Businesses With Social and Environmental Goals Get Recognition
Social enterprises – businesses which trade primarily for social and environmental purposes – now have their own distinctive Mark. The Social Enterprise Mark was launched yesterday in Cardiff at Voice10, the Social Enterprise Coalition’s national conference. The Social Enterprise Mark will identify businesses which meet key criteria for social enterprise, and consumers will recognise that businesses displaying the Mark are trading to benefit people and the planet.
The Mark was developed by a group of social enterprise leaders working with the COI and the Office of the Third Sector, and aims to raise awareness of social enterprise to as wide an audience as possible. The design and implementation was informed by a social enterprise Mark developed and delivered by RISE, the voice of social enterprise in South West England with funding from the Big Lottery Fund.
Speaking at the launch Angela Smith, Minister for the Third Sector, Cabinet Office says; “The Mark has the potential to be a real catalyst to put social enterprises where they belong – clearly defined and at the heart of the UK economy and society. I have seen some amazing and innovative examples of social enterprises, and the more people that know about them and the more people that get involved in the sector, the better!”
Peter Holbrook, chief executive of the Social Enterprise Coalition, the national body for social enterprise, confirms the importance of the Mark for the growth of the movement in the UK. He says; “Social enterprises are businesses doing really extraordinary things in new and innovative ways but they have until now been hard to recognise, partly because they work in practically every industry imaginable and range from community enterprises to international companies. The time is right for the introduction of a visually powerful Mark which indicates, at a glance, the integrity of an organisation and around which we can drive awareness and understanding.”
The Mark will be administered by a joint venture set up by the Social Enterprise Coalition and RISE. Lucy Findlay, CEO of RISE, says; “The Mark represents a set of clear criteria which a business must meet to prove that it is a genuine social enterprise. Its achievement and use by businesses up and down the country will be crucial in spreading the message about a different way of doing business that has the potential to revolutionise attitudes to consumerism.”
Albert Tucker, on the board of the Big Lottery Fund’s England Committee, says; “As the funder of the original RISE project which pioneered the use of a Social Enterprise Mark in the South West region, the Big Lottery Fund is extremely proud that this scheme has been so important in moving Social Enterprise Marks onto the national stage. We look forward to seeing the widespread take up of the Mark and the benefits it will bring to the social enterprise movement.”
This emerging sector already contributes £24bn to the UK economy and employs 800,000 people in the UK in a wide range of businesses from health and education to IT and retail. The ‘Trading for People and Planet’ Mark will play a key role in growing the sector as more consumers turn to businesses which use their profits for social and environmental benefit.