Last Thursday, Social Business Partnership (SBP) and British Gas co-hosted a special roundtable dinner in Manchester on how responsible businesses and their people can deliver a wider value to the society.
The event brought together senior business leaders from a wide range of organisations, including Jaguar Land Rover, Sodexo and Yorkshire Water, to discuss the ways in which large companies can positively use their scale to retain talent, stimulate innovation, and maximise benefits for the communities they operate in.
A wide range of issues were discussed, and take-home points included the following:
- There was a recognition that in the age of the Millennial, large businesses often struggle with the trust and reputation needed for employees, consumers and investors to engage meaningfully
- It is important to think of companies as groups of individuals, and then work to connect the right individuals to each other
- Partnerships between private sector and third sector organisations only succeed where value is explicitly added on both sides
As one of the Founding Members of SBP, British Gas is committed to achieving social impact through procurement. Christine Tate, Head of Corporate Responsibility at British Gas, commented that “It’s really important to us that we maximise benefits to society as we deliver our core business and one way we do that is through working with social enterprise suppliers. We feel that procurement isn’t about cutting costs, it’s about adding value.”
SBP connects its members with employment-focused social enterprises to help them to scale up their impact, and all of these suppliers support people who face disadvantages in the job market. Thursday’s event was actually held at a venue which does exactly that. The Message Enterprise Centre runs a range of businesses which create jobs for young people who need a second chance in life. As well as a café and catering service for private functions, the centre hosts a printing business, a hair and beauty salon and a bicycle repair service.
Our intention is to follow on the success of this roundtable by running other similar events. Contact us to find out more.