New Report on Trends & Best Practices in Sustainable Public Procurement in Canada 

Manitoba Jobs and Economy Minister, Kevin Chief, at the announcement of Mother Earth Recycling’s mattress recycling program in Partnership with IKEA. Mike Deal, Winnipeg Free Press. 

 

A network of nineteen leading public sector organizations has just released a report on their progress towards aligning their spending with their values and commitments on sustainability. “Sustainable procurement has reached a turning point in its relevance as a strategic tool to drive sustainability in the public sector,” says Tim Reeve, Managing Director of the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (MCSP). “We are seeing a vibrant national conversation around sustainable procurement as a core strategy for the public sector to take action on climate change, poverty reduction, and building healthy communities.” Established in 2010, the MCSP supports Canadian public-sector institutions to work together to set and achieve sustainable purchasing goals.

 

The report highlights the country’s biggest sustainable procurement trends, showcases the popular ‘moon chart’, which benchmarks members against each other, and offers member updates and success stories around social and aboriginal procurement, green infrastructure, innovative training and communication initiatives, the circular economy, and more.

 

According to the report, there are some significant trends to watch. The Government of Canada and several provincial governments are creating an enabling environment for social purchasing and the use of community benefit agreements to provide employment and skills training opportunities for Canadians with barriers to employment. There are a growing number of hubs and networks supporting a standardized approach to sustainable and social procurement at a regional level. In 2018, the Coastal Communities Initiative launched on Vancouver Island to support social procurement through education, training and coaching. Finally, increasing awareness on the negative impacts of plastic waste has driven new commitments this year in government and industry, with new regulatory initiatives and industry-wide collaborations to consider investment in sustainable plastic alternatives and zero-waste strategies.

 

Members are enriching their sustainable procurement programs and applying sustainability to new procurement categories. They are developing innovative partnerships with certification organizations and academic researchers to design new approaches and engage supplier communities. In August 2018, Simon Fraser University became the first university in Canada to become an Aboriginal Procurement Champion, a special designation by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB). The university is now working to embed a clause on Aboriginal procurement into the university’s overall procurement policy. Mary Aylesworth, SFU’s Director of Financial Operations, is excited to see SFU take action on reconciliation by supporting Indigenous entrepreneurship and economic development. She says, “I want to see this grow, so that all public sector organizations think about how they can work with Aboriginal businesses before going out to the general market.”

 

On the environmental side, the Province of BC took a leap forward in supporting the transition to clean technology vehicles by making it more accessible for BC’s public sector to invest in charging infrastructure. It’s a big deal for action on climate change, as each electric vehicle on the road in BC displaces four tonnes of CO2 annually. The BC Procurement Services Branch collaborated with the BC Climate Action Secretariat to release a supply arrangement to purchase Electric Vehicle Charging Stations. The full service arrangement allows client departments to solicit bids from a pool of pre-qualified suppliers, including regional distributors and electricians.

 

The report highlights other innovative member initiatives—the University of Alberta’s new designation as a Fair Trade Campus, an innovative box spring recycling pilot with an Indigenous social enterprise by the City of Winnipeg, the recycling of used oil filters and containers, glycol and waste fuel at the City of Edmonton’s network of Eco Stations and an ambitious new Zero Waste Food Ware Strategy and series of plastic waste reduction initiatives by UBC’s Student Housing and Hospitality Services (SHHS).

 

Reeve is proud of member accomplishments and is excited about the growth of the network in 2019. “The MCSP fulfills a very important niche as the only known Canada-wide sustainable procurement network catering specifically to public procurement professionals,” he says. “We have a new strategic plan to chart our course to 2022 and are looking forward to supporting a diverse range of public sector organizations to gain better business and social value from sustainable procurement.”

 

Download the full report here, and please contact Tim Reeve at timreeve@reeveconsulting.com if you are interested in learning more about the MCSP.

 

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The Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (MCSP) is a member-based network of Canadian public-sector institutions working together to deliver better services and achieve better value through sustainable purchasing. Our member organizations meet virtually several times per year to share information, collaborate on tool development, and exchange lessons learned related to mitigating risks and improving social and environmental outcomes by considering sustainability in procurement.

 

 

9 ways to get the most out of your MCSP membership

MCSP provides a peer-based forum to share information, resources, technical expertise and best practices in social, environmental and ethical procurement for the public and higher education sectors. Find below how to maximize bang for your buck as a member.

 

1. Grow your network 

Figure out who’s who in sustainable procurement in Canada and have direct access to their contact information.

 

2. Benchmark your programs and track progress

Benefit from benchmarking sessions at the beginning and end of the year to help compare your program to other members’ and evaluate the effectiveness of your efforts throughout the year.

 

3. Receive customized consulting support

Have a 1-on-1 action planning session with Reeve Consulting, MCSP’s secretariat and Vancouver-based sustainability strategy consultancy specializing in social and environmental procurement programs.

 

4. Profile your learnings, successes and leadership

Highlight your organization in our Peer Exchange Webinars and year-end National Best Practices Report published in Municipal World and B2B Purchasing Magazine, as well as feature your CPO in our annual CPO Panel. Raise the profile of your programs and build a greater business case for your work. Bonus Tip: We can also help you with award submissions (e.g. the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council Leadership Award).

 

5. Offer training and professional development for your staff

Access professional development credits for purchasing staff (CDP for SCMA) and access past webinars.

 

6. Collaborate across departments

Break down siloes between sustainability, procurement, and other departments. Invite marketing, fleet management, facilities, training and development, and other relevant departments to topic-specific Peer Exchanges Webinars to start conversations and develop integrative strategies. Bonus Tip: Split the cost across procurement, sustainability, and training budgets if budgets are tight!

 

7. Invite all relevant staff

Your MCSP membership includes access for your entire organization meaning there’s no limit to how many employees can benefit from our program and resources. Take advantage and build an internal culture of best value procurement. Bonus Tip: Book a meeting room and enjoy Peer Exchange Webinars together for best results!

 

8. Leverage resources from our online resource bank

Your membership includes access to checklists, questionnaires, templates, training materials such as supplier self-assessment questionnaires, a green events checklist, how-to guides for developing and implementing strategic priorities, and more.

 

9. Get involved 

Really committed to sustainable procurement? Join our Steering Committee to set strategic directions for the program and/or one of our Working Groups to co-create tools and resources with other leaders in the MCSP network.

 

For more information contact Alyssa McDonald at alyssa@reeveconsulting.com or (514) 772-6318.

A Retrospective on the 2018 USA Special Olympics Games

It was great to see Lew Blaustein’s GreenSportsBlog post today that tells the story of our work to bring sustainability for the first time ever to a Special Olympics USA Games last July. It’s a nice prompt to share some lessons learned, now that the adrenaline rush of the Games is behind us. For this blog, I interviewed Tim Reeve to share some of his reflections.

The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games Sustainability Impact Report was released last December. It shares the sustainability vision and achievements of this incredible 11 day event that brought over a hundred thousand people to Seattle to cheer on athletes with intellectual disabilities (ID). The report showcases the thoughtful and integrated approach to sustainability that amplified the social goals of the Special Olympics as well as reduced its environmental footprint. We were particularly impressed with how the Games hardwired inclusion into its operations and procurement by providing training and work opportunities and hosting a Job Fair for athletes and others with ID.

The biggest lesson learned for the organizing team was to reach out to stakeholders early to build a relationship and enlist them in the in the Sustainability Program. According to Tim Reeve, “The Special Olympics is a natural platform for progressive brands. The trick to being successful is to build the sustainability brand into the DNA of the event early on in the process, so sponsors see the opportunities to showcase their sustainability performance.” In Tim’s experience, partners and Sponsors are looking for platforms that allow them to communicate positive messages about their brand and their social purpose. Many are willing to contribute financial and technical resources to help the Games’ Organizing Committee activate, implement, and expand their sustainability goals. At the 2018 USA Games, both Coca Cola and SourceAmerica delivered major social impact in providing employment opportunities for individuals with ID at the Games and promoting inclusive hiring through the Job Fair.

Finally, encouraging a focus on responsible sourcing by the Games’ Organizing Committee, partners and sponsors can make a huge impact on the overall sustainability of the event. “Engage vendors and suppliers as early as possible on your sustainability goals and get some firm commitments,” Tim advises. “Planning for sustainability too late in the Games’ cycle means lost opportunities with sponsors, suppliers, staff, and volunteers.”

Reeve Consulting is a sustainability strategy firm that has worked with a wide variety of organizations to design and implement sustainable procurement strategies and programs, including the Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Canada Winter Games and the recent 2018 Special Olympics USA Games. We help our clients create winning Sustainability Strategies with clear impact goals and sourcing strategy that brings on side the creative solutions and full potential of their supply chain partners.

Banning Straws Won’t Save our Planet; But Changing Attitudes Just Might

Already following the plastic straw ban in Seattle,  Washington we’ve seen Disney, Starbucks, and several other companies come forward with similar bans. And while we applaud the efforts of these companies as they continue their “journey of environmental stewardship” (in the words of Disney), we need to remind ourselves what the real problem is that we’re trying to solve.

The truth is that plastic straws are estimated to be a mere 0.03 percent of ocean plastic waste. While straws have enormous potential to cause harm to wildlife, the real concern regarding ocean waste is the huge amount of abandoned fishing debris (estimated to be 46% of all ocean waste) as well as the huge volumes of plastic bags and plastic bottles creating floating islands of debris all over the world. In reality, our consumer attitudes towards the convenience of single-use items and our misplaced belief that we can compost or recycle our way out of this eco-dystopia, is really the more substantive issue.

That’s why I was so impressed to be included in the team working on the Sustainability Program for the Special Olympics 2018 USA Games held in Seattle earlier this month. Once again, a mega-sporting event (4,000 athletes, 14,000 volunteers, nearly 100,000 spectators) demonstrated that it’s the sustainability legacy that matters just as much and probably far more, than the impact of ‘greening’ initiatives. Listen to this school teacher from Oklahoma in the associated video– her story confirms that by attending the Games, being exposed to the Sustainability Program, and being inspired by the greening activities (even straw bans) means that she’s changed her attitude. Even more significantly, she’ll be taking home these inspirations to share with school kids and others – with enormous potential impact on progression!

So, we encourage corporate groups to continue their efforts to reduce their eco-impacts and transition to a more circular form of economy. No doubt every little bit helps. But let’s remember what really matters – capturing the hearts and minds of everyone around us to make those small and big shifts that can really tilt the difference to a sustainable future.

 

Reeve helps Special Olympics Seattle 2018 set new sustainability benchmark

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On July 1, 2018 something very exciting will be happening in Seattle, and at Reeve we’re excited to be a part of it!  The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games opens, showcasing the abilities of athletes with intellectual disabilities in 14 Olympic-type team and individual sports. Reeve Consulting has been working closely with the Special Olympics USA Organizing Committee (SOUSA) to help them become the first Special Olympic Games to develop and deliver on a Sustainability Strategy.

In 2017, we created SOUSA’s Sustainability Strategy, which includes a framework of six sustainability goals that range from diverting waste to promoting education, sustainable transportation choices and accessibility. Responsible and sustainable procurement is also an important dimension of the Games’ sustainability strategy. Reeve also created six detailed action plans to support implementation of each goal. Drawing from our experience enabling the sustainability legacies of the Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, we’ll be working with SOUSA on their Sustainability Impact Report and a Legacy Playbook.  The Playbook will equip future organizers with a template and tools to plan their own sustainability programming. Funding for this Sustainability Partnership has been made possible by the generous support of Microsoft.

We’re glad to help set this new benchmark for sustainability excellence within the Special Olympics movement. We love how this event is all about a more respectful and inclusive society for everyone, and look forward to the events.  Find us in the stands cheering!

Now Available: State of Sustainable Purchasing in Canada 2017 Report

Reeve Consulting and the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (MCSP) are pleased to release our eighth annual MCSP State of the Nation Report. The report highlights MCSP achievements this year, as well as the latest trends and current sustainable purchasing (SP) experience of Canadian municipalities, educational institutions and an airport authority.

MCSP is a member-based network of Canadian public-sector institutions working together to deliver better services and achieve better value through sustainable purchasing. Our member organizations meet virtually several times per year to share information, collaborate on tool development, and exchange lessons learned related to mitigating risks and improving social and environmental outcomes by considering sustainability risks in the procurement process.

Over 2017, MCSP Working Groups collaborated to create supplier engagement and monitoring and evaluation tools, while members individually advanced sustainable purchasing in their organizations. Read the report for stories on how members are making an impact by greening laboratories, reducing packaging materials, using energy more efficiently, buying sustainable swag, enhancing job security, implementing a Living Wage Policy and achieving Fair Trade Town certification.

Major Sustainable Purchasing Trends

  • Social purchasing is gaining ground to complement environmental purchasing as more public organizations are considering how their procurement can positively impact the social wellbeing of their communities
  • Organizations are striving to align and integrate SP from corporate strategy to SP policies and tools
  • Organizations are investing in training and communication towards building cultures of embedding sustainability thinking into purchasing decisions for all staff, as the default way to buy
  • Organizations are using certification systems and developing partnerships with universities, social enterprises and other organizations to achieve SP impact
  • More organizations are creating dedicated Sustainable Purchasing roles to realize their SP goals

Download the full report here, and contact us if you are interested in learning how you can join the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (MCSP).

New UN Report Showcases Sustainable Public Procurement Practices Around the Globe

Version 2The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recently released the 2017 Global Review of Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP), which provides and in-depth look at how governments and public institutions around the world are improving the sustainability of their supply chains and procurement practices.

Building on the first Global Review, published in 2013, this report draws on research conducted in 2015 and 2016 to present a comprehensive picture of global progress in advancing SPP and to elucidate the opportunities, needs, challenges, and innovations in SPP in the last five years.

The 2017 Global Review is unique in its breadth of coverage on SPP, incorporating thoughts, opinions, and data from more than 200 stakeholders across 41 countries. The report found that, although there continue to be significant challenges, awareness and implementation of SPP principles continues to grow around the world. Countries are working toward implementing SPP mainly through capacity-building activities for staff and stakeholders, and through integrating SPP principles and practices into existing procurement and management-related processes, procedures, and tools.

The report also discusses persistent challenges related to SPP implementation, including the perception that sustainable products are more expensive and a lack of expertise on sustainable purchasing. Countries are actively working to overcome these challenges, particularly through awareness-raising and knowledge-sharing activities.

Reeve is proud to have been a part of this project, which will be a useful source of information and experience on SPP, and can contribute to greater implementation and ultimately greater impacts through sustainable procurement activities.

The 2017 Global Review was published as part of UNEP’s 10YFP Programme on Sustainable Public Procurement, a “global multi- stakeholder platform that supports the implementation of SPP around the world. The Programme builds synergies between diverse partners to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target on SPP, i.e. to promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities. The United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) leads the 10YFP SPP Programme with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) and the Korea Environmental Industry & Technology Institute (KEITI) as co-leads.”

The New MCSP Annual Report: Contributing to an evidence-based shift in perceptions about sustainable purchasing

Reeve Consulting and the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (MCSP) are pleased to release our seventh annual MCSP State of the Nation Report. As always, the report provides a comprehensive and up-to-date discussion of the latest trends, best practices, examples and case studies in sustainable purchasing at Canadian municipalities, and now, for the first time in 2016, the MCSP welcomed educational institutions, that are also profiled in the report.

The 2016 annual report has a specific focus on recounting members’ experiences in developing their sustainable purchasing programs and carrying out sustainable purchasing work. We continue to hear from our members and others that the best way to get decision-makers on board with sustainable purchasing philosophies is to demonstrate the value that sustainable purchasing can have in working toward myriad strategic priorities and concrete examples. As a result, we have profiled dozens of case studies and examples from our members, alongside an in-depth discussion of trends, challenges, and what’s to come in the year ahead.

Download the full report here, or learn more.

Happy reading!

 

lululemon’s Sustainable Purchasing Journey

lululemon’s 2016 work on improving the sustainability of their supply chain was recently profiled in the purchasing publication, Purchasing B2B. Reeve worked with the Vancouver-based fitness and lifestyle apparel company to deepen the integration of sustainability into their operational purchasing procedures, and to create tools to help buyers accomplish this.

lulu

Responsible Supply Chain features prominently on lululemon’s sustainability page

Julie Strilesky, Sustainability Operations Manager for lululemon, reported to Purchasing B2B that since making the changes, “nearly a dozen projects will have sustainable criteria incorporated into the products and services being purchased.”

The changes lululemon has incorporated into operational procurement have empowered purchasing team members to capitalize on sustainability opportunities, and have increased collaboration between the sustainability and procurement teams. Their journey so far has already imparted several key lessons, including the importance of engaging early in the procurement process, to ensure that sustainability can be adequately integrated, as well as how vital it is to build relationships with decision-makers across the organization to gain buy-in and traction.

Most importantly, lululemon recognizes that sustainable purchasing is a journey, and they are looking forward to many impactful successes to come.

Colliers Project Leaders Sustainability Impact Report: a new wave of sustainability reporting

Colliers Project Leaders, the project management branch of parent-company Colliers International, recently released their Sustainability Impact Report, which introduces a bold way of thinking about corporate sustainability reporting that goes beyond a traditional exclusive focus on internal operations.

When it came to producing a sustainability report, Colliers Project Leaders elected to take a step back and evaluate exactly where their material (that is, significant or important) sustainability impacts reside. Although they knew they wanted to track their internal paper use, the greenhouse gas footprint of their own offices, and other impacts of their operations, they realized that this would omit two important spheres of sustainability influence in which they operate.

Colliers Project Leaders’ main innovation is to acknowledge that they share responsibility for the ultimate sustainability impacts of their projects.

A materiality assessment they conducted revealed that, in terms of the importance to both their stakeholders and to their company, they had to take a good look not only at the company’s sustainability impacts in terms of their operations, but also sustainability as it relates to both their people, and the projects that they manage (see below). Thus, they reported upon sustainability in three categories: “Our Operations,” including governance, environmental footprint, and community contributions, “Our People,” including safety, health, wellness, and opportunities for professional development and volunteerism, and “Our Projects,” including client satisfaction, sustainability in their processes, community and user impacts, and ultimately advocacy for the future of sustainable building.

CPL materiality

Colliers Project Leaders’ main innovation is to acknowledge that they share responsibility for the ultimate sustainability impacts of their projects. As a project management firm that manages hundreds of large capital projects each year, Colliers Project Leaders recognizes that they are in the position to help their clients see the benefits of working in line with circular economy principles throughout the process, from design and procurement, to execution, and of ensuring that community members and end-users are appropriately consulted so that projects are carried out to benefit stakeholders to the maximum extent.

Although Colliers Project Leaders does not have all of the data or all of the answers just yet, they have committed to advocating for an environmentally and socially regenerative economy through the building projects they manage – and we think that sets them up for leadership and success.