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Sustainable Procurement Events for your Spring Calendar

While we may be home-bound for a bit longer due to COVID-19, that doesn’t mean we can’t fill our calendars with opportunities to learn and be social! At Reeve, we’ve gathered a collection of top tier sustainable and procurement themed webinars that we are looking forward to and want to share in the anticipation.With eyes on the horizon for the return of in-person events, we have gained a new appreciation for the ease and accessibility online events can provide. Let’s make the most of it this spring and enjoy a few more online events we can attend in our lounge-wear!READ MORE

Kickoff CCSP’s 2021 Program Year with a Welcome Webinar

Everyone is invited to this party! If you’ve ever wanted to learn what CCSP is all about then mark February 25th on your calendars! Guests are encouraged to attend the CCSP 2021 Kickoff Webinar for free; the first in a series of informative webinars that provide opportunities for networking, collaboration, and learning.

 

The CCSP will be hosting their first Peer Exchange Webinar on February 25th from 10am to 11:15am PST. Members and guests can expect to hear first-hand success stories from members who’ve implemented new sustainable policies and pilot projects and learn how the CCSP can help them achieve similar outstanding advancements within their own organizations.

This peer-based forum enables members to share information, access tools and resources, and track their progress as they develop sustainable policies, practices, and procedures. If you’d like to find out more about the benefits of being a member of the Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement, follow this link.

 

The Kickoff Agenda

  • Meet returning and new members
  • Sneak a peek at the 2020 Annual Report launch
  • See success story highlights presented by members
  • Vote for topics of interest for upcoming Peer Exchanges and Working Groups

Who’s invited?

Everyone! Share this Eventbrite link with guests that would like to learn about upcoming CCSP programming and be introduced to a network of Canadian public-sector institutions who value a commitment to sustainable practices.

When and where?

The CCSP 2021 Kickoff Webinar is happening on February 25th at 10am PST. All event details can be found through this link.

 

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WRITTEN BY: ERIN UNGER, PROGRAM MANAGER AT THE CANADIAN COLLABORATION FOR SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT (CCSP)

WANT TO STAY UP TO DATE WITH OTHER SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT NEWS IN CANADA? FOLLOW THE CCSP ON LINKEDIN AND SIGN-UP TO THE CCSP’S MONTHLY NEWSLETTER.

CCSP’S New Sustainable Procurement Tools

How to bring your sustainable procurement plans and policies to life

 

Public sector organizations across Canada have levelled up their commitment to green, social, ethical, and Indigenous purchasing in 2020 with dozens of new plans and policies. For example, Halifax Regional Municipality approved a new social policy in May, City of Whitehorse updated their procurement policy to include sustainability in August, City of Victoria updated their bylaws to including new social procurement and Living Wage considerations in February, and BCLC and the City of Nanaimo created comprehensive sustainable procurement implementation plans from June to August, just to name a few. Many public sector organizations, however, are not yet equipped to ensure widespread adoption and operationalization of these new plans and policies. They need tools to bake sustainability into their various types of purchasing—RFPs, quotes, low-value purchases, and the like. And in 2020, it’s clearer than ever that time is of the essence.

With this in mind, members of the Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement’s 2020 Working Group, decided to tackle this challenge. From April to November, Working Group members from Halifax Regional Municipality, City of Mississauga, City of Regina, the Government of Yukon, and Vancouver Coastal Health developed and piloted 3 new sustainable procurement tools and shared back their work and lessons learned to the wider CCSP community at the CCSP’s final Peer Exchange webinar of the year on December 3.

The Group’s goal was to build awareness around the benefits of tools, allow members to advance their program with minimal resources, and promote a united approach to sustainable procurement for CCSP members across Canada. Read on to hear more about what they accomplished!

 

What do sustainable procurement tools achieve?

Tools enable procurement staff and business units to take a standardized approach to sustainable purchasing in all types of purchases, including:

  • Identifying sustainability risks and opportunities related to purchasing products and services;
  • Establishing strong sustainability-related specifications;
  • Collecting and evaluating product/service- and enterprise-level sustainability information; and more.

 

 

What tools did the Working Group develop?

 

1. Sustainability Risk and Opportunity Assessment

Helps identify potential sustainability impacts before determining clauses and questions to include in solicitation documents. It provides a list of common sustainability issue areas and corresponding actions to take depending on their likelihood and severity.

 

2. Ecolabel Guide

Lists the most common ecolabels, provides information on how to assess the different types of ecolabels, and outlines tips for how to include ecolabels in solicitation documents. Tip: Type 1 ecolabels in solicitation documents help avoid greenwashing by ensuring third-party verification.

 

3. Supplier Leadership Questionnaire

Collects information to assess vendors’ enterprise-level sustainability. It includes a list of open-ended and yes/no questions as well as a list of supporting documentation vendors can provide to verify their claims. Supplier Leadership Questionnaires (or SQLs) are most often included as an attachment to RFPs but can also be used as a supplier engagement tool outside of formal RFx processes. For example, they can collect baseline data from vendors and inform performance management discussions.

 

Learn more about how and when to apply these new tools by downloading this Toolkit Overview.

 

What were the lessons learned?

Throughout the pilot, the Working Group garnered input from key stakeholders in their organizations, including senior leaders, buyers, sustainability staff, and contract managers from various business units. Here are their most salient lessons learned if you’re interested in implementing tools in your organization:

Don’t reinvent the wheel. There are already dozens of tools created by your peers and organizations like the CCSP. Save time and money by reaching out to your network to see what exists instead of developing tools from scratch.

Build a team. Create an internal working group with sustainable procurement champions to help inform tool development and implementation.

Engage users. Make sure to meet with potential users of the tools—understand their priorities, challenges, and lingo. Success will depend on your ability to speak their language!

Start small and iterate. Begin conducting pilot tests early on and stagger introducing the tool to new groups. Start piloting the tools with your working group, followed by a few ‘sustainability friendly’ buyers. Once you’ve refined your approach, you’ll feel more confident rolling it out to your entire buying team and then to all contract managers.

Prioritize high impact purchase categories. Create a tiered approach to implementation. Begin by using the tools on Tier 1 High Impact Procurement Opportunities—purchase categories that are high spend, high volume and/or of strategic importance for sustainability. Once staff become familiar with the tools, expand to Tier 2 and Tier 3 categories.

Train staff. Once you’ve piloted and finalized the tools, build a training and communications plan. Make it clear to staff that tools are now part of your procurement procedures. Outline their purpose and how and when to use them and provide training in different formats (e.g. recorded video demos, downloadable guides, 1-on-1 meetings, small group Lunch and Learns, etc.)

 

If the concept of sustainable procurement is new to your organization, it will be critical to educate your stakeholders on the basics before implementing new tools. This includes:

  • Educating staff on the business case and benefits of sustainable procurement;
  • Orienting staff to your organization’s sustainable procurement policy and strategy; and
  • Sharing how sustainable procurement supports other organizational policies and strategy (e.g. strategic plans, poverty reduction or climate action commitments, etc.).

Note: Sustainable procurement was new to many Working Group member organization and, as a result, we created educational resources like a list of sustainable procurement definitions and a short sustainable procurement training slide deck, which all CCSP members have access to as well.

 

What’s next?

The CCSP’s new sustainable procurement tools are now accessible to all 30 member organizations through the CCSP’s online Resource Library. Working Group members will be actively updating the tools based on user feedback and are interested in examining Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) tools and resources in 2021. In addition, CCSP staff are working with 2 UBC Sustainability Scholars to develop a Sustainable Procurement Guide for City Councillors and 10 Sustainable Product and Service Factsheets.

 

Want to get involved?

The CCSP is actively looking for more public organizations interested in implementing sustainable procurement in 2021. Find out more about us here and reach out to alyssa [at] reeveconsulting.com if you’re interested in joining our community.

 

Acknowledgements

None of this would be possible without CCSP’s Working Group volunteers (listed below) who convened throughout the year to advance thought-leadership and co-create these resources. Thank you all for your time and energy and congrats on this huge accomplishment!

  1. Andrea Westfall, Sustainable Procurement Coordinator at the City of Mississauga
  2. Edward Claringbold, Procurement Advisor at the Government of Yukon
  3. Jane Prior, Manager, Procurement at the Halifax Regional Municipality
  4. Sonja Janousek, Sustainability Manager at Vancouver Coastal Health
  5. Tammy Moyse, Procurement Manager at the City of Regina

 

Thank you also to Genevieve Russell, Projects Manager, Sustainability, at the City of Saskatoon who presented lessons learned from the City’s new Triple Bottom Line (TBL) risk-opportunity assessment tool! Read more about their award-winning TBL initiative here.

_______________________
WRITTEN BY: ALYSSA MCDONALD, PROGRAM MANAGER AT THE CANADIAN COLLABORATION FOR SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT (CCSP)
WANT TO STAY UP TO DATE WITH OTHER SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT NEWS IN CANADA? FOLLOW THE CCSP ON LINKEDIN AND SIGN-UP TO THE CCSP’S MONTHLY NEWSLETTER.

5 Tips for Buying Sustainable IT Products

Will you be writing RFPs for computers or printers in the next 3-6 months but are unsure of what sustainability criteria to evaluate? Do you have trouble understanding if your IT purchases are in fact the most sustainable options?

 

On November 5, 2020, members of the Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (CCSP) learn how to improve the social and environmental impact of their IT purchasing from expert speakers Clare Hobby, Director Purchaser Engagement at TCO Certified, and Frances Edmonds, Head of Sustainable Impact at HP Canada.

Find below a summary of tips to apply when purchasing IT materials for your organization.READ MORE

5 Tips for Measuring and Reporting Your Sustainable Procurement Progress

Do you have a sustainable procurement policy but struggle to make meaningful changes in how you buy? Do you have trouble understanding if your actions are positively impacting your community?

On October 15, 2020, members of the Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (CCSP) gathered to learn how to set, monitor, and report on their program performance from expert speakers Andrea Westfall, Sustainable Procurement Coordinator at the City of Mississauga and John Bys, Public Sector Specialist at EcoVadis. Find below a summary of tips to apply in your organization!READ MORE

Getting Sustainable and Social Procurement Lingo Straight Once and for All

Photo by ThisIsEngineering from Pexels

 

There are a lot of terms being thrown around in the sustainable and social procurement world these days and it’s a source of confusion for many. For example, have you heard Senior Executives or City Councillors talking about fair wage when they actually mean living wage? Or think social procurement is somehow different or distinct from sustainable procurement?

The Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (CCSP) is here to clear the air because how can we be effective in advancing our social and environmental goals if we aren’t all speaking the same language? Find below definitions of sustainable and social procurement as well as other important related terms.

 

4 PILLARS OF SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT

Sustainable procurement embeds relevant sustainability considerations into processes for selecting goods and services, alongside traditional considerations like price, quality, service, and technical specifications. It’s a broad term that all sustainability issues can be nested under.

Typically, organizations draw from some combination of the following 4 pillars depending on their organizational plans and priorities. However, the best programs integrate all 4 pillars in a comprehensive, holistic way.

 

1. Environmental or Green Procurement

Sometimes referred to as circular procurement, aiming to:

  • reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, waste, energy and water usage, and toxicity,
  • increase the circularity of our economy, and
  • support clean, renewable industries.

 

2. Ethical Procurement

Reducing ‘sweatshop labour’ by:

 

3. Indigenous Procurement

Sometimes referred to as Aboriginal procurement, purchasing from Indigenous owned and operated businesses to support Reconciliation and socio-economic resilience for Indigenous peoples and communities.

 

4. Social Procurement

Reducing poverty and fostering inclusivity by creating economic opportunities for equity-seeking groups and other target populations. This includes:

  • purchasing from suppliers that offer social value, such as non-profits, social enterprises, and diverse suppliers, and
  • mandating suppliers to deliver social value as a condition of the contract, often outlined through Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs).

 

Photo by ThisIsEngineering from Pexels

KEY TERMS FOR SOCIAL PROCUREMENT

Within the domain of social procurement, there are many other related concepts to understand. Find a list of definitions for commonly used terms below.

 

EQUITY-SEEKING GROUPS, often referred to as marginalized populations, include women, Indigenous peoples, members of visible minorities and persons with disabilities. 

 

TARGET POPULATIONS are groups that are of special interest to a community. They may fall outside of traditional equity-seeking groups but are nevertheless important for the health and vibrancy of the community. Examples include youth, new immigrants, veterans, ex-convicts, homeless people, and small-medium-sized business owners.

 

SOCIAL VALUE within the context of procurement includes suppliers offering: 

  • socially responsible production (e.g. certified B Corps), and 
  • leading diversity, equity and inclusion practices, 
  • employment and training for equity-seeking groups and target populations,
  • full-time fair and/or living wage employment,
  • advanced health and safety practices, and the like. 

 

SOCIAL ENTERPRISE is an entity with a mission to achieve social, cultural or environmental aims through the sale of goods and services that reinvests the majority of its profits back into its mission.

 

DIVERSE SUPPLIERS are majority-owned, managed, and controlled by Indigenous Persons or individuals from an equity-seeking community including, but not limited to, women, racialized minorities, persons with disabilities, newcomers, and LGBTQ+ persons.

Many organizations with supplier diversity programs require suppliers to be certified by organizations including the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council, Women Business Enterprise Canada Council, Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, and/or the Inclusive Workplace Supply Council of Canada.

 

LIVING WAGES reflect the hourly amount a family needs to earn to cover basic expenses in their specific community. These basic expenses include food, clothing, rental housing, childcare, transportation, and small savings to cover illness or emergencies. Living wages reduce severe financial stress by lifting families out of poverty and providing a basic level of economic security.

For example, Canadian municipalities certified as living wage employers include the City of Vancouver,  New Westminster,  Burnaby,  Port Coquitlam,  Cambridge,  Kingston, Grey Bruce, North Perth, and the County Huron. Some cities have adopted category-specific Living Wage policies like the City of Edmonton’s policy for janitorial services.

 

FAIR WAGES are minimum wage rates for specific occupations. They must be paid by contractors doing work for governments with fair wage policies. These policies generally apply to the construction, trades, and sometimes cleaning and security workers. They are often tied to union wage rates, ensuring contractors don not slash wages and benefits.

For example, the Government of Canada, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Yukon and a number of municipalities such as the City of Toronto, Thunder Bay, Clarington, Hamilton, and Vaughn have adopted fair wage policies.

 

COMMUNITY BENEFITS AGREEMENTS (CBAs) require suppliers to provide jobs, training, procurement opportunities, and other benefits to marginalized and target groups in a particular community. They are most often included in Industrial-Commercial-Institutional developments.

For example, Infrastructure Canada’s CEB initiative requires applicable projects to employ or provide procurement opportunities to at least three out of the eight following targeted groups: apprentices, Indigenous peoples, women, persons with disabilities, veterans, youth, recent immigrants, and small, medium-sized and social enterprises.

 

LOCAL PROCUREMENT refers to the purchase of goods and services from suppliers in the buyer’s region and aims to foster local economic development and build stronger relationships with their community.

For example, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador increased their procurement thresholds and implemented a local preference provision in June 2020 to better support local businesses through COVID-19 and beyond.

 

KEEP IN TOUCH

Stay up to date with sustainable procurement news in Canada by following the CCSP on LinkedIn, signing up for the CCSP’s monthly newsletter, and reading our latest Annual Report on the State of Sustainable Public Procurement in Canada.

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WRITTEN BY: TIM REEVE AND ALYSSA MCDONALD FROM THE CANADIAN COLLABORATION FOR SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT (CCSP)

 

Looking for Top Tier Sustainable Procurement Events?

Have you been missing the learning and networking you used to get from in-person sustainability events? The Reeve team doesn’t want you to miss out on some of the most significant upcoming events on procurement and sustainability, so, we’ve highlighted the events we’re most excited about over the next few months.

Most of these sessions would have been hosted in person but are now transitioning to online because of COVID, something we have all been adjusting to! Like us, you may find yourself signing up to online events and either not attending or finding it less valuable than in-person events but we suggest giving it another shot!

Check out these 6 upcoming events and test our tips. Don’t miss out on the learning and connecting!

 

Tips for Attending Online Events

Before the Event

  • Create at least one learning goal and one business development/networking goal.
  • If possible, identify 1-3 people, either speakers or other attendees you’d like to connect with.
  • Prepare 1-3 questions in advance, knowing these may change during the actual event.

During the Event

  • Ask your 1-3 questions. Adapt as required and don’t forget to mention where you are from.
  • Connect with other attendees, most online events will have a chat function, so don’t forget to introduce yourself and use it.
  • Make note of anyone asking questions relevant to your own work and try to connect with them through the chat.

After the Event

  • Connect with the speakers and other attendees on LinkedIn to keep the conversation going.
  • Summarize your main take-away’s / learnings from the event and share back with your team.

 

July 16: SPLC Virtual Connect

The Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC) is hosting a virtual matchmaking event with a sustainability focus that offers an opportunity for buyers and suppliers to network in meaningful ways. Participants are invited to discover fresh business opportunities beneficial for all procurement professionals, whether seeking services or fulfilling the critical needs of buyers dedicated to influencing the sustainability goals of their organizations and their commitment to the good of the planet. More info and registration found here and more events found in their activities calendar here.

 

Aug. 25-27: GreenBiz Circularity 20

The GreenBiz Circularity 20 Conference will now be held as a free online event featuring plenaries, breakouts, tours, networking opportunities, and a solutions showcase all focussed on employing circular economy principles that navigate disruption, increase resilience, respond to shifting consumer demand and unlock new business opportunities. Sessions of interest for procurement professionals would include:

  • Forging a Resilient Circular Supply Chain
  • From Product to Practice: Circular Innovation from the Ground Up
  • Enabling Global Circular Supply Chains in the Electronics Industry

More info and registration found here.

 

Aug. 24-28: NIGP Forum Annual Meeting

The NIGP Annual Forum is the largest North American educational conference for individuals in public procurement. This year, the 75th anniversary, will be offered online and feature over 50 procurement-focussed sessions, keynotes, networking, virtual happy hours and more.

We would encourage you to bring a sustainability lens and ask questions to every session you attend; these sessions caught our eye as particularly relevant for sustainable procurement:

  • From Cradle to Grave: Procurement is Just the Beginning
  • Practical Steps to Move Procurement from a Back-Office Function to a Strategic Business Partner with Internal Departments
  • Social Responsibility! Why?

More info and registration found here.

 

Sept. 29-30: World Circular Economy Forum

Finland, the Netherlands, and Canada are joining forces for this year’s World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) online. Circular economy change-makers from around the world will share practical circular economy examples that will help us rebuild our economies stronger, greener and better! The Recycling Council of Ontario is set to host a side event on circular procurement alongside WCEF. More info and registration found here.

Two additional WCEF events will be held on April 15, 2021, in the Netherlands and online as well as September 13 – 15, 2021, in Toronto, Canada.

 

Oct. 5-9: SCC National Conference

Supply Chain Canada’s (SCC) 2020 National Conference and Fellow Awards Gala will focus on visibility, transparency, and innovation. Attendees will hear from expert speakers, discuss the latest topics in supply chain, discuss best practices, and build their network. More info and registration found here.

 

Oct. 20-22: FCM Sustainable Communities Conference

Municipalities are at the forefront of Covid response and sustainable development, and the function of procurement plays a large role in enabling this. The FCM Virtual Sustainable Communities Conference theme this year is Bringing Projects to Life, where delegates will explore fundamental issues and solutions for building sustainable communities. More info and registration found here.

 

Don’t forget to grab a beverage, turn your video on, and we’ll see you all there!

A Call-to-Action this Canada Day

Photo credit: Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

 

Support Aboriginal Purchasing in Your Organization

As we celebrate Canada Day, the Reeve team is feeling extremely grateful to live in a place where people from all backgrounds can come together. However, we believe it is extremely important to recognize that our rights and freedoms came at a cost. Indigenous peoples have suffered immensely in this country and greater efforts must be made to achieve Reconciliation.

As procurement professionals, we want to show our support to Indigenous peoples by highlighting Indigenous enterprises and the institutions advancing Aboriginal procurement policies and practices across the country.

Simon Fraser University, a member of the Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (CCSP), has put in place an Aboriginal Procurement Procedure to share its procurement opportunities with certified Aboriginal businesses. SFU is also an Aboriginal Procurement Champion, a special designation by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB), as part of its Supply Change program to encourage organizations to procure products and services from Aboriginal suppliers. Mary Aylesworth, SFU’s Director of Financial Operations, reports that this approach has worked well.  “With CCAB I found a source that was national in scope and would do the process of authenticating Aboriginal businesses, as well as offering a channel for outreach and marketing to Aboriginal suppliers. I’d like to inspire MCSP members to consider adopting a similar approach. I want to see this grow and develop, so that all public sector organizations think about how they can work with Aboriginal businesses before going out to the general market.” For more on Aboriginal Procurement at SFU, check out the CCSP’s 2019 Annual Report.

We encourage you to contact the CCAB and the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC) to learn more about their programs, inform yourself on Indigenous procurement best practices, and be inspired by organizations already on their journey aligning their spending with their commitments to Reconciliation such as:

  1. BC Hydro – Indigenous Contract & Procurement Policy
  2. Manitoba Hydro – Indigenous and Northern Procurement Policy
  3. Hydro One – Indigenous Relations Policy and Business Directory
  4. Province of BC – Indigenous Procurement Initiative
  5. Government of Saskatchewan – Indigenous Procurement Policy
  6. SaskPower – Aboriginal Procurement Policy

There is lots of work to be done to achieve Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples—let’s start with how we buy.

Sincerely,

The Reeve team, living and working on the traditional, unceded territory of Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam, and Squamish Nations.

Join a Canada-wide movement to advance sustainable procurement

 

In 2020, sustainable procurement is more relevant than ever. It’s an important lever for promoting supplier diversity, fighting climate change, and increasing the circularity of our economy. It helps manages supply chain risk and increases economic efficiency by considering the total cost of products and services—above and beyond the purchase price.

Sustainable procurement also allows organizations to contribute to achieving the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. In particular, it supports Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production.

 

PARTNERING FOR THE SDGs

The Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (CCSP) is excited to announce it’s teaming up with ECPAR and the Government of Canada’s Sustainable Development Goals Program to:

  • Bring awareness to SDG 12 and its importance;
  • Benchmark 200 private and public sector organizations through the 2020 Barometer survey; and
  • Build alignment across Canadian organizations advancing sustainable procurement.

 

TAKE THE 2020 BAROMETER SURVEY

Get involved by taking the 2020 Barometer survey by September 11, 2020. Receive a confidential, personalized report outlining the maturity of your sustainable procurement practices as compared to other respondents across Canada and recommendations for actions to advance your efforts.

 

SAVE TIME ON YOUR CCSP BENCHMARKING ASSESSMENT

CCSP members who participate in the 2020 Barometer survey will benefit from an expedited CCSP benchmarking assessment in preparation for the 2020 Annual Report on the State of Sustainable Public procurement in Canada released in January 2021.

Read the 2019 Annual Report here.

 

STAY UP TO DATE

Stay up to date with sustainable procurement news in Canada by following the CCSP on LinkedIn and signing up for the CCSP’s monthly newsletter.

5 Tips for Purchasing Greener Building Materials

Image of a green building at UBC.

 

Recognizing the global building sector contributes 39% of global carbon emissions, public organizations have had a strong focus on embedding sustainability into the design, construction, maintenance, operation, and demolition of both vertical and horizontal infrastructure. There have been great strides in adopting standards and certifications like LEED, WELL, and Envision as well as increasing the energy efficiency of buildings but there is lots more work to be done. Notably, experts are now calling to reduce embodied carbon of building materials like concrete, steel, mass timber, and insulation – an often hidden cost of building.

Many of us are familiar with the concept of operational carbon: greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted when operating and maintaining a building. Embodied carbon represents the carbon footprint of materials. It considers all GHGs released throughout the material’s supply chain, including extraction, manufacturing, assembly, maintenance, and demolition (World Green Building Council). Embodied carbon is taken into account when doing a life cycle analysis (LCA) of a building (Bringing Embodied Carbon Upfront, 2019).

Embodied carbon of building materials is currently responsible for 11% of global GHG emissions (see right; Carbon Leadership Forum Website, 2019). However, as buildings become more efficient and utilize clean energy, embodied carbon is expected to represent 49% of all carbon emissions of buildings by 2050 (Embodied Carbon Review, 2018).

Find 5 tips for how procurement professionals can incorporate green building best practices and consider the embodied carbon of materials in upcoming infrastructure projects below. A special thank you to our 4 industry expert who shared these insights at the Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (CCSP) last Peer Exchange webinar on May 14, 2020:

 

1.   Learn your building policies and sustainability plans

Get up to speed on 1) the building policies and codes in your region and 2) your organization’s sustainability plans to understand what goals and targets need to be met. In Vancouver, there’s a number of relevant policies and codes including the BC Energy Step Code, the Green Buildings Policy for Rezoning, and the City’s  Big Move #5 from the City’s Climate Emergency declaration.

 

2.   Get to know who’s responsible for green building 

It’s rare for a public organization to buy building materials themselves. The contractor is typically responsible for purchasing the materials and the designer guides what materials the contractor uses. Get to know who’s responsible for green building and ask to join the conversation in the early stages of the project – before specifications for designers are developed.

Look for opportunities to collaborate internally. Increasingly organizations are using integrated design processes (CMHC, 2020), which allow engineers, costing specialists, operations people, energy specialists, and other relevant actors to provide input to architects at early design stages (iiSBE, 2020).

 

3.   Use standards and certification to set performance-based targets

For example, use the LEED scorecard to signal where the design team should focus (see Figure 1). Provide rewards for achieving higher scores over the minimum thresholds and penalties for not meeting the thresholds.

 

Figure 1: LEED Scorecard for Materials and Resources

Other great green building standards and certifications include WELL, Living Building Challenge, Passive House Canada, Zero Carbon Building Standard by the Canada Green Building Council, ASHRAE, and EnerGuide by Natural Resources Canada. Find comprehensive lists on the National Institute of Building Sciences and the Ecolabel Index websites.

 

4.   Leverage Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) to avoid greenwashing

Ask designers and contractors to provide Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for a few priority materials. EPDs document the embodied carbon associated of specific materials. They act like food nutritional labels – either providing an industry average or a manufacturer-, product-, or plant-specific calculation. They are Third Party Verified, which helps avoid greenwashing, and are ISO 14044 & EN 15804 compliant.

Where can you find EPDs? EC3 is a new, free, open-source tool that compiles EPDs for building materials, created by a non-profit alliance of AEC firms, manufacturers, foundations, and building owners.

 

5.   Engage your suppliers to discover sustainability innovations

Engage your suppliers to learn about the sustainability features of particular products. Learn about new products and emerging technologies and set collaborative goals to buy greener materials. For example, concrete and cement contribute to sustainable, resilient buildings because they:

  • are most often extracted and manufactured within 100 miles,
  • contain recycled materials and are recyclable,
  • create durable, long-lasting structures,
  • require less finishes and use less energy in buildings, and
  • have a light colour which reduces heat island effect.

 

 

Lafarge Canada has worked to increase the sustainability of its cement by adding limestone into its mix. This small change leads to a 5 to 10% reduction in carbon, while maintaining competitive quality and price. They are also increasing the sustainability of their organization by investing in emerging technologies around:

  • alternative fuels,
  • alternative, low-carbon binders,
  • collecting and capturing CO2 to be used for other purposes, and
  • converting CO2 into other materials through mineralization.

Find out more about the sustainability of cement and concrete in these EPDs:

 

Bonus Tip: Carefully review your consultants and designers’ green credentials

Check out Calgary’s green building resources for more information on how to attract and onboard the right team.

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Written by: Alyssa McDonald, Program Manager at the Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (CCSP)
Want to stay up to date with other sustainable procurement news in Canada? Follow the CCSP on LinkedIn and sign-up to the CCSP’s monthly newsletter.