At the Houses of Parliament in London earlier this year, SAP Executive Board member Adaire Fox-Martin (pictured above) appealed to an audience of the United Kingdom’s leading social-enterprise CEOs and corporate executives to come even closer together to find “a better way to grow.”

Together with Chair Lord Victor Adebowale and CEO Peter Holbrook, Adaire announced SAP’s partnership with Social Enterprise UK, through which the two organizations plan to further scale the burgeoning social enterprise sector.

Social enterprises are normal businesses in that they generate the majority of their income through trade – albeit with several important differentiating characteristics. First, they have a clear social or environmental mission set out in their governing documents. They reinvest the majority of their profits back into their business or mission. They are autonomous of state. And they are majority controlled in the interests of their social mission.

The power of Ariba Network

As the official technology partner of Social Enterprise UK, SAP aims to support such social enterprises by providing them with greater access to markets, talent and technology. Ariba Network, as the world’s largest digital marketplace, can play a leading role in these efforts. By connecting more corporate buyers with social-enterprise suppliers, the platform can facilitate procurement spend toward goods and services from organizations dedicated to delivering a positive social impact.

“We will be using our platform to shift how markets work,” Adaire said. “This is about building businesses that matter. Working with social enterprise suppliers allows companies to use their everyday procurement spend in a way which changes lives, whether that’s creating jobs for vulnerable women, protecting our planet through sustainable materials or reinvesting profits back into local communities.”

Johnson & Johnson, and many other sustainable brands, are opening doors for small and diverse suppliers through Ariba Network, where more than £2 trillion in business-to-business commerce is conducted annually. In the UK alone, more than 200,000 buyers and suppliers are connected to Ariba Network. In the past year, these companies have exchanged more than one million purchase orders worth more than £12 billion. The potential of this partnership is substantial – globally Ariba Network supports 2.3 times more commerce than Amazon, Alibaba and eBay combined.

Read the rest of Judith Magyar’s article at Forbes