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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’ segments 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 specific 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.

Getting Dialed into Sustainable IT Procurement

Would you like to know how procuring sustainable IT can actually help you achieve best value for your spend? Read on to find out why sustainable considerations can be the best options for your budget!

The IT space is fraught with ethical and environmental sustainability considerations, including but not limited to e-waste, worker safety, and energy and resource usage. With many issues to consider, procuring sustainable IT can seem like a daunting challenge. Buyers want the best value for their spend, while retaining quality, longevity of their devices, and efficiency.

While it may seem counterintuitive, including sustainable considerations into the procurement process can in fact help buyers achieve best value for their money and increase the lifespan of their electronics, while avoiding significant risks in their supply chain.

The Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement hosted their Trends and Tenders in Sustainable IT Peer Exchange to an audience of 100 members in late September. Two experts, Frances Edmonds, Head of Sustainable Impact at HP, and Terminder Singh, Contracts Officer at the City of Winnipeg shared their top considerations for sustainable IT procurement. We’ve collated their advice into the following 3 steps.

1. Identify your Opportunities:

Staying abreast of the opportunities and risks in your supply chain is a tried-and-true CCSP best practice element. At CCSP we call it a High Impact Procurement Opportunities list, or HIPO list. Conducting a self-assessment of your current procurement processes and products will enlighten you to potentially unforeseen and underutilized opportunities. You may be able to achieve greater value for your spend by taking advantage of sustainable opportunities such as lower device energy usage, reparability, and higher quality materials that will not only have good sustainable impact, but also ensure a high-preforming product.

Through a series of 15 pilots, Canada HP and Green Economy Canada created a free Self-Assessment Tool to help public sector organizations identify and implement sustainable procurement practices. It includes categories on hardware and supplies such as paper, ink and toner, energy usage, and ecolabels.

Find the Self-Assessment Tool Here.

2. Ask the Best of your Supplier:

While suppliers are the ones implementing and creating more sustainable standards for IT, buyers are the enforcers of effective and timely sustainable impact. Including questions and awarding points for supplier transparency in addition to product specific requirements is a sure way to ensure you’re receiving the most sustainable options, and that your suppliers are actively seeking new ways to provide better quality sustainable products. Some questions to ask your supplier include:

  1. Does the company disclose their carbon footprint to CDP under “Climate” disclosure? If so, what is the score?
  2. Does the company disclose to Forests, Water, and Supply Chain CDP disclosures? If so, what are the scores?
  3. Does the company have set science-based targets through the Science Based Targets Initiative?

3. Buy your Product as a Service:

Perhaps the most important trend today in sustainable IT is the movement to buy the Product as a Service (PaaS). Suppliers such as HP are restructuring how they manufacture and sell to support the circular economy by increasing the longevity of their devices, reducing weight and packaging, including reparability as part of the product’s initial cost, and much more. PaaS ensures that you get best value for you spend by increasing the lifespan of devices, introducing higher quality materials, reducing energy consumption, and more. Certain specifications to consider if you’re interested in asking for PaaS from your supplier include:

  1. Does the product include recycled content?
  2. Does the supplier offer device reparability and/or take-back programs?
  3. Does the device comply with EPEAT standards?
  4. Can the supplier offer a calculation of the carbon footprint of the device over its service life?
  5. Does the supplier offer sustainability support, to help you reduce your organization’s impact?

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As buyers there is a lot we can do to contribute to a circular economy and increase our sustainable impact, whilst still obtaining high-preforming IT products for a good price. Armed with the knowledge that many suppliers are moving towards a more sustainable production model, be confident that your sustainable specifications and questions are not demanding too much. With demand comes great supply!

The ‘How-To’ Guide You Always Knew You Needed

Are you passionate about fighting climate change, reducing waste, and improving the lives of your community members? Read the CCSP’s Sustainable Procurement Guide to find out what your role is in creating a greener, more ethically and socially responsible community with procurement.

 

Sustainable Procurement Guide

Cities across Canada are launching new commitments to fight climate change and build thriving, inclusive communities. Procurement is an emerging leverage point to meet those goals by integrating sustainability into city purchasing. Local government and public sector leaders are aware of the potential of sustainable procurement but aren’t sure where to get started. The Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (CCSP) has released the ‘Sustainable Procurement Guide for Local Government and Public Sector Leaders’ to engage community members, city councillors, and sustainable procurement champions in discussions of the role they can play. It can be used as a starting point to get the conversation underway in your city to enact sustainable procurement programs, remove confusion, and help integrate existing sustainability initiatives.

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About the Guide:

The purpose of this guide is to enable government officials and community champions to not only better understand what sustainable procurement is, but also to drive sustainable procurement pilot projects and programs in their city. The guide was created by CCSP, a member network of Canadian public sector institutions who commit to aligning organizational spend with sustainable values. Through a partnership with the UBC Scholars program, CCSP curated the shared experiences of their members’ journeys for getting started on sustainable procurement at their institutions. The guide outlines key sustainable procurement terms to help you integrate language into your day-to-day conversations, definitions for the 4 pillars of sustainable procurement to elucidate the importance of each, a best practice framework that takes the guesswork out of getting started and more. The guide also debunks the most common myths that sow doubt into the power of sustainable procurement.

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Sustainable Procurement MythBusters:

“Sustainable goods and services are more expensive.”

Purchasing sustainable products or services now generally costs the same as buying traditional or less environmentally preferable products. When higher upfront costs exist, often overall benefits of sustainable products or services will create a valuable investment.

“Sustainable options are either not available or not as effective.”

The market for sustainable products has exploded in the last decade. Some product categories have a significant number of sustainable options, increasing the likelihood of receiving competitive bids if sustainable attributes are required.

“Implementing sustainable procurement will take too much time.”

Initially, sustainable purchasing does require some time investment to develop a policy framework, integrate sustainability into procurement processes, and to train staff, but tools are available to help integrate sustainability into all types of procurement practices.

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Join the Movement

There’s more where that came from! The Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (CCSP) is a member-based network of Canadian public-sector institutions working together to align their spending with their values and commitments on sustainability. Our members meet virtually to network, share information, and co-create tools to better address green, social and ethical opportunities and risks in their supply chain. At 40 members strong, our network provides support and opportunities for collaboration across the nation. There’s no need to go this route alone; reach out to CCSP for support in getting started on your sustainable procurement journey. We all get started somewhere!

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Download the Guide Here

Join Our Team as a Sustainable Procurement Consultant!

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.

 

Role Summary

  • Start Date: September 2021
  • Hours: Ongoing regular salaried role @ 4 days/week (32h/week)
  • Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Supervisor: Tim Reeve, President and Company Founder
  • Pay: Based on experience and qualifications

 

We’re inviting a highly motivated individual to join our team; someone 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 workweek. We don’t typically work Friday’s at Reeve if we can avoid it. Candidates should have their own current laptops equipped with MS Office and a mobile phone.

 

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 tasks.
  • Drafting, editing and report production, including large document formatting.
  • Preparing and delivering workplans with other consultants, team members, and associates.
  • 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

  • 2-3 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.
  • Excellent research and analytical skills.
  • Basic document formatting skills and ability to produce great looking reports, tables, etc.
  • Outstanding judgement and proven trustworthiness.
  • Creative, 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 skills.
  • 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

Send a cover letter and resume to info@reeveconsulting.com with “Application: Sustainable Procurement Consultant” in the subject line by August 19th, 2021 at 5 pm.

Trade Agreement Scrabble – achieving a triple word score!

Trade Agreements afford lots of room for social outcomes; they’re not as daunting as they seem!

 

Public sector institutions are increasingly pursuing social and indigenous procurement opportunities that improve the lives of disadvantaged individuals and communities. Like the dreaded ‘X’ in a hand of Scrabble, Procurement professionals often point to trade agreements as a barrier to pursuing social and indigenous outcomes.  While there are some trade agreement no-no’s, there is plenty of room for triple bottom line results.

Public sector organizations such as municipalities and academic institutions must follow trade agreements which establish rules ensuring fair and open access to government contracts for all suppliers. While they do add increased requirements, trade agreements are based on principles such as no obstacles and non-discrimination, which everyone would agree are necessary to fair procurement. They have financial thresholds above which certain rules apply, such as following a competitive bidding process, posting bids publicly, and including evaluation criteria and weighting.

For procurement professionals wanting to take sustainable procurement to the next level, it’s important to understand what is and isn’t allowed.

 

Trade Agreements and their Thresholds

Canada has hundreds of trade agreements in effect. We will discuss two that are particularly relevant for social and indigenous procurement strategies:

  • New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA) which applies to BC, AB, SK, and MB
  • Canada Free Trade Agreement (CFTA)

 

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The Exception or the Rule

The good news is that trade agreements provide exceptions to the rules that enable institutions to achieve broader social policy objectives.  There are at least two exceptions that provide room for the supplier diversity component of social procurement:

      1. Procurements from philanthropic institutions, non-profit organizations, or persons with disabilities.
      2. Measures adopted or maintained “relating to Aboriginal peoples”.

So, what does this mean in practice? Below the thresholds (identified in the table above) the trade agreement rules do not apply; contracts can be set aside for social enterprises and indigenous businesses indiscriminately though to ensure value for money, buyers should still follow sound contract management practices. Above trade agreement thresholds, you need to be more nuanced.

When contracting above a threshold, you can’t restrict competition but you can seek positive social outcomes from all bidders. Nor can you give preference to local goods, services or businesses but you can require bidders to provide community benefits such as subcontracting to social enterprises or hiring people with barriers to employment.

And for Indigenous businesses and social enterprises, exceptions can apply; contracts can be set aside for social enterprises and Indigenous businesses.

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Put it into Practice

Manitoba Housing owns and manages thousands of housing units that experience high turnover, necessitating a steady stream of repairs. This type of steady, recurring work is ideal for social enterprises. Manitoba Housing uses the exception for non-profit organizations to set aside over $1M annually in maintenance and repair work and contracts directly with five different social enterprises. Full report here.

Trade Agreements are often cited as barriers to social procurement, but they’re not. There are one or two no-no’s but there is lots of room for action.  As a procurement professional, you can set aside contracts for social enterprises and indigenous businesses below and above thresholds; and you can include community benefit requirements that all suppliers must meet. It’s time to play your hand and achieve your triple-word score: can you spell ‘xylophone’?

CPO’s Talk Sustainable Procurement Value and Common Myths

Would you like to know what Canadian CPO’s think about the value of sustainable procurement? Interested in the truth about costly myths for moving forward with impactful programs? Read on to find out!

 

The Annual CCSP CPO Panel Peer Exchange was held on June 10th to an audience of over 80 individuals from organizations across Canada. Each year the CCSP is privileged to have Canadian leadership join us for an hour-long webinar to get an annual outlook on the status of Canadian sustainable procurement in the public sector and how CPOs are framing the value of sustainable procurement.

Our expert panelists this year were Karen Jensen, Director of Corporate Procurement at BCLC, Alexander Ralph, Chief Procurement Officer and Director of Supply Chain Management at the City of Vancouver, and Stefane Belleau, Executive and Head of Supply Chain, Strategic Sourcing and Procurement at CBC Radio Canada. And just in case you missed it, we’ve summarized the entire discussion into a quick 3-minute read!

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How does your CFO value sustainable procurement?

For organizations that have been developing their sustainable procurement programs for some time, purchasing sustainably is about seizing opportunities as much as addressing potential risks in their supply chains. Our CPO Panelists all agreed that the value behind sustainable procurement doesn’t just come from the money saved, but the value added through long-term return on investment. Alex Ralph pointed out that while purchasing sustainably is the morally correct thing to do, research* has shown that every dollar invested into sustainable procurements is stretched and multiplied. Other reasons CFOs are backing sustainable procurement include:

      1. The opportunity to work internally with other departments with similar goals.
      2. Visualize broader areas of impact through a positive ripple effect.
      3. Avoid risks in the supply chain.
      4. Align spending with corporate mandate.

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“As we are trying more and more to understand priorities and see how we can resonate with our communities, we want to have those success stories of how procurement can resonate in our communities as well.”Karen Jensen

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Sustainable Procurement Myth-busters

Myth: Sustainable procurement is more costly.

In fact, panelists agreed that through total cost of ownership (including maintenance costs, end of life disposal etc.), it is possible to save money through sustainable procurement. By using TCO, the pricing evaluation is changed, and you are able to see the total cost of a product or service throughout its lifecycle. The evolution of technology has also made green products more affordable and more widely used, so products that were once prohibitively expensive are becoming more reasonable through TCO and initial cost.

Similarly, Stefane Belleau has found that many existing suppliers meet the sustainability criteria without added RFP specifications. When it was once difficult to obtain sustainable options from suppliers, now it is becoming ready-baked into services without an added cost.

Myth: Sustainable procurement increases the length of the procurement process.

In fact, including sustainable procurement specifications into the process is simply adding a few new questions into the research that is already being done at BCLC. For Karen Jensen looking at sustainable requirements doesn’t add any new steps, just new questions. The process of conducting market research, engaging suppliers, and encouraging suppliers to innovate takes the same amount of time with sustainable specifications added in.

 

Our panelists agreed on a key message; sustainable procurement is worth the effort. The ripple effect caused by strong sustainable procurement programs can create valuable ROI and meaningful outcomes for communities. And it doesn’t need to be difficult! Sustainable procurement is quickly becoming standard for procurement processes and can be less costly in the long run. There’s no excuses now; go forth and integrate sustainability into your everyday procurements.

 

*Research to support procurement has strong ROI

https://www.mhlnews.com/global-supply-chain/article/22044397/sustainable-procurement-can-lead-to-cost-savings

https://resources.ecovadis.com/whitepapers/roi-sustainability-responsible-business-practices

 

 

 

5 Factors for High-Impact Sustainable Procurement

 Are you aiming to get more meaningful change and positive social impact through your procurement? We’ve heard from over 40 organizations that these 5 success factors are key contributors to sustainable procurement that drives positive change in the supply chain.

Over the last 24 months Reeve Consulting has interviewed over 40 supply chain and sustainability representatives from governments, crown corporations and private sector organizations on the essential elements of sustainable procurement and what it takes to move beyond Policy to actual action and impact on the ground.

We’ve summarized the results of these practitioner interviews and collated the 5 success factors that are most commonly cited for creating high-impact sustainable procurement program.

 

1. Put your priorities into policy and spread the word

Utilize sustainable procurement to align organizational practices with values. The priorities identified within a sustainable procurement policy and program should cascade down and align with the priorities in your top-level sustainability plans and corporate strategies. Creating a policy defines sustainable procurement priorities and provides guidance to staff and suppliers on how sustainability will ‘show up’ within different forms of procurements.

 

2. Follow a two track program of building and doing

Policy is important; but policy alone does not drive action and it takes time to approve and begin to implement. Follow a two-track program that simultaneously works on ‘high impact procurement opportunities’ (HIPOs) while also taking the time to intentionally put in place the 10 elements of a high performing program. Do not wait for a policy to be perfected before integrating some social or environmental considerations into some of the products and services you are buying right now.

 

3. Form your fantasy sustainable procurement team

The partnership between the Procurement and Sustainability groups is especially important for the development of a high impact program, to drive more sustainability thinking into the planning and needs assessment stages of the procurement process. This powerful partnership can deliver a compelling message by communicating in internal working groups and sharing cross-developmental goals. When sustainable and procurement groups champion common values to the organization, leadership listens.

 

4. Set your staff up for success with tools and training

Deploy simple tools that can enable staff to begin to self-identify the sustainable risks and opportunities that might be relevant to their purchasing decisions. Engage a robust training  plan that encourages staff to be resourceful and facilitates discussion. Leverage early wins and repeat as required until a culture evolves that looks for opportunities.

 

5. Have a chat with your supplier over the garden wall

Working directly with suppliers is an approach to achieve impact without a formal program in place. Collaborate with vendors to address sustainability opportunities in your supply chain outside of traditional RFx processes. Consider asking suppliers if they have environmentally preferable options available, especially with more mature markets, where there is a less noticeable disparity in costs.

 

Realize your program’s full potential

Consider the benefits you could see by asking your supplier to engage with a social value business, or the increased efficiency of staff if they were trained to identify procurement opportunities and are supported by a cross-organizational working group. While policy can align your values and provide guidance when purchasing it is important to remember that policy by itself rarely gets the job done alone. Stay focused on a few program elements that will create an impact in the next six months.

 

Use the CCSP Benchmarking Framework or have your program maturity assessed by groups like Reeve Consulting to learn how to focus your efforts to higher impact quicker.

Ready, Set, Go Green your Fleet!

 

Green and alternative fuel vehicles are at the front of mind for most organizations across Canada, and with recent innovations in the sector it’s easy to get excited about fleet procurement opportunities. And it’s right on time. Transportation-related emissions make up 23% of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Light duty vehicles including passenger vehicles and trucks make up 50% of emissions; heavy duty vehicles account for 35%. Reducing fleet emissions is central to Corporate Sustainability Strategies in both the public and private sectors. Every major city in Canada includes Fleet GHG reductions in their Corporate Sustainable Plans and Purchasing has a central role to play in meeting these goals.

 

The 3 pillars of Green Fleets

1. Electrifying the Fleet – i.e. replacing vehicles with electric options and establishing an effective and accessible charging

2. Fueling the Fleet – i.e. purchasing fuel with renewable, biologically derived content (e.g., B20).

3. Optimizing the Fleet – i.e. using technology and driver behaviour to reduce emissions.

 

Participants heard from Calgary’s Jack Nott, Team Lead of Acquisitions, Fleet Services and Vancouver’s Evan Dacey, Acting Branch Manager, Fleet Strategy and Asset Management about their progress on the three pillars. They covered issues such as costs, market maturity, the business case for EV’s, RFX requirements, and provided expert opinions on questions from those in attendance.

 

How to Specify

Rather than prescribing vehicle specifications, Calgary includes performance criteria such as “reduced energy consumption is preferred” — asking vendors to state all available low emissions, alternative fuels and EV options and demonstrate how these options reduce energy use. Having information on all technologies gives Calgary flexibility to negotiate them into the contract and sends a signal to the market. When asked if this reduced the numbers of bidders, Jack said it was quite the opposite.  The number of bidders increased, and every bidder included EV chassis pricing.

 

The Business Case

The upfront capital cost of EVs is a barrier. Considering the total cost of ownership can shift the balance in favour of EVs. In a recent RFP, Calgary found that the Chevy Bolt and Tesla 3 had the lowest total cost of ownership for compact and mid-size cars, respectively based on three simple questions:

 

1. How much is it?

2. How much does it cost to maintain?

3. How much does it cost in fuel to drive it a certain distance?

 

 

Vancouver cited additional benefits that offset the cost of medium and heavy-duty trucks including:

  • Internal carbon price of $150/tonne which effectively increases a department’s operating budget.
  • Worker health benefits associated with noise reduction on the job.

 

Pilots Projects

Another challenge in electrifying the Fleet is limited supply in vehicle categories such as medium and heavy-duty trucks. So, City of Vancouver is conducting pilot projects rather than following a more conventional RFP process.

Here’s how Vancouver approached it:

1. Conducted an RFEOI to better understand the market.

2. Issued an RFA (Request for Application) and pre-qualified three vendors.

 

 

They are now working with three vendors to test 4 chassis models on 2 cube vans and 2 refuse trucks.

 

With so much information, greening fleet vehicles can seem daunting; what we learned from Jack Nott at the City of Calgary, and Evan Dacey at the City of Vancouver is that this is not the case. By asking simple questions of their suppliers, deviating from conventional methods when necessary, and encouraging flexibility from their vendors, Calgary and Vancouver are now piloting innovative technologies instead of piloting policies.

Just Released: The CCSP’s 2020 State of the Nation Report on Sustainable Public Procurement in Canada

The Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (CCSP) has just released its Annual State of the Nation Report which showcases the efforts of its 30 member institutions to align their spending with their sustainability commitments. The report highlights that despite the effects that COVID-19 has had on their supply chains and organizational budgets this national community has still managed to advance their social, ethical, Indigenous, and green procurement goals. . In a difficult year, these member institutions shifted to procurements that benefit local and global communities and hopefully inspire other public-sector institutions to join the sustainable procurement movement.

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About the State of the Nation Report

The Annual State of the Nation on Public Procurement in Canada highlights the latest sustainable procurement trends, features member success stories from across the country and includes the popular ‘moon chart’, which benchmarks CCSP members progress towards high impact programming that shows demonstratable outcomes. Information for the report was gathered through interviews with CCSP members from November 2020 to February 2021.

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Top 5 Sustainable Procurement Trends of 2020

2020 Annual Report on the State of Sustainable Public Procurement in Canada

The public sector saw a shift in priorities this year as COVID-19 affected buying-power, single-use plastics usage, work environments, and prompted discussions of Living Wage policies. Organizations like universities, cities, and crown corporations were forced to refocus their priorities towards emergency response efforts, and sustainable procurement efforts were left with reduced resources. Some trends to emerge from these circumstances include:

  1. The Return of the Disposable: Single-Use Plastics Explode
  2. Living Wage Programs Explode to Help Front-Line Workers
  3. City Councillors Mainstream Buying for Good
  4. COVID Response Efforts Turbo-Charge Buying from Local SME’s
  5. Increased IT Purchasing to Support At-Home Workers

Social and Indigenous procurement was by contrast, boosted by the Black Lives Matter movement and the Canadian pipeline and railway protests. These movements brought forth national conversations on racial inequalities, economic disparity, and reconciliation, and have led to increased attention to opportunities for inclusion in procurement.

 

Success Stories

The City of Nanaimo began their Urban Clean-Up Program in response to concerns voiced by downtown residents and businesses about the impacts that social issues were having on the urban areas of the city, such as litter and debris. The City reached out directly to the Nanaimo Region of the John Howard Society and together they hired individuals with barriers to employment, such as those who have experienced homelessness or incarceration, to clean up discarded needles and other debris. The program has been successful both for the hired participants, who are receiving a fair wage and work experience, and for the resulting cleanliness of the downtown area.

The Government of Yukon advanced reconciliation through infrastructure procurement by engaging local Indigenous groups and contracting to Indigenous workers . In Yukon, where 23% of the territory’s total population is Indigenous (2016) and 11 out of their 14 First Nations are self- governing, the Government of Yukon has long considered Indigenous peoples as key partners. The project has set new standards for acknowledging Indigenous citizens impacted by infrastructure projects in their communities.

 

The CCSP community has made great strides this year despite unfavourable circumstances and have championed sustainable procurement in Canada for another year. We encourage you to download the full report here and contact Erin Unger, Program Manager for the CCSP should you be interested in learning more about the community.