That (CIPS) winning feeling with Karl Atkins

In September, we scooped the coveted title of 'Best Initiative to Deliver Social Value through Procurement' at the CIPS Excellence in Procurement Awards 2020.

A couple of months on, we sit down with Karl Atkins, Chief Operating Officer at Foodbuy, to discuss the win, what it means to him and why social value is so important to Foodbuy.

1. Foodbuy has won a CIPS Award, how does it feel?
“If I had to summarise how it feels in one word, I would go with PROUD! Anyone who works in the procurement industry will know that the CIPS Awards are the most sought-after accolade you can achieve. Globally, they’re a benchmark of procurement excellence. And, for most businesses, just being shortlisted is an incredible achievement. But to go toe-to-toe with some of the world’s greatest procurement projects and come away with a win… it really is the true pinnacle of achievement for anyone in our profession.”

2. Why do you think Foodbuy was recognised?
“It’s all down to our market-leading work pioneering social value across our supply chains. Since joining the Buy Social Corporate Challenge in 2019, we’ve spent more than £3.5 million with over 20 food and drinks social enterprise businesses. But it’s more than that. Our clients expect us to source responsibly, that’s our bread and butter. Now, through our work with social enterprises, we’re pushing into new and less known areas of corporate social responsibility (CSR)”.

3. Why is social value so important to Foodbuy?
“Now more than ever, large businesses have a critical role to play when it comes to the sustainability of our planet. As the UK’s largest food procurement organisation, we take that responsibility extremely seriously. The Foodbuy team live and breathe this mentality and that really helps to embed change across our supply chain, but there’s more to be done. That’s why we’ve made a commitment to spend £5 million with UK social enterprises as well as extending our membership of the Buy Social Corporate challenge for a further three years.”

4. How can others get involved with social value?
“It’s really simple to get involved in the social value movement. It can be as easy as changing where you buy your morning coffee. We work with a social enterprise called Change Please, a coffee company empowering homeless communities by training them as baristas. Through our partnership together we’ve supported 60+ people out of homelessness.”

 5. Just to cap this off, why is social value important to you personally?
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have a career spanning food retail, foodservice and FMCG manufacturers, all of whom are doing incredible things. But working at Foodbuy, I’ve seen the power that procurement can have when it comes to changing lives. Knowing the procurement decisions we make can help to tackle food waste, poverty, homelessness, hunger and dehydration – to name a few - gives me an immense feeling of pride. Personally, I’m excited to be a part of the Foodbuy journey to help build a better world.”

 6. Any final comments?
“I’d just like to thank the entire Foodbuy team for their ongoing efforts. I am really proud of what we’re doing and I’m fortunate to work alongside a group of such passionate procurement professionals.”