Exploring the Unique Partnership Between Procurement and Sustainability

Does one plus one equal three? In the case of the powerful partnership between procurement and sustainability departments, the answer is a resounding yes! Read on to find out how these two groups are greater than the sum of their parts.


Procurement practitioners have a lot on their plates – they are the facilitator between internal business units and the products and services those business units need. They’re balancing procurement rules and regulations, supply chain disruptions, tight timelines and budgets, and at the same time they are being asked to consider complex issues like accessibility and sustainability. But this is exactly why procurement should be seen as a highly strategic function of an organization – and they shouldn’t have to act alone either.

Sustainable procurement is often found at the side of someone’s desk, with ad-hoc pilot projects fragmented across an organization, especially when it doesn’t have organized intent and resources behind it. When acting in silo’s, sustainability as well as procurement professionals might feel like their wheels are spinning and they’re not getting much farther ahead. That said, we know that procurement is a leverage point from which organizations can drive top-level sustainability objectives and working together enables greater chances of positive impact.

So, on June 9th the CCSP sat down with procurement and sustainability professionals from two leading institutions, BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC) and Simon Fraser University (SFU), plus France Edmunds, Head of Sustainable Impact at HP, to dive into this conversation on internal collaboration and what can be achieved from it.


Setting the Scene

Frances kicked things off, reminding us of a few important messages:

  • Public institutions must give more points to sustainability evaluation criteria if they really want to leverage their market influence and effect change on pressing environmental and social issues.
  • Evaluation should focus on a supplier’s own corporate sustainability leadership practices in addition to the products or services they provide.
  • Procurement professionals often don’t feel they have responsibility for supporting an organization’s sustainability objectives; so, a multi-level collaborative approach is much needed.
  • Collaboration between sustainability and procurement professionals creates better capacity to set relevant criteria and avoid greenwashing, thus signaling suppliers to do better.


Diving into the Discussion

Our panel this year included Karen Jensen, Director of Corporate Procurement and Jim Gudjonson, Manager of Sustainability Innovation from BCLC and Laura Simonsen, Major Procurement Contracts Officer and Rita Steele, Manager of Campus Sustainability from SFU. If you missed the session, here are some not-to-be-missed highlights:

How did the relationship between your two groups start and what does your collaboration look like now?

SFU procurement and sustainability first started working together on a zero-waste committee to decrease waste from the campus going to landfill. Now, multiple committees focussing on different sustainable procurement topics have been created and act as the main source and hub for their ability to collaborate.

BCLC procurement and sustainability first came together over the topic of shared metrics. They have now developed a true partnership with joint advocacy, particularly on policy work, as well as collaborative training and participation on the ESG committee.

The procurement group at both institutions will review upcoming bids and bring in sustainability as needed to provide their expertise on specific procurements.

How has working together added value to the organization and enabled you to achieve things you wouldn’t have alone?

In less than a year of working together, Jim and Karen at BCLC were able to advocate for the hiring of an FTE to fully focus on sustainable procurement. They were able to showcase what they could be doing with more resources versus what they were able to do at the time. The partnership at BCLC also enabled an investment on electric vehicles which would not have been possible without the cost benefit analysis support from procurement, which ultimately resulted in a convergence of sustainability and finance objectives.

SFU has found that working together adds credibility to initiatives on both sides. While sustainability holds the strategic vision, procurement can then provide specific data, vendor knowledge, and access to many contacts throughout the organization. One project that wouldn’t have been possible at SFU without this collaboration, is the developing of an online SFU marketplace for recirculating surplus goods. While sustainability is driving this initiative, they leaned on procurement to share knowledge on the various procurement processes across the organization and how this Marketplace platform can fit.

What would you recommend to other organizations wanting to increase their collaboration?

  • Start somewhere. Choose one operational project (ex. a zero-waste initiative) to get the conversation going.
  • The time now is ripe for change. Take advantage of evolving sustainability and ESG policies to also update procurement policies and use this time to have conversations on common goals that lead into your top-level corporate strategies.
  • Set-up regular meetings with each other. Either one on one or through committee work, which create points where you’re regularly talking and engaging.
  • Invest in co-development. Invite one another to learn about each other’s priorities and processes and commit to supporting common initiatives.


A huge thank-you to our panelists, and supporting partner HP Canada, for showing us how the partnership between sustainability and procurement can be a powerful force within an organization!




Seeking the B in Sustainable Procurement

Procurement is the engine of an organization’s ESG strategy and is a key leverage point to address fundamental challenges like climate change, social inequity, and reconciliation. With so many products and services to choose from, and an increasing call to integrate sustainability considerations into the selection of goods, services and supplier, how do procurement teams navigate the challenge of making the very “best value” selection.

Integrating sustainability criteria into procurement decisions isn’t always easy and with a growing interest in ESG it can be difficult to distinguish the good from the greenwashed. Sustainability requirements for brands have led to greenwashing – sometimes making it extremely challenging for buyers to know how to differentiate what is a truly a more sustainable product or service.

The good news is that when one purchases from companies that are third-party certified as being sustainable, then much of the work has been done for you. But which certifications should you be seeking when making a purchasing decision? We recently wrote about ecolabels that we trust and how to find the most appropriate one for the product you are seeking. When it comes to certifying a company however, there is one that stands out: B Corp. B Corp Certification requires a company to work towards and achieve the highest standards of social and environmental responsibility. They measure across five impact areas: governance, workers, community, environment, and customers. In addition to completing a detailed Impact Assessment, companies are required to adopt the B Corp legal framework into their governing documents and sign the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence. You can find out more about certification process here.

Looking for the B makes is good for buyers because:

  • It’s been tested by a third party; you can be confident the supplier is demonstrating leadership.
  • The criteria are progressive; and they get updated to ensure continuous improvement.
  • The qualifications are rigorous; a company must be committed to achieve a B Corp certification
  • Is it enduring; recertification is required every 3 years
  • The certification is holistic; it analyzes an entire company, not just the product or service.


When it comes to best value, B Corps meet all the criteria and set the standard for how businesses can and should be run. It gives buyers that stamp of approval to ensure the highest sustainability standards are met. There are currently almost 5000 Certified B Corporations in more than 70 countries and in over 150 industries. During your procurement activities, look out for companies that have made the commitment to getting certified. These businesses have gone through their due diligence, and it will make it that much easier for buyers to check off the social and environmental requirements.

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.


Read the Latest and Greatest Sustainable Procurement Trends and Success Stories from the CCSP

CCSP releases its 12th State of the Nation Report on Sustainable Public Procurement in Canada

Have you been wondering how to get started on sustainable procurement in your institution – or feeling disconnected from what others are working on? Take a look at the Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement’s 2021 Annual Report on the State of Sustainable Procurement in Canada.

Download from here.

Drawing on the hard work and success stories of the CCSP’s network of 40 member institutions from coast to coast, this report highlights sustainable public procurement best practices, emerging and evolving supply chain trends, and real developments and stories from Canadian public sector organizations.

In the face of supply chain chaos, climate change, and increasingly prevalent human rights violations, CCSP members have invaluable access to a community of practice with a common goal of aligning their sustainability values with their purchasing practices – this report shares what they’ve been up to in 2021!

What’s in this years’ report?

Discover how the CCSP defines sustainable procurement through recognizing environmental, social, Indigenous, and ethical pillars. If you’re looking for guidance on the building blocks of a program, check out our Best Practice Framework for High-performing Programs (pg. 11).

Read on to see what else you can find in the report.

  • 2021 Trends in Sustainable Procurement – We featured a fresh take on ten hot topics in sustainable purchasing across the country. Things like the burning call to action in the face of climate change, sustainability for food services, and expanding EDI through the rise of JEDI.


  • Member Benchmarking and Program Developments – Wondering how our members become sustainable procurement champions? Head to this section to see the ever-popular Moon Chart Ratings for each member and their main developments across the 10 Program Elements.


  • Member Success Stories  – This is where you can see CCSP members in action. From the City of Calgary and City Vancouver activating on social procurement, to Indigenous hiring at the City of Winnipeg’s Millennium Library, to electric bikes and busses in the District of Saanich and City of Brampton. These folks are ‘doing the doing’ in sustainable procurement.


  • 2021 CCSP Operations – A brand-new section to the CCSP Annual Report, providing a snapshot of network activities, charting elements like our time investment across services, Peer Exchange speakers and topics, and the geographic distribution of our members across Canada.


Despite the setbacks our world has faced in the last two years, we’re honored to have witnessed our members strides in sustainable procurement, and to share them through this year’s Annual Report.

Please navigate to our ABOUT CCSP page to download the full report, and contact Amanda Chouinard, Program Manager, if you’re interested in learning more about the community.

Supply Chain Chaos: Is Sustainable Procurement a Solution?

Over the last two years, the flaws in our global supply chain have become increasingly and painfully obvious. Vulnerabilities in the complicated web of imports and exports have become glaring in the wake of extreme climatic events, political instability, and trade wars. We’ve witnessed huge shipping delays as a result of in-shoring and insourcing, relying on suppliers located in climatically or COVID-19 affected regions, labour shortages, and operational inefficiencies at ports worldwide.

Amidst this chaos, it could just be the right time for leaders in procurement and supply chain to act cohesively. What we’re seeing is an opportunity to reimagine sourcing and supply ecosystems to make them less susceptible to disruptions. The convergence between supply chain and procurement functions is an essential part of solving the global crisis facing our world today. Tighter integration to more sustainable procurement efforts helps support supply chain functions when disruptions happen. It can mitigate overall risk by allowing enterprises to gain a better understanding of potential disruptions in advance, and ensure that procurement practices are aligned with the supply chains’ specific requirements.

It’s important to recognize the fundamental differences between procurement and supply chain management. Procurement emphasizes the input process, the purchasing and acquiring of the goods and services needed to run your business operations. Supply chain management focuses on output and delivery, encompassing how the supplies from procurement processes are transformed into finished products and delivered to end-users.

Despite their key differences, supply chain management and procurement both offer massive opportunities for corporations to embed sustainability and inclusion into their business models – a transformation that is a priority at corporate executive tables. Supply chains have finally got C-suite attention, and are being recognized as a critical driver for growth. The pandemic has forced companies to shift their focus towards creative and innovative solutions, restructuring their business models to ensure maximal resiliency, continuity, and flexibility.

In order for companies to adapt properly to changing signals in demand, they need to collaborate with their suppliers on demand planning and forecasting, capacity planning, orders, and quality management. We believe that folks really are beginning to strategically leverage procurement and as a tool to mitigate supply chain disruptions, identifying and implementing alternative sourcing strategies for essential products and critical services.

An exciting year ahead for CCSP

The Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement kicked-off its 13th year of operations at its first Peer Exchange webinar of the year on February 10th. Returning members, new members, and guests from across the country convened to share stories, plan for the year ahead and welcome our new CCSP Program Manager, Amanda Chouinard.  Amanda has been a member of the Reeve Consulting team for a few years and is taking her passion for sustainable procurement to new heights in leading the CCSP.



The CCSP was happy to bring together our network of organizations spanning the entire public sector from all levels of government, universities, and crown corporations. Program Director, Tim Reeve, reiterated the CCSP’s vision for sustainable procurement which is firmly rooted within four pillars of sustainability: environmental, social, Indigenous, and ethical. We also heard about the importance of not only building out the 10 elements of a good program, but also not letting procurements go by without actively integrating sustainability criteria.


We were proud to hear from CCSP members sharing both their 2021 successes and goals for 2022. City of Ottawa boasted both financial savings and significant GHG reductions through the purchase and installation of electric boiler systems. City of Calgary has started seeing the positive impact of their Public Value Through Procurement Policy and Benefit Driven Procurement Strategy. While Thompson Rivers University showed us the community and environmental value of purchasing local tables made from salvaged wood. The City of Winnipeg also spoke to their recently approved Sustainable Procurement Framework, and the City’s plans to refine a 3-year Action Plan for improving social and Indigenous procurement. These stories were just a sneak preview of the 2021 Annual State of the Nation Report (coming soon in March 2022).


Looking ahead, members provided input to the CCSP team on what they’d like to see covered during this year’s Peer Exchanges. Members highlighted interest in topics such as:

  • Matchmaking Increasing Indigenous procurement
  • Addressing circularity and GHG’s through RFx
  • Developing KPI’s and other tools like supplier sustainability assessments
  • Incorporating sustainability into commodities like construction, food services, and IT


The CCSP team discussed potential areas of growth for the program, based on the results of the ‘Future of CCSP’ survey. We look forward to continuing this conversation with members as the year progresses.


We also welcomed the 2022 Steering Committee members, a team of inspired leaders ready to provide strategic guidance to the CCSP team throughout the year:

Darren Tompkins, Manager of Purchasing, City of Kelowna

Corinne Evason, Contracts Supervisor, Materials Management, City of Winnipeg

Matt Sutherland, Procurement Leader in Supply Management, City of Calgary

Shelly Morrison, Senior Director, Financial Services and Strategic Procurement, UBC

Erin MacDonald, Senior Procurement Consultant, Finance and ICT, Halifax Regional District

Find out more:

Click here to learn more about joining the Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement, or email for more information. Members gain access to a network of almost 40 institutions across Canada, and to a regularly updated Resource Library with tools and valuable materials for learning to champion and implement sustainable procurement.

We Are Hiring


Reeve Consulting is growing and we’re looking for a new full-time Project Consultant based in Vancouver to assist with sustainable supply chain work.

Since 2004, Reeve Consulting has worked with clients in the public and private sector to identify their sustainability priorities and activate social and environmental opportunities in their supply chains.  We are a small firm that works with big clients. We are known as thought-leaders that help clients find simple solutions to complex sustainability challenges, for our high-quality work, our attention to detail, and outstanding management of projects.

We’re inviting a highly motivated individual to join our team; someone who’s passionate about helping organizations advance the circular economy and the United Nation’s SDGs by harnessing the power of their procurement activities. We require someone with outstanding communication skills, strong attention to detail, with 2-3 years experience working on sustainability and/or procurement projects; preferably in a consulting role. Working with the company President and other Project Managers, the Sustainable Procurement Consultant supports key client work and marketing tasks for the firm.

We are offering ongoing regular employment based on a 4 day/32-hour work week. We don’t typically work Fridays at Reeve if we can avoid it. Candidates should have their own current laptops equipped with MS Office and a mobile phone.


  • Start Date: As soon as available
  • Hours: Regular salaried employee @ 4 days/week (32h/week/M-T)
  • Duration: Permanent, F/T
  • Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Supervisor: Tim Reeve, President and Company Founder
  • Pay: Based on experience and qualifications
  • Closing Date: February 14th, 2022

Sustainable Procurement Consultant Duties and Responsibilities

  • Creating client deliverables such as policies, tools, action plans, reports, presentations, etc.
  • Delivering client projects on time and on budget, including developing work plans, tracking project expenses, and providing progress updates to key stakeholders.
  • Supporting project meetings, note-taking, and coordinating project follow-up
  • Drafting, editing, and report production, including large document formatting.
  • Preparing and delivering workplans with other consultants, team members, and
  • Preparing and facilitating workshops and presentations in-person and on Zoom.
  • Researching sustainable supply chain trends, best practices, and related issues.
  • Organizing thought-leader interviews, note-taking, and summarizing research findings.
  • Leveraging communication skills to develop strong relationships with clients and partners.
  • Supporting marketing, proposal writing and developing new opportunities to grow the firm. 

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • 3 years’ experience working in sustainable procurement, corporate ESG, or supply chain.
  • Post-secondary degree in sustainability, business, and/or related disciplines.
  • Highly knowledgeable about sustainability, responsible sourcing, and circular economy principles.
  • Basic knowledge of procurement processes within private and public sector organizations.
  • Extremely organized and capable of managing multiple projects, deadlines, and relationships.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills with full English fluency.
  • Experience developing training materials, online course content, and/or webinar facilitation
  • Excellent research and analytical skills.
  • Basic document formatting skills and ability to produce great looking reports, tables,
  • Outstanding judgement and proven trustworthiness.
  • Creative and curious, with a collaborative attitude and problem-solving working style.
  • Independent worker and thinker.
  • Proven skills with MS Office and other business software tools, including Zoom, Dropbox, CRM, and project management tools.

Desired Skills and Experience

  • Direct experience working as a consultant within a firm or independently.
  • Experience with facilitation, presenting, and public speaking.
  • Talented in developing and managing relationships with potential clients and partners.
  • Strong diplomacy and ability to facilitate decision-making and consensus within groups.
  • Well-practiced analytical, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving
  • Ability to master and teach new software applications.
  • Marketing experience and ability to use digital platforms and social media to promote projects (e.g., LinkedIn, MailChimp, WordPress).
  • Deep networks within the BC, Canadian, or broader sustainability communities.
  • Ability to work in French.


This position offers a great opportunity to make a significant contribution to the inner workings of a small consultancy and offers potential for career growth. It will expose the successful candidate to in-depth work on a wide variety of projects and with a wide variety of clients.

Reeve Consulting knows that diverse teams are strong teams. We welcome people from all identities, backgrounds, and experiences. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply, although Canadians and Permanent Residents will be given priority. Only those selected for an interview will be contacted. No phone inquiries please.

How to Apply

If you are interested in this opportunity, send your resume with a covering letter to with “Application: Sustainable Procurement Consultant” in the subject line by February 14th, 2022. Applications received in any other form will not be considered.

Decoding Supplier Diversity

The Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement wrapped up 2021 on December 9th, hosting a final peer exchange focused on the work from their Supplier Diversity Working Group. Supplier diversity can be defined as the stratification of efforts in two key areas:

  1. Increasing in the diversity of the firms you do business, with a focus here on equity-seeking and equity-deserving groups.
  2. Working with suppliers’ whose workforce is diverse.

The working group really lived up to their name this last year, having developed some key tools for defining and operationalizing supplier diversity. Rosalie Peevers, Senior Procurement Advisor in Supplier Diversity at CBC Radio Canada, and Lisa Myres, Senior Project Manager in Procurement Services at the University of Toronto, shared their stories of how their organizations got started and are trending with increasing their supplier diversity.

Photo by <a href="">Tim Mossholder</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a>

Folks reading this may be first wondering what constitutes a diverse supplier? These suppliers are categorized as organizations that are at least 51% owned, managed, or controlled by persons belonging to an equity group or social purpose enterprise. Increasing your engagement with these types of suppliers may seem challenging at first glance, but with the right tools it’s achievable. The working group produced a set of tools; a supplier diversity certification council profile, and a Supplier Diversity Training Presentation slide deck, serving as deliverables for CCSP members to use freely in implementing supplier diversity at their organizations.

Sustainable procurement and supplier diversity work spans scaled spending levels, from low value p-card purchasing, to tenders and RFP’s, to large-scale capital projects. This span of spending levels creates many opportunities for improving your supplier diversity. Action items can include inviting at least a single diverse supplier to your RFP’s, focusing in on low-spend sole source as an area of interest in contracting a diverse supplier, increasing visibility to diverse suppliers, or simply better explaining corporate procurement processes and through direct engagement. Supplier diversity still a novel topic in Canada, and even the smallest strides in this area are impactful.

Supplier diversity is a business strategy, not a program. It is evolving from a social responsibility to a strategic enabler. The market is being flooded with new and innovative products from diverse suppliers, and folks working in procurement have the power to vouch for their growth and engagement with buyers. Employee satisfaction, brand value, flexibility through supply chain, fostering innovation and lower cost are all concrete benefits from strengthening your organizations’ supplier diversity. The intention behind buying also becomes clear when diverse suppliers are considered and involved, highlighting the nature of the engagement as a relationship  rather than a transaction.

Rosalie and Lisa advised those in procurement to really connect with their community of diverse suppliers and take the initiative to understand the variety of options and the stages those businesses are at. They stressed the importance of documenting your efforts, synthesizing the data in a way that’s productive to your organization. The ability to quantify the percentage of diverse suppliers your organization is engaging with, or at least your status on supplier diversity, is how you can communicate to corporate leaders the importance of the cause.

Fostering Vibrancy in our Communities’ Through Social Procurement

By creating economic opportunities for equity-seeking and target populations, social procurement is a key mechanism in reducing poverty and fostering inclusivity. It promotes and/or mandates more purchasing from suppliers that offer social value. It’s as simple as leveraging social value from existing purchasing practices to enhance inclusivity, vibrancy, and the overall health of communities. One little known fact is that social procurement fits neatly inside many other social impact related goals, e.g. poverty reduction strategies, diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies. Rather than something extra to achieve, social procurement is a tool to help better achieve existing goals.

The Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (CCSP) hosted a Social Procurement Virtual Peer Exchange to over 85 members midway through November. Kim Buksa, the Sustainable and Ethical Procurement Manager at the City of Vancouver, and Matthew David, the Manager of Capital Projects and Projects for Transportation Services at the City of Toronto provided a wealth of expertise on the topic for all who attended. They discussed practical steps and tips for finding social procurement opportunities in organizational spend, matchmaking, and explored the benefits of a Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (JEDI) lens.

No matter the price, social value is always there.  

The following best practices are some practical avenues to understanding and implementing social procurement:

  1. Matchmaking: Break down the ‘what’ and the ‘from who’ of the supplier engagement process in procurement. For each individual procurement or service, consider finding several diverse supplier options, such as locally owned, Indigenous, or social enterprise. Think about drawing out a social value outcome on that procurement.                                                                                                                                                                      f
  2. You don’t have to do it all: Set realistic goals and identify gaps in existing social procurement to use as focus areas. Locate partner businesses that meet more than one need.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       f
  3. For the people, by the people: Elevate the weightings for key demographics your organization would like to engage with as suppliers. Call out social enterprise, Indigenous organizations, or temp agencies within union environments. Many of these are available through non-profits that have employment spaces.


Aligning the diversity of your supply chain with the diversity of your community is the cornerstone of fostering more social procurement and creating best value for folks and businesses alike. The social pillar of procurement works alongside the environmental, indigenous, and ethical elements as a tool to improve community investment. This value and impact is multiplied as social enterprises’ increasing involvement in contracts drives the market for diverse suppliers.

Letting go over financial concerns around initial spend and focusing primarily on best value or total costs of ownership can be a challenge. To address this, the paradigm around social procurement must shift towards creating a market with endless options for diverse suppliers, contractors, and apprentice organizations. Purchasers,

The transformative mechanism of social procurement on traditional buying and selling has massive potential to change local and national economies, and build community capital. The CCSP network provides a wealth of connections to members to collaborate and engage in discussion around topics such as this one, as well as attend Peer Exchange Webinars and hear from industry experts. If you’re interested in learning more, join the CCSP today and become equipped to create meaningful impact in your organization and community.

Buy Sustainably With Confidence: Understanding Eco-Labels

Ecolabels are meant to ease the process of purchasing more sustainable products by providing a certification that buyers can recognize as meeting environmentally, ethically, or socially responsible criteria. The goal of ecolabels is to promote sustainable products to buyers while providing the burgeoning market for sustainable products with a sense of assurance. However not all ecolabels use the same stringent criteria, thus allowing for deviations in standards for sustainable certification and casting a seed of doubt on what ecolabels can do for you.

Eco Labels

The Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (CCSP) hosted their Ecolabels and Certifications Deep Dive Peer Exchange to an audience of over 80 members in late October. Two experts joined us from TCO Development: Clare Hobby, Director of Global Purchaser Engagement, and Stephen Fuller, Senior Criteria Manager. Our member presenter was Tori Grant, Advisor in Sustainability Reporting at the University of Calgary. These experts shared tips, outlined below, to ensure ecolabels provide the ease and assurance we want, and ways to leverage the best ecolabels to make more sustainable product choices right away.

Demand the Best from your Ecolabel:

Not all ecolabels are created equal. There are 3 types of ecolabels with different characteristics that affect their efficacy, dependability, and diligence.

Type 1 ecolabels are a third-party assessment of a product based on the environmental and social impacts of a product or material throughout its life cycle. Evaluation and selection requirements of type 1 ecolabels are available to the public.

Type 2 ecolabels are self-declared claims made by manufacturers or distributors and are not independently verified. These tend to focus on a particular quality of product e.g compostable or ‘dolphin safe’.

Type 3 ecolabels are voluntary declarations of the sustainability of a product or service.


Buyers can rely on Type 1 ecolabels to enforce strict sustainability standards and provide truly sustainable options. Buyers should beware of ecolabels that do not verify a specific quality of product, include vague claims, or that rely on the buyer’s own conclusions about the sustainability of the product.

While Type 1s are the cream of the crop, buyers should also ask two things of their ecolabels to get the most hidden impact out of their supply chains:

  1. Does this ecolabel certify environmental AND social responsibility?
  2. Does this ecolabel require mandatory independent verification?


Demanding independent verification of ecolabels is the sure-fire way to safeguard one’s supply chains against risk. Without independent verification, ecolabels cannot guarantee that a manufacturer is upholding its promise to obey sustainable criteria. Certain ecolabels will provide the option for independent verification but do not enforce it, thus allowing manufacturers to slip through a loophole.

Our Favourite Ecolabels:

We’ve created a list of recommended Type 1 ecolabels to look for when you’re next purchasing from any of these 4 categories: Information Technology, Furniture, Cleaning Products, or Paper.

Reeve Favourite Eco-Labels


Each of these ecolabels is accessible, diligent, and provides assurance on a product. Leverage these ecolabels, or your own preferred list, to start making more sustainable choices today. Consider the low-hanging fruit of low value procurement or less costly purchases; can you look for the TCO Development sticker when shopping online for a new laptop, or consider products with the Ecologo sticker when shopping for a more all-purpose cleaner for your office kitchen? Let a top tier ecolabel do the work to verify your purchasing options and make the easy switch today to pick a product that will leverage your spend.