At an event on 4th December, co-hosted by Hazel Blears MP at the House of Commons, British Gas and Johnson and Johnson were introduced as the founding members of the Social Business Partnership (SBP).
SBP, a Shaftesbury Partnership venture, is a membership organisation that works with leading businesses to bring social impact and job creation into their supply chains. SBP is supporting British Gas and Johnson & Johnson to procure products and services from high-quality local social enterprises, and creating opportunities for their staff to mentor and advise these enterprises. We will work together to support social enterprises to scale-up so that they can create more jobs for those furthest from the labour market, measuring and reporting on this social impact.
SBP has already started brokering the first contracts for British Gas on project sites in its ECO (Energy Company Obligation) work, helping them to engage with their communities. Through these contracts they will procure services such as waste management, groundwork, decorating, and catering from local social enterprises that focus on employing and training people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The event on the 4th brought together representatives from across different industries, including BT, Fujitsu, and Lush Cosmetics, to discuss the opportunities for creating social impact by buying products and services from social enterprises. There was broad consensus on the transformational potential of this approach, and valuable thoughts were shared on how to integrate it into businesses.
Hazel Blears, MP for Salford and Eccles and Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Enterprise, emphasised her personal commitment to this agenda, and observed that the current policy and business environment is the most conducive she has known it to be in three decades in politics.