3 Reasons Why Refurbished Technology Could Be the Answer for You

Is your company in the market to upgrade your technology products? According to Free Geek Portland, over 70% of overall toxic waste in America is from e-waste (1). E-waste is a term used to describe electronics at the end of its useful life and are discarded or given to a recycler (2). With an increase of organizations operating fully or partially remote, it is important to source technology products responsibly and ensure said products are refurbished or recycled properly at the end of their useful life.

Our society is becoming increasingly dependent on technology, and the number of electronic products that are purchased brand-new and hit the landfill in short order is troubling. There is a significant opportunity to counteract this negative phenomenon by purchasing refurbished technology. It can be an excellent choice if you are looking to do good for our planet and to save some money. At Reeve, we’re walking the talk! Despite our tech purchases being relatively low value, we believe that no impact is too small to make a difference. Whether it be a laptop, a monitor, or a keyboard and mouse set, we have been purchasing from Free Geek for the last two years, a non-profit organization that refurbishes unwanted technology to reduce environmental impact from e-waste.

So, could refurbished technology be the answer for you and your company? Here are some of the reasons why we believe so.

  1. Buying refurbished saves money

You or your company might not have a big budget for technology products and that’s okay! Technology can be expensive, especially if you have a few items to purchase for your staff. Purchasing refurbished technology can save you a few hundred dollars per piece. When purchasing from trusted suppliers, refurbished products are often inspected and repaired by the original manufacturer or a qualified third party to ensure that it’s functional.


  1. E-Waste is harmful to the environment and society

We already know that waste is a large issue in our society and are always reminded to reduce and reuse before recycling. End of life electronics are no different; in fact, e-waste has a large list of chemicals that are harmful to our environment if they are not discarded properly. Often, e-waste is sent from a high-income country to a low-income country where there are little to no regulations, or regulations are poorly enforced. Along with e-waste being harmful to our environment, it is highly toxic to humans as well. According to the World Health Organization, many women and children from developing countries work in the informal e-waste sector and exposure to high levels of contaminants can lead to irreversible health problems such as cancer and neurological damage(3).


  1. Buying refurbished minimizes emissions

When opting for a refurbished product, you are minimizing the amount of carbon emissions from the entire life cycle of the product. Products made of virgin materials have embedded carbon emissions all the way from resource extraction to manufacturing to product use and end of life, not to mention all the land, air, or sea transportation throughout the life cycle. If your business is looking for ways to minimize your carbon emissions, buying refurbished instead of brand new is a great way to do so.

It may seem troubling that our reliance on technology is becoming more significant; however, there is an opportunity to limit your impact by shopping refurbished or donating items to an organization that refurbishes technology near you. If purchasing refurbished isn’t an option, make sure you look for sustainable eco-labels such as Energy Star or EPEAT. If you don’t have a non-profit organization like Free Geek near you, Best Buy’s Refurbished Program and Facebook Marketplace is also great options. Next time you are in the market for technology products, challenge yourself to minimize your impact by considering refurbished products before buying new!


  1. Free Geek Portland (
  2. United States Environmental Protection Agency (
  3. World Health Organization (

How Increasing Our Budget Got Us Best Value Promo Tees


Are you purchasing promotional merchandise for your staff or your next event? Do you ever think about the life cycle of a product and the emissions created from cradle-to-grave before making a purchase? Read on to see how the Reeve team made their decision in purchasing the most sustainable tees for their annual beach clean-up.

Sustainability is increasingly becoming more of a standard for our day to day lives. Customers are demanding that corporations do better. Rather than looking for the lowest price item, consumers are willing to pay more to purchase items with the best value, whether that be repurposed or sustainably sourced materials or avoiding fast fashion and unethical labor practices. With the state of our environment, it has become evident that corporations and individuals need to do their part to ensure our planet is healthy and sustainable for generations to come.

How we decided on a sustainable option for Reeve merchandise

Recently, the Reeve Team was on the market for promotional t-shirts to host our annual beach clean-up with It’s Your Time. With sustainability constantly on top of our minds, it was our priority to ensure the tees met our 4 pillars of sustainable procurement; qualities such as supporting ethical labor, sustainably sourced cotton, and supporting local businesses were important to us. After doing some initial research online, it was clear that the lowest price shirts would be travelling thousands of miles, made with toxins harmful for the planet and workers, and put together by children working 16+ hours a day. With Reeve supporting clients daily to achieve their own sustainable procurement goals, these features were not something we could put ourselves behind.

This was when we reached out to our friend Denise Taschereau, co-founder of Fairware, for advice on sustainable promotional merchandise that was still cost-friendly for a small business. At Reeve, we have a limited budget for marketing and promotional products, but it was important to make sure the product was aligned with our values. We could have purchased similar products for half the price, but with the exciting features of these tees mentioned below, we stuck to our decision to purchase the most sustainable (and extremely comfy) tees.

3 reasons why we chose eco-friendly products

After learning about the risks and opportunities involved with purchasing eco-friendly promotional products, Denise’s team pointed us to their Tentree products.

“Made with 100% Fairtrade certified, 100% organic cotton and Cradle to Cradle Certified® at the gold level, these tees are some of the best, highest quality tees we could have sourced” – Denise Taschereau, Fairware co-founder.

1. Climate Friendly

Not only is Tentree a a B-Corp and Climate Neutral Certified company but we were also highly impressed with their Climate Action Plan. Their Action Plan includes important aspects such as reducing their carbon emissions, offsetting emissions that are created through projects outside their value chain, and of course measuring their emissions to ensure progress.

2. Ethical Manufacturing and Sourcing

Through their production process, Tentree has focused on reducing water and the use of hazardous chemicals. They have also committed to using only sustainable materials in their products such as organic cotton, recycled polyester and hemp, which have a much lower environmental impact than traditional materials. Like Reeve’s recommendations for suppliers to post factory locations publicly, we were impressed with Tentree’s transparency about the manufacturers and suppliers they choose to work with. It is important to us that they ensure manufacturers are complying with their Code of Conduct and International Labor Standards.

3. Local support

Along with all the fancy features, Tentree and Fairware are local to Vancouver, which means that they don’t need to travel thousands of miles to get to us. In fact, we were able to pick up and transport the tees via bicycle panniers to Reeve’s office in Gastown, Vancouver within 20 minutes.


No purchase is too small to make a difference. We need to do better to create a green economy marketplace that reflects the true social and environmental cost of manufacturing the product. Low prices will typically have a negative impact, such as unethical or child labor, and emission intensive manufacturing. When deciding on promotional merchandise to represent your brand, this is not the time to miss out on the opportunity to purchase sustainably. Next time, think about the neat features your products can have to ensure they are aligned with your company’s sustainability goals and values.

The Race to Zero: Procurement for Low-carbon Construction

The CCSP settled in for its November Peer Exchange in anticipation of the upcoming infrastructure planning busy season. Read on to learn about new Federal government procurement standards for low-carbon construction and validation from EllisDon that the market is ready to provide solutions.

Construction and infrastructure development contribute significantly to the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with 13% of global annual emissions coming solely from the embodied carbon of cement, steel, and aluminum, which are just a few of the many materials used to construct buildings and other infrastructure (1).

In Canada, we use about 25 million tonnes of cement, steel, and aluminum each year resulting in nearly 28 million tonnes of GHG emissions (making up half of all electricity generated emissions) – the public sector alone is responsible for 8 million of those tonnes, roughly equal to the pollution caused by 2 million gas cars (1). Additionally, when looking at any individual organization, construction and maintenance is consistently the largest single source of GHG emissions compared to other purchasing categories, ranging from 38% – 56% of total supply chain emissions (2).

All public infrastructure spending in Canada totaled a sizable $62.5 billion in 2018 (1). Though, Federal purchasing makes up only 4% of this, so the largest influence sits with provinces, municipalities, education, and Crown corporations (1). While demand for construction materials is projected to rise, the public sector has major purchasing power to drive demand for low-carbon products on the market to reduce the associated rise of GHG emissions.

The CCSP’s November Peer Exchange, focussed on this topic of procurement strategies for low-carbon construction, where members heard from Ryley Picken, Policy Analyst from the Centre for Greening Government at the Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada and supporting industry representative Jolene McLaughlin, Director of Corporate Sustainability at EllisDon Corporation.

Federal Standard on Embodied Carbon in Construction

The Federal Government is already activating on this, under its Greening Government Strategy, which includes targets to achieve 40% reduction of real property and conventional fleet emissions by 2025, and overall net zero emissions by 2050.

Commitments specifically related to Real Property include:

  1. By 2022, disclosing the amount of embodied carbon in the structural materials of major construction projects.
  2. By 2025, conducting whole building (or asset) life cycle assessments for major buildings and infrastructure projects.
  3. Starting in 2025, reducing the embodied carbon in the structural materials of major construction projects by 30%.

The strong focus on structural materials is because they are the largest contributor to the embodied carbon footprint of a building. For example, approximately 50% of an office tower’s emissions are concrete, 42% steel and metals, then 2% glass, and 6% other.

To meet the first commitment listed above, the Federal Government has released a new Standard on Embodied Carbon in Construction with specification requirements to be included in construction contracts that:

For Design Services

  • Must disclose embodied footprint of structural material (e.g. concrete) used on a project
  • Must reduce embodied carbon footprint of concrete on the project by at least 10% (compared to the Regional Benchmark)
  • Must review construction services compliance with the above requirements

For Construction Services

  • Must disclose the embodied carbon of materials used on the project
  • Must provide evidence (Environmental Product Declarations (EDP’s)) to support the carbon footprint of materials used on the project

Public sector organizations at all levels are encouraged to adopt these specifications in their own procurement and can look for additional guidance and reporting template resources to be available in the coming months.

An Industry Perspective

EllisDon Corporation, a leading construction services provider in this sector, and supporting partner of this session, shared how they are addressing low-carbon solutions in their projects and insights on what is available in the market.

EllisDon started by completing an inventory of their corporate emissions, including both direct and indirect sources, to identify how they can best clean up their own practices while supporting broader industry advancement. They found that 96% of the emissions came from their supply chain, including building materials and building operations. Based on this, they identified the greatest impact would be to work with their clients and other industry stakeholders like designers, engineers, and sub-contractors. With an aim of becoming net zero by 2050, EllisDon has committed to a Science-based Target (SBT), which offers third-party verification and accountability.

Jolene went on to discuss strategies for lowering carbon in construction projects, like using recycled and lower-carbon materials, pursuing material efficiency, and using performance-based design standards. With particular focus on key structural materials:

  • Mass Timber. Wood is inherently a lower carbon option because it requires fewer emissions to produce and can sequester (i.e. store) carbon. Responsible forest management is a key consideration if using this material.
  • Concrete. Emissions can be reduced through efficient material use and replacing cement content with Portland Limestone Cement (PLC) and Supplementary Cementitious Materials (SCM).
  • Steel. Emissions from steel come from deeper in the supply chain at the production stage, which can be more difficult to influence from the buyer’s perspective. Current strategies include using recycled steel content and switching to electric arc furnaces.


Based on its experience, EllisDon’s key tips for buying institutions to lower the emissions of construction and infrastructure projects include:

  • Ensure strategies for lowering emissions are discussed very early in the project phase; and work collaboratively with project stakeholders, especially structural engineers and designers.
  • Evaluate carbon reductions along with cost and schedule impacts to ensure project needs are met.
  • Provide a clear whole building embodied carbon performance-based target. At least 10%, though 20% is consistently achievable, while 40% is aspirational.
  • Request Product Specific EPDs as part of bid documents, which provide information about the embodied carbon of the material. Most products have industry benchmark data available for comparison.

Low-Carbon Concrete Solutions

Both speakers placed great emphasis on concrete as a material that has significant risk and opportunity for lowering emissions. Recommendations for getting market-ready low-carbon concrete solutions included:

  • Design for material efficiency to reduce the overall volume of concrete needed
  • Reduce the Portland Cement content in concrete
    • Replace with Portland Limestone Cement (PLC)
    • Partially replace with Supplementary Cementitious Materials (SCMs)
    • Use real-time monitoring during the curing process
  • Use recycled aggregates
  • Utilization of storage of sequestered carbon in concrete

EllisDon has seen projects achieving 20% emissions reduction from concrete alone, with no cost or schedule impacts; demonstrating a clear call to action that carbon reductions must be considered at the front end of a project.

Overall, there is clear direction setting and validation from both the Federal government and industry that low-carbon construction solutions do exist, and that public sector organizations at all levels hold great potential to take this even further through their purchasing practices.


  1. Clean Energy Canada, Money Talks (
  2. West Coast Climate Forum (




Bridging the Gap – Strategies for Increasing Indigenous Procurement

Ready to get serious about Indigenous procurement? The CCSP’s recent Peer Exchange explored several procurement measures the public sector can use to increase engagement and spend with Indigenous suppliers.

“If all levels of government in Canada were to procure five percent of their current $224 billion spend from Indigenous businesses, this would equate to an $11 billion influx to the Indigenous economy.”

This quote from JP Gladu, former CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB), demonstrates exactly why many organizations are now looking to their procurement activities in advancing reconciliation with and actively supporting the economic vibrancy of Indigenous peoples.

In honour of the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, the CCSP convened a session in September on Indigenous procurement. The event hosted one of the largest audiences at a Peer Exchange ever, indicating a strong desire from the public sector to learn and enact meaningful change in their institutions.

The CCSP definition of Indigenous procurement references Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #92, which calls for recognition of the rights of Indigenous peoples within corporate operations. In public procurement, this translates to adopting policies and practices that promote contracting with Indigenous businesses, employing and training Indigenous peoples, and otherwise engaging them in public spending.

If you’re just getting started with Indigenous procurement, keep these key practices in mind:

  1. Establish Policy and Procedures to demonstrate your organization’s commitment to Indigenous procurement, providing internal mandate and direction to staff.
  2. Engage with the Indigenous supplier community to find out what they are supplying and consider hosting information sessions to increase their capacity to respond to bids.
  3. Identify High Impact Procurement Opportunities (HIPO’s) to find commodity categories that fit with what Indigenous suppliers are providing and then follow through with bid opportunities.

The Peer Exchange featured two speakers; Edward Claringbold, Senior Procurement Advisor at the Government of Yukon and Philip Ducharme, VP of Entrepreneurship and Procurement at CCAB to dig deeper into these concepts.

Yukon First Nations Procurement

With 14 First Nations and about 26% of Yukon’s population being Indigenous, The Government of Yukon felt a responsibility to leverage its procurement activities to better serve this population and engaged them in a process to create a First Nations Procurement Policy. Edward reflected on their progress thus far and gave an overview of seven of the measures they use for increasing Yukon First Nations (YFN) participation:

  1. Bid Value Reductions. A BVR is a mathematical way to re-rank bids to increase the competitiveness of YFN submissions. The dollar value of the bid gets reduced based on the level of YFN involvement (ranging from YFN business ownership, location, and labour levels).
  2. Labour Levels. Allocating points (upwards of 20%) to bids that include hiring of new employees that are YFN peoples.
  3. Set Asides. Invitational procurements that are only open to YFN businesses (must be approved by the Deputy Minister).
  4. Direct Award and Invitational Tenders. Procurement staff check the YFN Business Registry for qualified businesses for Direct Award opportunities, while Invitational Tenders require at least one YFN business be invited to compete.
  5. Project Unbundling. Breaking one large project down into smaller bid opportunities better suited for small and medium sized YFN businesses.
  6. Capital Spending Plans. Meeting annually with YFN governments to review upcoming capital projects in their territories so they can plan and prepare for upcoming bid postings.
  7. Community Contract Forecast. Providing a list of all anticipated contracts each fiscal year within specific communities to YFN governments, businesses and people so they can effectively plan for upcoming local projects.

Not mentioned in the presentation, the YFN Procurement Policy also details measures around Workforce Development Initiatives and Community Development Agreements. Yukon has also established a Monitor and Review Committee (MCR) to assess the progress of the Policy in achieving its objectives and publicly releases an Annual Report.

Indigenous Perspectives from CCAB

Philip continued the discussion by sharing information about one of CCAB’s flagship programs, Supply Change, which helps connect buyers with Indigenous suppliers, and discussed the Federal landscape of Indigenous procurement and business capacity.

Supply Change is a program grounded on five pillars:

  1. Recruiting leaders from the business community to serve as Aboriginal Procurement Champions,
  2. Conducting a national Aboriginal Procurement Media Campaign,
  3. Creating Canada’s largest directory of Certified Aboriginal Businesses (CAB),
  4. Operating the Aboriginal Procurement Marketplace; an on-line portal between CAB companies and the Aboriginal Procurement Champions group, and
  5. Facilitating peer to peer sharing of Indigenous procurement best practices.


Philip went on to share support for the recent announcement of the new Federal Procurement Strategy for Indigenous Business (PSIB) which sets a government-wide mandatory target that at least 5% of the value of Federal contracts go toward Indigenous procurement. Other stand-out points from the PSIB included mandatory set-asides, opportunities for Indigenous sub-contractors, an improved reporting framework, and mandatory training for the Federal procurement community.

CCAB also conducted a study to better understand Indigenous capacity to meet demand in federal supply chains and found that Indigenous businesses have the capacity to supply 24.2% of the goods and services purchased by the Federal Government annually. Close to 50% of Indigenous businesses are urban businesses; meaning most public sector organizations should be able to find Indigenous suppliers to meet at least a small percentage of their supply chain needs!

A large barrier for Indigenous participation in procurement is the complex and high-effort RFP process. Philip recommends unbundling and simplifying the bid process for opportunities where Indigenous businesses are anticipated to respond, while also scaling the amount of effort needed to respond to higher vs lower value opportunities.

Philip reiterated the most important aspect of Indigenous procurement is relationship building – getting to know local Indigenous communities and businesses helps to build mutual trust and develop better understanding of procurement processes.

The CCSP encourages everyone to take these learnings back to your organizations and get in contact with Edward or Philip to learn more.

#1 Recommended Next Step: Find local Indigenous businesses and invite them to bid on opportunities that match their capacity and offering.




What Role does Procurement Have in a Zero Waste Future?

Imagine a future where our purchases strengthen the economy, foster social benefit, and create zero waste. The concept of procurement as a driver towards a circular world was top of mind for us as we attended the 2022 National Zero Waste Conference, hosted by the Metro Vancouver Zero Waste Council. We were inspired by many of the speakers and panelists forging a path towards circularity through a common language of describing waste as a resource. We learned about innovative efforts to close the loop by re-integrating waste back into the manufacturing of new products or by giving products a second life. Below are three of our key takeaways from the conference, and our reflections on how sustainable procurement is enabling a zero-waste future.



1. Reimagining waste as a resource through innovation

There is unlimited potential for our every-day products to be transformed and kept in circulation in the economy as useful items. Felix Bock, the founder of ChopValue, took this seriously and built a multi-million-dollar Vancouver-based business out of simply collecting used chopsticks and manufacturing them into beautiful artwork, games, office furniture and kitchen accessories. Deriving tangible value from a material that otherwise would have ended up in a landfill contributes to the circular economy, as well as allowing collaboration and integration between businesses as a source of common innovation.


2. Battery Recycling as a Solution to Controversy around EVs

Many folks feel conflicted about procuring EVs for their corporate or municipal fleets due to the difficult of recycling and safely disposing of the battery systems in the vehicles at end-of-life. Sumreen Rattan, the co-founder and COO of Moment Energy, share how their Vancouver-based company is providing a solution by repurposing retired electric vehicle batteries. Innovative services like Moment Energy exist in the global marketplace to support change-making in the automotive industry, to provide a second life to EV batteries.


3. Supporting local suppliers

More often than not, you need look no further than down the street to find a supplier that can meet and exceed your needs. Procuring local contributes not only to your city’s economic development but fosters innovation in the local marketplace IF sustainable considerations are a key aspect of the procurement. Adam Corneil is the CEO of Unbuilders, a Vancouver-based building de-construction company that dismantles buildings step-by-step so every material possible can be reused. He spoke to the untapped potential of building demolition and deconstruction practices in achieving our zero waste targets. In Metro Vancouver alone, construction-related waste accounts for over 30% of the regions’ waste.


The Metro Vancouver 2022 Zero Waste Conference showed the variety and wealth of circular innovation happening right here in Canada. As we often tell our clients, it now falls to us as organizations and businesses to ensure our procurement power is used to advance a circular economy.

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.