Using procurement to support social enterprise and change lives

Orbit is successfully supporting some of the most vulnerable members of community and protecting the environment through its partnership with social enterprise and community interest co-operative, Ethstat Ethical Stationery.

Ethstat, who use their profits to provide food for rough sleepers, help vulnerable people back into employment and support families affected by dementia, started working with Orbit in 2020. Not only are the products that Ethstat provide to Orbit environmentally friendly and ethically sourced, but they offer employment opportunities to people from diverse backgrounds including those who have experienced long term unemployment, homelessness and addiction.

Last year, Orbit’s partnership with Ethstat meant that over £19,500 was given back to support the purchase of dementia aids as well as meals and training for people who are homeless. 

Furthermore, the partnership has created 2,970 hours of Real Living Wage employment and supported 125 small businesses in the UK.

Deliveries from Ethstat are also completed with reduced transport emissions and packaging waste. Working with Orbit has enabled Ethstat to invest in electric vehicles for their local deliveries and remove 33,750 single-use plastics and 225 tonnes of carbon from the supply chain.

Aman Jhawar, Director of Business Assurance for Orbit, commented: “Orbit is all about building thriving communities and making a positive difference to people, so partnering with Ethstat aligns perfectly with our values. By working with them we’re not only ensuring that the products that we procure are environmentally friendly and ethically sourced, but we’re supporting some of the most vulnerable members of the community too. For me it really is a win-win situation.”

Yasmin Halai-Carter founder of Ethstat added: “Our profit goes into helping our communities, so that everyone can benefit from our success. If it wasn’t for our work with Orbit, we wouldn’t be able to help those we have. Together we’ve helped victims of human trafficking, given work to the homeless, given hope to families caring for relatives with dementia, supported single mums, removed plastic from the environment and supported people with failing mental health. Like Orbit, our goal is to help our communities rise together, to become an ever more cohesive whole.”

Orbit is shifting its procurement process so that more social enterprises like Ethstat have the opportunity to bid for work.  A new, innovative open access procurement platform has been launched by Orbit and Supply Change – a social procurement provider – to connect suppliers and buyers to deliver commercial value and social impact.

The new Social Supplier Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) allows Orbit to source goods and services from suppliers who can deliver a quality service and a positive impact, such as social enterprises, charities and sheltered workshops.

Compliant with UK legislation, the new platform reduces procurement complexity, creating more opportunity for suppliers and buyers to work together to achieve commercial success and deliver social value. It enables buyers to achieve social value through smaller and lower value goods and services; reduces the barriers of entry for suppliers; and is open to both public and private sector buyers, creating further opportunity for growth. For suppliers, it provides access to new commercial partnership that may not otherwise have been possible.