Black Lives Matter
What happened to George Floyd in America has shocked and appalled us. And this keeps happening. We stand beside the Black Lives Matter movement and for racial equality. However, we know that words are not enough.
Racism, persecution and prejudice is a systemic issue across the world, including here in Plymouth. The way we do business in our city and in the country is deeply tied to racism and inequality. Modern capitalism and much of our wealth as a nation was built on colonial exploitation and slavery. Plymouth has its own profoundly disturbing relationship with the slave trade.
If we are to tackle racism we need to change how we do business. We need to tackle the inequities and racist underpinnings of mainstream economy. We need to embrace new practices and business models that offer solutions to the injustice of racism. Social enterprises are businesses set up to reduce inequalities, this must include racial inequalities.
If we want to achieve this, we must challenge the prejudices and inequalities within the social enterprise world. We need more diversity in the social enterprise movement in Plymouth. Our work is dominated by white culture and white privilege.PSEN is proud to support the social enterprise community in our city. We need to learn and understand. We believe that socially responsible businesses, including social enterprises, co-operatives and community businesses have a responsibility to act and significantly step up our commitment to addressing racism. We will encourage and support PSEN member organisations to reflect and act and we will engage with local government, businesses and the voluntary and community sector and to help to create a more equal society.
Social Value Summit
On Monday we went to the Social Value Leaders’ Summit. Thanks to Livewell SW for supporting us to attend on your behalf.
This event saw the launch of a government consultation on Social Value in procurement. Oliver Dowden, Minister for Implementation, described how government spending could create diverse and safer supply chains, improve inclusion and wellbeing, reduce environmental impact and encourage development of employees. There was a timely BBC news story about it too.
These are warm words but the devil is in the detail and this is just a consultation. We urge you to put in your own response and PSEN will lead a collective reply to this as it seems crucially important and, potentially, a great opportunity for members that have business with government. It also sets the tone for a wider range of public sector organizations to follow. Here in Plymouth our local council has done some ground-breaking work on social value and we hope this can be extended across the public sector in the city. Other themes from the event were:
- Universities increasingly seeing themselves as ‘in service of society’ and well-placed as large anchor organizations to champion social value and procure with purpose
- How the local industrial strategies need to support re-structuring the economy to make it fairer. This is another consultation we urge you to get behind. There is an event on the local industrial strategy on 25th March you should attend if you can. Book here.
There is a report on the event from Pioneers Post here
Social Enterprise Places
On Friday we represented Plymouth – as the UK’s first Social Enterprise City – at the national Social Enterprise Places conference. This brought together some of the 30 counties, cities, villages, towns and zones that are demonstrating social enterprise at its best. The event was sponsored by NatWest and facilitated by SEUK. Key learning from the event:
- Need for the places to come together more strategically with SEUK in response to local economic policy making and sharing intelligence
- Need to raise public awareness of the social enterprise places movement
- Increasing market opportunities for social enterprise in the places through Corporate Buy Social and other campaigns
- Opportunities through NatWest on investment and local business support which we will share separately
- SEUK are launching some new videos with celebrity patrons in partnership with the Co-op. Watch out for these soon.
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