Supporting smaller, local businesses

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) currently comprise over 89% of our supplier database and receive over 49% of the £769 million we spend each year. We prioritise working with local SME suppliers in the areas where we operate in order to boost local economies.

We want anyone, anywhere, to be able to do business with us. In 2013, Veolia was one of the first companies to sign Business in the Community’s Access Pledge for a fair and transparent supply chain for smaller businesses.

A special relationship with social enterprises

Social enterprises are businesses that reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community. This sector has a strong presence in the UK’s most deprived communities with half employing people who are disadvantaged in the labour market. We form long-term partnerships with these organisations in order to support them and extend the positive impact they have on local communities.

For example, we provide materials to Elixir Group in Merseyside, which trains vulnerable adults to reprocess plastic materials and electrical equipment. In Birmingham, we supply everything from furniture to bicycles to the Jericho Foundation so they can be remade, restored and resold by people who have experienced homelessness and long-term unemployment. We are currently partnering with social enterprises at 58% of our household waste and recycling centres and we plan to increase this in 2014.

We have shared experiences like these with other large businesses at The Prince’s Seeing is Believing programme, which brought together procurement professionals to look at new ways of making supply chains more open to SMEs and social enterprise. Going forward, we will be calculating the number of social enterprises throughout our supply chain so that we can increase our engagement with them and discover how we can support them further.

“Veolia’s innovative two-way approach has encouraged us to make changes to our practices, helping us become more competitive – last year the business grew by 27%.”
Veolia supplier John Dickson, Managing Director of NBC Environmental Services Ltd