A guide to social value for London's small businesses

A guide to social value for London's small businesses
Grow London Local
Grow London LocalMatching London small businesses to support

Posted: Fri 12th Jan 2024

No matter how small, your business has the power to make a difference by creating social value for London's people, economy, environment and communities.

The London Anchor Institutions' Network (LAIN), with support from the Mayor of London, aims to bring together the city's largest organisations to drive change by actively procuring goods and services from micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) that promote inclusivity and sustainability, and strengthen communities.

Here's how you can demonstrate social value and secure contracts with major organisations that are helping to build a better London.

What is social value?

Social value creates economic, social or environmental value through contract-related activities. As an MSME that supplies London's anchor institutions, you can help generate social value by going above and beyond your legal contractual requirements.

Many small businesses are already supplying London's largest organisations. The social value that you're creating in your local area could be what makes you stand out from the crowd.

Find out more by reading the guide to social value for small businesses [PDF, 1.2MB].

Social value in practice: how your small business can make a difference

When making purchasing decisions, buyers will compare your business against other suppliers based on how your activities improve the social and environmental wellbeing of your local area.

Find out what buyers are looking for and how you can demonstrate value in four key areas.


Are you hiring local talent and creating quality employment in your borough? Then, you've created social value – demonstrate your impact for Londoners that live near your business:

  • Create better paid, quality work for low-paid Londoners.

  • Address skills shortages that affect your business.

  • Hire people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Things you can do

  • Sign up to London's Good Work Standard.

  • Pay the London Living Wage.

  • Make sure you employ a diverse and inclusive workforce.

  • Provide career advice to young people.

  • Offer apprenticeships and in-work training.


Your small business plays a key role in the local economy. By supporting and trading with other businesses near you, you can create fair growth right where you are:

  • Trade with MSMEs and VCSEs (companies in the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors) and provide support where needed.

  • Support your employees' physical and mental wellbeing.

  • Actively reduce the risk of modern slavery or unethical practices in your supply chain.

  • Train your staff in equality, diversity and inclusion.

Things you can do


You're trying to keep your business sustainable, but how do you show everything you're doing for the environment? Buyers will want to see that you:

  • Monitor your travel, carbon, energy, water and waste.

  • Think about your impact on the circular economy.

  • Use low and zero-emission vehicles.

  • Discourage single-use plastics.

  • Promote environmental awareness.

Things you can do


Your business is part of a local community that's alive and growing. You are promoting social value if you and your business create:

  • Initiatives to reduce crime and homelessness.

  • Celebrate London's cultural events.

  • Support older, disabled or vulnerable people near you

  • Address any other specific needs in your neighbourhood.

Things you can do

  • Work with Reengage and Befriend London.

  • Allow contracted staff to volunteer for community and charity projects.

  • Reach out to see how you can get involved in initiatives that tackle the issues in your area.

How is social value requested, evaluated and measured?

It's important to remember that buyers won't expect you to deliver against every outcome. Rather than trying to do everything, you should focus on delivering genuine value in the most suitable areas for your business.

The key things to demonstrate are:

  • How you will achieve the outcomes the buyer is looking for.

  • How you will show evidence and report on your activity.

  • How your activity relates to the contract.

If you've made it your mission to support the people living near your business, you can find out more about social value [PDF, 1.2MB] and share it with the people – your clients, your suppliers, your staff – that make up your local community.


Grow London Local: Support for London's small businesses

Book a free consultation with a Business Support Manager

Need help finding support for your business? Our Business Support Managers are here to help. Fill in a short form and we'll get back to you within two working days.
Arrange your consultation now

Grow London Local
Grow London LocalMatching London small businesses to support

Get business support right to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive business tips, learn about new funding programmes, join upcoming events, take e-learning courses, and more.