In April this year, SAP revealed its plans to do more to support the UK government’s Buy Social Initiative and promote ethical firms (by making it easier for organisations to both find them and do business with them) on its world-leading trading platform, Ariba® Network, where 4.1 million suppliers in 190 countries buy and sell services and $2.8 trillion in commerce is transacted annually. At about the same time the software giant announced its partnership with Social Enterprise UK. We wrote about that here.
Social Enterprise UK is the leading global authority on social enterprise and the biggest network of social enterprises in the UK. It defines social enterprises as businesses that:
- Have a clear social and/or environmental mission set out in their governing documents
- Generate the majority of their income through trade
- Reinvest the majority of their profits
- Are autonomous of the state
- Are majority controlled in the interests of the social mission
- Are accountable and transparent
So SAP Ariba is in good company, it is among some of the biggest firms in the UK to work with the organisation to support ethical firms through their supply chains, people and networks – others include Johnson & Johnson, NHS England, the World Bank and PwC.
The SAP and SAP Ariba teams have been working hard to back “Social Enterprise” and “Buying Social” and have created a roadmap for increasing spend with social enterprises and a tracking mechanism for reporting progress. We said then that this was just the beginning for SAP Ariba, and that we would follow the project to see how this worthy initiative takes off.
Earlier this year SAP Executive Board Member, Adaire Fox-Martin, met with some of the UK’s leading social-enterprise CEOs and corporate executives, alongside Social Enterprise UK Chair and CEO, at the Houses of Parliament to talk about how they can further scale the growing social enterprise sector.
Using the power of the Ariba Network, SAP will be able to support social enterprises by providing them with greater access to markets, talent and technology. “By connecting more corporate buyers with social-enterprise suppliers, the platform can facilitate procurement spend toward goods and services from organizations dedicated to delivering a positive social impact,” reported Forbes last week. By way of example the article cited the works of other firms involved in the initiative including craft beer company, Toast Ale, which dedicates its profits to a charity that helps to reduce food waste.
Andy Daly, head of corporate partnerships at Social Enterprise UK, works with multinationals to help open up their supply chain systems to social enterprise suppliers. He mentions Johnson & Johnson as “one of the best examples of a procurement for purpose company.” Regular readers will know that SAP Ariba has long been promoting a ‘Procurement with Purpose’ initiative, using channels such as its excellent Pub Debate, white papers, and its recent summit where Martine Booth, Head of Market Development Center of Excellence EMEA & MEE, SAP Ariba, led a discussion on procurement with purpose with Timo Worrall, Supplier Social Responsibility at Johnson & Johnson and Colin Downie, from WildHearts. J&J UK buys office supplies from WildHearts Office, one of the UK’s leading B2B social enterprises, which then uses its profits to support micro-finance programmes in developing countries and enterprise programmes in the UK, encouraging entrepreneurship among disadvantaged youngsters, through its WildHeart Foundation.
So Andy Daly was delighted when SAP Ariba became Social Enterprise UK official technology partner, saying: “SAP Ariba is the jewel in our crown. It’s helping us solve the challenge of making social enterprises visible in the supply-chain network.”
Tifenn Dano Kwan, Chief Marketing Officer at SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass, said in response: “It’s always so humbling to hear these powerful testimonials. Doing good is good business. And as Amal Clooney stated at SAP Ariba Live in Barcelona, ‘doing good is sustainable.’ By adding social enterprise suppliers into Ariba network, they help us engage with small, diverse businesses who in turn create a positive impact, battle poverty, empower indigenous people and fight child labour.”
Read more from Forbes on How Buying Social Is Changing The World. And read more from SAP Ariba on Procurement with Purpose, how it can provide a level of clarity into suppliers’ suppliers and their customers, how far they protect the environment and its people, how far that influence extends, and how that helps firms improve their social impact.