The Buy Social Directory grew out of a need to connect organisations that want to use their purchasing power to make a difference with the huge range of social enterprises ready to do business with them.

Social enterprises are businesses that trade for social and environmental purposes, reinvesting their profits into their social mission. If you read the Big Issue, eat Divine Chocolate, drink Belu water or work out at a Better leisure centre, then you’re already buying social.

Bringing social enterprises into your supply chain can deliver a range of benefits for your business. It can help you meet your corporate social responsibility objectives, such as reducing your carbon footprint, tackling unemployment or supporting people with mental health issues. It can help you ensure the money you already spend on goods and services stays in your local community, or that it goes to a cause your staff are passionate about.

For more information on trading with social enterprises, download our Buy Social Supply Chain Guide.

The Buy Social campaign

This directory forms part of Social Enterprise UK's Buy Social campaign, which aims to boost trade with social enterprises. Launched in November 2012, the campaign began with the goal of increasing the number of social enterprises trading with each other. Now it has expanded to help the private and public sectors, consumers, charities and universities to buy social. Find out more on SEUK's website.

Who's behind it?

The Buy Social Directory is the culmination of discussions between Social Enterprise UK, Social Enterprise West Midlands and City of London Corporation about how best to develop the marketplace for social procurement. A partnership was created between City of London Corporation, Aspire Group, Cabinet Office and Social Enterprise UK to lead, fund and deliver this directory.

It was developed with the hard work and expertise of a steering group and a number of pro bono supporters including buyers, suppliers and intermediaries. They identified the challenges of buying social, recognised the need for a directory, contributed to user research and testing and have become ambassadors for the site. They include: Accenture, Business in the Community, Café Sunlight, Erly Stage StudiosEY, Guild of Public Relations PractitionersKPMG, Mitie, RBS, Social Enterprise Mark, Telereal Trillium and WildHearts.