5 Sustainable Procurement Take-Aways from GLOBE ’22

Last month, Reeve had the privilege to attend – in person – the latest biannual GLOBE business and the environment conference which convenes world’s leaders in sustainability. There were many notable events, including the latest announcement from the Canadian government, unveiling their new plan to curb GHG emissions by 40% to meet their 2030 targets. In our corner of sustainability namely, scope 3 emissions, circular economy, and sustainable procurement, we saw more movement this year than ever before. The conversation is accelerating, and the standards are increasing.

Here are five key take-aways from GLOBE:

  1. Circular economy: There’s a new collective understanding that a transition to a more circular economy will require more than siloed innovation. Rather than focusing on innovating products alone, we must reimagine how our supply chains function to allow for broader collaboration over competition. There is ample opportunity to reimagine how we consume and create products, together. Systemic challenges require systemic solutions.

 

  1. Indigenous procurement: Achieving a just transition requires us to adapt our current colonial structured systems and reintroduce Indigenous principles and frameworks. There are nearly 60,000 Indigenous businesses in Canada that are operating in every industry, that could meet up to 24% of the federal government’s current spend, but as it stands, only 32% of federal contracts were awarded to businesses being managed and led by Indigenous Peoples. Adapting our systems will involve “sharing the whole”, where we make a deliberate effort to source from Indigenous businesses.

 

  1. The Nexus of Labour and Climate Change: We learned that this isn’t going to be a matter of inclusion, but a matter of necessity. Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan spoke to the concept that our workforce will be the cornerstone of the clean energy transition, and true action on climate change targets here in Canada. The conversation is no longer focused on ‘including’ marginalized groups, Indigenous peoples, or equity-seeking suppliers, but rather on the necessity of involvement from these groups, which must continue to be championed and improved by the private sector and government.

 

  1. Stories from Survivors of Canadian Climate Events: we witnessed the Chief of Cooks Ferry First Nation located in Spences Bridge, BC recount her remote community’s experience throughout the horrific impacts of wildfires and flooding. These climatic events displaced many members of their community, forcing them to abandon their homes and relocate for many months at a time. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, Steven Guilbeault, acknowledged that Canada’s climate adaptation response requires action more action. Establishing and clearly defining levels of responsibility and roles for federal, provincial, and municipal government, as well as private sector actors, will be key in mitigating the adverse impacts of displacement of these remote communities, who will continue to encounter climatic events.

 

  1. Intersectional environmentalism: Much of the discussion across the week focused not only on reducing emissions and meeting climate targets but incorporating much needed changes into new infrastructure and systems that includes an intersectional lens, considering inclusivity, diversity, climate equity and justice. We can’t be sustainable without true inclusion.

 

Following GLOBE, it’s now about putting words into action. Net zero commitments only work if there is a roadmap to get there in a way that works. We’ve heard some impressive pledges from Governments and businesses in recent years, but now folks are starting to talk about to make them happen, in practical terms. Here at Reeve, we help organizations turn their promises into measurable and tangible results. To us, GLOBE 2022 felt like a shift from platitude to progress, echoing the idiom, and Reeve principle, that actions speak louder than words.