Research conducted by NEF Consulting has suggested investments in social enterprises yield significantly larger returns of social value compared to commercial investments.
Social supply chains yield benefits
In research commissioned by construction and development company Wates Group, NEF Consulting found that social enterprises within the Wates supply chain create £1.77 of social value is for every £1 created by commercial businesses.
NEF Consulting’s report sets out the results of a wider evaluation of Wates’ relationship with social enterprises, aiming to help Wates to understand and articulate the social benefits of increasing trade and engagement with the social engagement sector.
At the root of the benefits delivered by social enterprises is greater diversity in the workforce at the top and bottom of the organisations, and the provision of higher-quality jobs that enhanced employees’ wellbeing.
Ongoing challenges for social enterprises in supply chains
The research shows that Wates’ commitment to buying services from social enterprises supports the creation of greater social value in local communities.
The research also, however, highlights potential challenges for large companies such as Wates in embedding a culture of working with social enterprises within an organisation. Contracting in the construction industry is often based on historic relationships between project teams and individual suppliers, a barrier to entry often exacerbated for social enterprises by a lack of construction industry-level knowledge.