The University is celebrating a double achievement as Cardiff Met Students' Union joins the wider University in becoming the first in Wales to achieve the Social Enterprise Mark. As the first university in Wales and the first Students' Union to receive the accreditation, Cardiff Met has proved it is in business to benefit society, community and the environment. Cardiff Met is one of only ten HEI's across the UK to gain this recognition.
The Social Enterprise Mark is the only internationally available social enterprise accreditation, which enables organisations to prove their commitment to creating positive social change. Only organisations which can prove they use income and profits to maximise their positive social/ environmental impact are awarded a licence to display the Social Enterprise Mark.
Applicants must meet robust qualification criteria in order to be awarded the Social Enterprise Mark, and are re-assessed each year to ensure they continue to meet the criteria. Subject to an assessment process which is overseen by an independent Certification Panel, Cardiff Met's governance documents and accounts were scrutinised. As a result, Cardiff Metropolitan University has earned the Social Enterprise Mark guarantee that profits are used to benefit society through a range of programmes including:
The ongoing work of the University's International Centre for Design & Research (PDR) - an award-winning centre of technological innovation which provides cutting-edge services for NHS patients
The ongoing work of the Centre for Applied Research in Inclusive Arts and Design (CARIAD) - a dedicated centre for addressing societal challenges.
President & Vice-Chancellor at Cardiff Met, Professor Cara Aitchison said, "We're really proud to have been awarded the Social Enterprise Mark. Cardiff Metropolitan University is absolutely committed to supporting sustainable businesses and consequently helping local communities to thrive and prosper."
Lucy Findlay, Managing Director, Social Enterprise Mark CIC, advised:
"We are delighted to award the prestigious Social Enterprise Mark to Cardiff Metropolitan University. This proves that they have committed themselves to both their ongoing support of the social enterprise sector in their local areas, but also to their own social enterprise credentials and social value across the UK. The fact that they have opened up to the external scrutiny of our accreditation process shows that it is not just 'lip service'. We now have an expanding network of HEI's that are leading the way and increasingly challenging others to do so."
Government data estimates that nearly 9% of the UK small business population are social enterprises, contributing around £24 billion to the economy and employing over 1 million people.
Social enterprises plough the majority of their profits back into activities that benefit people and planet, rather than just lining shareholders pockets. However, some businesses are taking advantage as there is no legal definition for them. Social Enterprise Mark CIC is the guardian of genuine social enterprise principles, and it safeguards these through the independent accreditation process.