The changing face of social enterprise — creating social value through inter-trading

We wrote recently about Graduate Planet CIC in one of our ‘changing face of social enterprise‘ stories. It’s a new-start social enterprise recruitment consultancy which uses its surpluses to support environmental action. Its founder Kate Evans was one of the speakers at the recent event we held for new-start social enterprises and wrote about here.

It was clear at that event that Kate  had got off to a flying start with Graduate Planet — albeit not without some initial trepidation and uncertainty. Well, we can now update that story a little — and in doing so help illustrate how inter-trading between social enterprises can create social value that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Since mid-2017 Graduate Planet has been providing recruitment services for Belu Water, a social enterprise which sells ethical bottled mineral water and uses 100% of its profits to support WaterAid, the international development charity. WaterAid aims to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere, by 2030. Belu supplies the UK’s restaurant, catering and hotel industries with bottled mineral water and in-house filtration and bottling systems and since its launch in 2011 has donated over £2.2m to WaterAid projects. Belu is currently on course to being able to reinvest £1m a year in WaterAid projects.

Kate Evans, founder, Graduate Planet CIC

The revenue generated by acting for Belu Water has enabled Graduate Planet to reinvest in Heart of England Community Energy’s (HECE) 60,000-panel solar farm just outside Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire. This solar power farm generates power equivalent to supplying 4,500 homes for 25 years. HECE is the UK’s single largest community energy company and plans to donate up to £2.7m to improving the health and quality of life of older people and other vulnerable groups who are experiencing fuel poverty and poor living conditions.

Using Graduate Planet in its supply-chain has helped Belu Water source top candidates to fill its expanding work force; in turn, Graduate Planet has been able to use some of its surpluses to invest in solar energy; and in its turn Heart of England Community Energy will help older people and other vulnerable groups reduce their energy bills and improve the heating, insulation and fuel efficiency of their homes.

If you have ever wondered how inter-trading and collaboration in the social sector creates social value that is greater than the sum of its parts, then here you have a perfect example. 

If you have ever wondered how inter-trading and collaboration in the social sector creates social value that is greater than the sum of its parts, then here you have a perfect example

Read the full story over on the Graduate Planet blog. It makes for a fascinating — and illuminating — story. Congratulations, Kate.

Read our earlier story about Graduate Planet.

Read all our changing face of social enterprise stories.

Birmingham UK. Freelance research, evaluation and policy consultant specialising in social enterprise and the third sector. I maintain the BSSEC blog and website

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