareholders? Or have you already bought from a social enterprise?
Of course, those of you who are members of Which? already support a social enterprise, as the organisation re-invests its commercial profits into its campaigning work and free advice for all UK consumers.
We’d love to hear about your experiences. If this is all new to you (don’t worry, it was for me a couple of years ago!), we’d love to hear your thoughts on the Social Saturday campaign. Would you choose a social enterprise over another brand in future? We’ve no doubt you’ll be impressed by what’s on offer – so join the revolution, and buy social!
This is a guest contribution by Charlie Wigglesworth, Director of Business & Enterprise at Social Enterprise UK, to mark Social Saturday. All opinions are Charlie’s own, not necessarily those of Which?