Following the successful launch of our Responsible Futures Investment Portfolio, this Christmas at Cornerstone we are thinking about how our seasonal spending can also make a difference alongside our long term investments and savings.

We are very grateful to Lindsay Wake, Head of Impact at Social Investment Scotland for guest writing this blog post.


With Christmas being a time of giving, imagine if you could give while doing good and making the world a better place. It’d be a no brainer, right?

This year, we, at Social Investment Scotland (SIS), have been encouraging Scotland to shop social this Christmas. We launched a website, Shop Social Scotland, to offer inspiration on social enterprise products and experiences. Our efforts also tie in nicely with Social Enterprise UK’s #PresentsWithPurpose campaign, an extension of the #BuySocial campaign, which looks to encourage the general public to buy from social enterprises, and ultimately, contribute to a more inclusive economy.

A typical household in the UK spends around £2,500 every month. Yet, in December, a typical UK household spends over £800 more. Wouldn’t it be nice if a proportion of that spend went to not only buying lovely gifts, but also towards improving social issues across Scotland and further afield?

All too many people aren’t yet aware that social enterprises – businesses that work to a social or environmental purpose – offer ethical yet quality alternatives to every-day products and services, including gifts.

Shopping social doesn’t mean that you need to compromise on quality or style, and if you already have a gift in mind, you’ll likely be able to find a social enterprise alternative. You’ll be giving the gifts you wanted, but they’ll be making a meaningful difference to communities across the world. Social enterprise products, services and experiences are also a great way to give something memorable at Christmas time.

With over 6,025 social enterprises in Scotland alone, Christmas is a great time to make a difference. Whether that means buying your Mum beautiful soap from a social enterprise that provides work placements for adults with disabilities, or your brother a cosy pair of socks that mean another pair will be donated to a person experiencing homelessness, or even stocking up for festive celebrations with beer that supports in bringing clean water to communities in Malawi.

One of the main challenges in creating a more inclusive society and economy through social enterprise is the general public’s awareness and understanding of what a social enterprise is. While those of us who work in the sector are regularly presented with new, ethical products and services, the general public don’t yet have many opportunities to learn of these options.

With funding coming from the Scottish Government, corporates and more, to support programmes such as our Social Enterprise Retail Academy, it is hoped that socially-conscious products and services will become more accessible to all.

We hope that the Shop Social Scotland website, the #PresentsWithPurpose campaign and your support in spreading the word will increase the number of people supporting social enterprises to create greater impact during the festive season and beyond.

For inspiration, please check out our Shop Social Scotland website.

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