Social procurement. Good for governments, good for businesses, good for social enterprises and good for society.

Social procurement. Good for governments, good for businesses, good for social enterprises and good for society.

Social procurement refers to the purchase of goods and services, by businesses and governments, from social enterprises and other organisations that have a strong ethical mission. It considers not just the economic impact of a purchase but also the positive social and/or environmental impact that that purchase entails.

This multi-outcome, value-added approach is growing, as businesses and governments worldwide seek ways to trade and operate more sustainably. This growth is also due in no small measure to lobbying by the social enterprise sector, which has strengthened and proven its worth over the past three decades.

Positive support for social procurement by governments worldwide

Social procurement is increasingly featured in government policy, as the benefits to society of buying from local, ethical suppliers are being recognised. The Irish Government has vowed in its National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2019-2022 to “support capacity-building for social enterprises in relation to procurement processes through workshops and training” and to “work with stakeholders to identify how to improve opportunities for social enterprises in the business-to-business supply-chain and in public procurement.” Through the Social Considerations Advisory Group it will “help policy makers to better understand how procurement can be used to facilitate the advancement of social policy objectives within appropriate and structured public procurement guidelines”.

This commitment suggests an appetite to rework traditional procurement policies, in order to accommodate social enterprises. Going further, a new legal structure for social enterprises – none currently exists under Irish law – could support a better understanding of what social enterprises are and where they ‘fit’ with procurement managers and their processes.

A key finding of the 2020 Buying for Social Impact (BSI) project (commissioned by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and the European Commission Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs) was that “…socially responsible public procurement [SRPP] is easier in countries where legal frameworks or legal forms for social economy enterprises exist”. It continues: “it is also easier for social economy enterprises to access public procurement procedures in countries where those legal frameworks or legal forms exist”.

Businesses are using social procurement to achieve their sustainability goals

Businesses are also buying from social enterprises. Though less active than governments, according to The State of Social Procurement in Australia & New Zealand 2021 report, they are nonetheless under pressure to become more sustainable, enhance their reputations and cultivate positive relationships with the communities in which they are based. Tammy Darcy, CEO of SERI has highlighted “the need for social impact to be included as a consideration in the wider economy by all enterprises, not just social enterprises”. 

Social procurement in the UK has been propelled by Social Enterprise UK’s successful Buy Social Corporate Challenge. The campaign’s corporate focus has resulted in a £165m spend, by 27 participating businesses since 2018, on goods and services supplied by social enterprises.

Social procurement – a strategic choice

Social enterprises offer corporations the opportunity to merge sustainable initiatives with corporate and commercial strategy. This allows corporations to ‘hit the ground running’ with projects that provide social as well as commercial value, while not having to deviate significantly from strategy. To governments, they offer flexibility and the opportunity to collaborate on projects where local interest, knowledge and expertise are key to undertaking a project efficiently.

Social procurement offers a lifeline to social enterprises that helps them to grow, to develop a stronger voice and, through collaboration, to expand their influence. It provides them with the means to gain greater recognition as real, innovative businesses operating in competitive marketplaces. It enables them to forge a greater standing in their communities and to become a stronger force for creating positive social change.


Social Procurement Resources

Buying social: A guide to taking account of social considerations in public procurement

Publications Office of the European Union

A Guide to Social Procurement

Buy Social Canada

Green Public Procurement: Guidance for the Public Sector

Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], Ireland

Guide to Social Value in Procurement

Evolve UK and Enterprise Ireland 

The State of Procurement in Australia and New Zealand

Centre for Social Impact, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia

Enhanced Skills Programme 2 [ESP2]

Enhanced Skills Programme 2 [ESP2]

An award-winning, industry-led programme tailored to meet the needs of jobseekers with a criminal conviction.


Do you need recent work experience to build up your CV?

Are you interested in a career in manufacturing, warehousing or e-commerce fulfilment?

Do you want a job so you can start living life on your terms?

If so, this opportunity could be for you!

A New Beginning

Start—or restart—your career in our 52-week, free-of-charge-to-you Enhanced Skills Programme 2.

This award-winning, industry-led programme has been adapted to meet the needs of jobseekers who have a criminal conviction.

Happy worker with thumb up

Jobs Market Advantage

Job-seekers are given the opportunity to get real commercial work experience, to upskill with industry-led training and to work in a team-based environment in Speedpak.

We also facilitate external work placements with our industry partners, all of whom are well-know companies. We use our strong relationships with these partners to promote diversity and equality in their workplaces.

This is an exciting and valuable opportunity to learn, to put your training into practice and to impress local employers.

Opportunity on Dublin’s Northside

The ESP2 Programme is run by Speedpak Group with the support of business, state and community partners.

Trainees will work and train on-site at our premises in Clonshaugh Business and Technology Park in Dublin 17.

Your work experience and training on the programme will provide you with:

  • an up-to-date Reference and CV
  • greater Confidence, Self-esteem and Job-Seeking Skills
  • qualifications in Health & Safety, Manual Handling and Occupational First Aid
  • a SafePass and Forklift Licence
  • skills in Information Technology, Stock Control, Warehousing and Manufacturing Processes.

You will be supported throughout the programme by a Job Coach, On-the-job Mentors and our Human Resources team.

We will use our Employability & Distance Travelled System [EDTS] to track your progress and to support you as you kickstart your career!

Enhanced Skills Programme Consumer Journey

Find Out More

For information on how to apply for the ESP2 Programme, please call us on 01 867 1707 [Option #3] and ask for Angela.

Click on the links below to download the above information in a printable format:

ESP2 Programme Information Sheet [PDF 457K]

Consumer Journey Detail [PDF 50K]

Take this opportunity to make a fresh start, to find a new career and to begin living life on your terms!

Speedpak fulfilment for GIY’s “Grow It Forward” campaign Spring 2021

Speedpak fulfilment for GIY’s “Grow It Forward” campaign Spring 2021

GIY’s “Grow It Forward” campaign featured the fulfilment by Speedpak Contract Services of 50,000 seed packs.

GIY, like Speedpak Group, is a social enterprise. Its mission is to support people around the world to live happier, healthier and more sustainable lives by growing some of their own food.

The campaign was aimed at encouraging people to enjoy the benefits of growing vegetables at home and to then share their experience with ten other people.

Each growing pack included 5 different packets of seed, 10 tags and one brochure. Fulfilment of the Grow It Forward packs involved breaking bulk quantities of seed packs, tags, envelopes and brochures into smaller batches. Components were manually sorted, collated, bundled and banded.

Envelopes were addressed, packed by hand, sealed and dispatched to An Post for delivery to libraries, businesses and individual subscribers all over Ireland.

Speedpak Group was very happy to have this opportunity to work with another social enterprise.

Increasing Employment through Work Integration Social Enterprise – DCU ‘Passion to Action’ podcast

Podcasted interview with Speedpak Chief Executive John P. Murphy as part of DCU’s ‘Passion to Action’ podcast series.

Part of DCU’s resource hub for social innovation and social entrepreneurship education, this project aims to “support educators in embedding social impact in their teaching, irrespective of discipline. In doing so, they can foster in their students the behaviour, skills, thinking and attitude in devising, testing and launching sustainable innovative solutions to social and environmental challenges.”

First Aid Responder Training

First Aid Responder Training

Some of our training staff attending their certified PHECC First Aid Responder course with Avalon Training recently.  

This is one of the many industry-led training courses provided by Speedpak Group to participants on CE and TÚS labour market programmes. 

As newly-certified First-aid Responders, trainees gain valuable and confidence-boosting skills that can build and add value to their CVs.  

These skills are very useful in the workplace and in increasing participants’ attractiveness to future employers.  

Training staff being instructed in how to use a defibrillator as part of a PHECC First Aid Responder course in June 2021.