City of Edmonton Council Unanimously Accepts Reeve Developed Sustainable Purchasing Policy

Flickr / Stella Blu

Edmonton has now joined the ranks of other progressive Canadian municipalities that attempt to eliminate sweatshop labour in their supply chain. The new Sustainable Purchasing Policy (SPP) encourages City staff and suppliers to look at ways to reduce environmental and social impact by purchasing sustainable products and services.

In consultation with City of Edmonton staff, Reeve Consulting developed a policy that provides formal direction to continue excellent efforts around “green” purchasing and now compliments this with emphasis on the social side of the equation. To assist with policy implementation, Reeve designed a complete package for the City that includes the procedures and tools to effect significant change with a focus on rewarding suppliers who demonstrate leadership.

Last year, the City spent approximately $1.5 billion on construction, products and services. Using the Reeve developed tools, the City will initially focus on incorporating sustainable purchasing practices in ten product categories. Over time, sustainable purchasing criteria will be incorporated into all product categories.

Reeve Consulting is thrilled by Council’s unanimous support of the SPP and thoroughly enjoyed working with City staff who are so energized and enthused about making Edmonton’s supply chain sustainable.

Reeve ‘Out and About’ at the Samsung 2010 Winter Games Sustainability Summit

Say “Samsung Sustainability Summit” really quickly, five times in a row.  Not so easy, is it? 

After attending the Samsung 2010 Winter Games Sustainability Summit in Vancouver last Thursday, January 28, it has been easy to talk about Samsung and sustainability in one sentence. 

Samsung, as an official sponsor to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has grown with the IOC to become a leading sustainable supply chain advocate and practitioner.  In conversation with Ron Hulse, VP of Mobile Communications and Information Technology for Samsung Electronics Canada Inc., we discovered that Samsung appears to run a tight supply chain that fosters sustainability. From using EPA Smartway Transportation, to ensuring ISO 14001 compliance in 37 global manufacturing facilities, to trendy phones made of recycled products that use solar energy to function, to this Sustainability Summit, Samsung is well on its way to stepping out as a leader in sustainable supply chain management.

The Summit was buzzing with James Balog’s ‘Extreme Ice Survey’ presentation, a ground breaking photo documentary of the impact of climate change on glaciers and oceans around the world.  Balog set the scene by clearly demonstrating that climate change is urgent and we have a serious challenge to which to rise. 

Linda Coady, VP of Sustainability for the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games highlighted how they are front runners in planning the most sustainable Games in Olympic history.  Sounds like sustainability is becoming an Olympic sport; hopefully records are broken every year.

James Tansey, President of Offsetters, was proud to say they are going to help ensure the 2010 Games are carbon neutral and that individuals will be rewarded for offsetting their carbon impacts during the Olympics.  And Tzeporah Berman, co-founder of Forest Ethics, spoke eloquently about influencing large corporations to rethink their supply chain logistics and strategies in order to help mitigate the impacts of climate change. 

Everyone’s approach to addressing climate change through supply chain management was impressive and it was inspiring to hear their stories.  Reeve Consulting looks forward to helping to make the Olympics carbon neutral by offsetting our carbon emissions during the Games!

Buy Smart Program Designed by Reeve Consulting Receives 2010 Games “Sustainability Star”

Vancouver 2010’s Buy Smart program of ethical and sustainable purchasing has been awarded one of the pretigious Sustainabilty Star designations for the 2010 Winter Games.

The Buy Smart program was originally envisioned by Tim Reeve, Terry Wright, John McLaughlin and other members of the 2010 Bid Corporation as part of Vancouver’s original bid submission to host the 2010 games.

Buy Smart is recognized as an Olympic first and complimented the Reeve designed ethical sourcing program for the 2010 Olympic Merchandising program.

With an Olympic sized shopping list and a spending budget of over $1 billion the 2010 games have the power to make a big impact in the marketplace.  Designed to leverage this spending power, Buy Smart has created opportunities for green business and technologies, social enterprises and Aboriginal entrepreneurs.  Buy Smart has played a key role in directing spending into communities that might not have otherwise benefited from the games, such as Aboriginal communities and Vancouver’s inner-city.

Buy Smart has been promoted widely within the International Olympic Committee and to future games Organizing Committee’s.  Delegations from both the London 2012 Games and the Sochi 2014 Games have been briefed about the Buy Smart program and how it can be used to leverage sustainability programming associated with the games and other major events

Reeve Consulting is proud to have worked so closely with VANOC, the 2010 Commerce Centre and other 2010 Games partners in the creation of Buy Smart and is thrilled to see it recognized as one of the key sustainability features of the 2010 games.

Purchasers Going Green

The Purchasing Management Association of Canada (PMAC) hosted two half-day Sustainable Procurement Showcases sponsored by Grand and Toy in November. Reeve Consulting was asked to participate in a panel discussion as the local expert on crafting Ethical and Sustainable Procurement (ESP) Policies and Procedures. Fellow panelists included Vicki Wakefield from UBC, Kevin Koertje from Boise Paper and Scott McDougall from TerraChoice.

In the form of a fireside chat panelists covered topics ranging from leveraging your buying power or creating buying groups to influence suppliers into offering sustainable options; the importance of looking at full life-cycle when calculating the true cost of purchasing green products; and looking beyond the recycled paper label and asking questions about source. Kevin McCarty, from Reeve Consulting, talked about the importance of considering ethical issues as well as sustainability and how Reeve works with clients to develop procurement policies and practices that not only allow them to purchase ethical and sustainable products, but reduce risk and strengthen their brand.

To view Reeve’s 10-Steps to Activating ESP Click Here or go to the PMAC website at www.pmac.ca and click on the Sustainable Procurement Showcase under Events.

Ethical & sustainable purchasing around the dinner table

What happens when you bring some of the leading policy makers and practitioners in ethical and sustainable purchasing together over dinner? Lively and informative discussion on maintaining VANOC’s Ethical and Sustainable Purchasing (ESP) momentum, the influence of larger contracts vs. smaller ones, concerns of audit fatigue, as well as the importance of supplier engagement and looking inward at your own practices were all subjects discussed in a recent congregation of Vancouver-based thought leaders.

On November 30th Reeve Consulting hosted an Ethical and Sustainable Purchasing dinner with the goal of facilitating conversation between some of Vancouver’s movers and shakers and exploring the opportunities and challenges facing the ESP movement.

The wide range of guests included:
• Kai Alderson, Fasken Martineau
• Rory Carr, RC Products
• Harvey Chan, Mountain Equipment Co-op
• Daryl Doyle, SAP
• Councilor Geoff Meggs, City of Vancouver
• Monica Netupsky, VANOC licensing
• Melorin Pouladian, Lululemon
• Denise Taschereau , Fairware
• Tim Reeve, Reeve Consulting
• Kevin McCarty, Reeve Consulting
• Amanda Mungal, Reeve Consulting

Over dinner, the desire to ensure the momentum created by VANOC is maintained post-Vancouver 2010 was discussed. Small licensees, in particular, have been able to leverage the VANOC license to encourage factory compliance and there is concern that the once the Olympics is over the influence small companies have on their supply chains will dwindle.

Common challenges raised by purchasers were both lack of buying power relative to overall factory production and audit fatigue on behalf of factory owners. Rory stated that he heard reports of one factory that had to conduct nearly one audit a week to keep up with the demands of factory compliance. Harvey suggested one possibility for addressing audit fatigue is to place more emphasis on direct engagement with suppliers and less emphasis on using a particular audit. If a factory has passed a standard audit then accepting those results while directly engaging the factory owner may bring about a more fruitful outcome. These comments lead into deep conversation on ways to share factory audit information without losing competitive edge and better ways to directly engage suppliers.

Monica and Denise both suggested that educating consumers needs to be a high priority in furthering the ESP momentum fueled by VANOC. Rory suggested that combining this with some kind of positive recognition for companies that practice ESP rather than negative recognition might help consumers make more informed choices. Often consumers are made aware of the companies they shouldn’t buy from rather than the good ones they should buy from.

Melorin and Daryl recognized the significant opportunity for large companies to move beyond “greening” their retail product by “greening” their operations. Denise agreed, stating that in her work she often finds that “green” companies have put so many resources into their retail product that they have none left for internal operations and often turn to her when they realize their promotional items are in direct contrast to their own retail product.

Also, there was a good discussion of how purchasing organizations can contribute to human rights violations by putting unreasonable demands on their suppliers. For example, when a large order is needed immediately, then it may be that employees are required to work longer days that are in violation with international labour conventions. It was agreed that it is important for purchasing organizations to recognize their influence on factory labour conditions in order to help their suppliers comply with international labour standards.

The dinner wound down with everyone feeling energized and more connected. The Reeve Team really enjoyed hearing what our industry colleagues had to say and looks forward to another opportunity to continue these discussions.

Sustainable Fashion?

As Vancouver Fashion Week winds down today, one might ask oneself what impact fashion might have on the environment and working conditions around the world? What, if any, positive impact would sustainable choices in fashion make to the environment? For the fashionably conscious switching from haute couture to baggy hemp garments doesn’t really seem like a choice. Is baggy hemp the only choice?

Vancouver Fashion Week brought some answers to these question last Friday at their Eco Fashion Show in the Colin Campbell building. Thanks to Paige Donner from Greening Hollywood Reeve Consutling’s Amanda Mungal had the opportunity to attend the show and was quite impressed with the work of our local designers. Not only were the clothes completely wearable and fashionable, each designer considered the environment and working conditions in their choice of textiles.

After the show Amanda met up with Paige to discuss what makes fashion eco-friendly? The most immediate answer was textiles; what is the environmental impact of their processing, what if any employment standards are adhered to in the manufacturing plants, is the resource being used sustainable? But like most things the answer is a bit more complicated.

Bamboo has of late been the hot new trend in sustainable textiles but questions have been raised in regards to its carbon footprint as well as the amount of water and chemicals used during the processing. The proponents of bamboo have argued that at least they are taking steps in the right direction, which is true. All change and innovation has a growth period during which shortfalls will need to be addressed.

Another option is 100% organic cotton. Organic cotton is currently produced in 24 countries around the globe its production is growing at a rate of 50% a year. The switch to organic cotton is important not just for the sake of feeling earth friendly but consider this: regular cotton takes up 2.4% of the worlds cultivated land mass but makes up for 16% of the use of insecticides. Imagine the impact that a large-scale move to organic cotton would have on the planet. Cotton can be grown all over the world, reducing its carbon footprint and with Fair Trade practices in place it would be a financially viable crop that supported local economies. Organic cotton is still significantly more expensive than regular cotton, but as more people get on board production will rise to meet demand and prices will come down.

Possibly the most environmentally friendly ‘R’ and the most overlooked is Re-use. Our consumer society has not embraced this notion to its fullest as we are encouraged to regularly buy the newest item that is better for the environment. Some designers have embraced the concept of Re-using by creating new items out of previously used fabrics. Planet Claire is an example of a local designer who manages to employ the concept of Re-use by selling and/or incorporating vintage clothing, using earth friendly fabrics, including seaweed and employing socially responsible labour practices.

So to answer the question can fashion be sustainable, does it matter and could making sustainable choices have an impact? Most definitely! Furthermore, as discovered at Vancouver’s Eco Fashion Show it can be cutting edge and stylish as well.

Sustainable Purchasing: a tool for tackling waste reduction

From October 19th to the 25th Canadians are being challenged to reduce their waste. 

Since 2001, Waste Reduction Week (WRW) has been organized by a coalition of provincial and territorial recycling and waste reduction associations to inform, engage and empower Canadians to reduce, reuse and recycle their waste.  The program targets schools, local governments, businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals and provides educational resources to help Canadians reduce waste in all facets of daily living.

At Reeve Consulting we stand behind the three R’s of waste management (i.e. reduce, reuse and recycle) and see sustainable purchasing as a powerful tool to reduce potential waste at the source.  More and more governments, businesses and institutions are developing sustainable purchasing programs that aim to reduce the amount of waste they are generating.  There are many simple, yet effective, strategies to managing waste at the source.  Some examples include the following:

  • Work with your suppliers to reduce the amount of packaging they use.
  • Develop take-back programs that allow you to return products and/or packaging to your suppliers for reuse and/or recycling.
  • Rent or lease products that are only needed in the short-term so that they can be returned and reused.
  • Specify when buying new products that you require them to be made of recycled materials, where possible.
  • Embed clauses in your service contracts to ensure your service providers also strive to reduce waste.

Waste Reduction Week is an excellent time to start to assess how you can leverage your purchasing power to reduce the amount of waste your organization produces.  Contact Reeve Consulting to learn more about how your organization can build a sustainable purchasing program that will help to reduce waste at the source. 

Visit www.wrwcanada.com for more information on Waste Reduction Week 2009.

Reeve Consulting and the English Bay Nature Club join together for the TD Shoreline Clean-up

This is a favourite time of year for us in English Bay – so we wanted to invite you to a special event on Friday, September 25th in the afternoon for the TD Shoreline Clean-up and evening party with food and drink.

The English Bay Nature Club, formed by my daughter Olivia as an outgrowth of her desire to “help nature”, is in its second year. Last year we kicked off the years activities with a shoreline clean-up followed by a festive social gathering. Fun was had by all and the goal of “helping nature” was achieved so we are gearing up for a repeat performance.

Part One – TD Shoreline Clean-up
We (Olivia, me and the gang at my firm Reeve Consulting) are inviting any interested parents, kids and friends to join with us in participating in the TD Shoreline Clean-up on September 25th starting at 4:00 pm at the Granville Island lagoons. This is a cool event where on the same day folks all across Canada pick-up litter along shorelines. Our group is being led jointly by Olivia and some of her Grade 2 chums from L’Ecole Bilingue along with the team from Reeve Consulting. Our goal is to leave the lagoons and shoreline around Granville Island pristine for all to enjoy.

Part Two – Nature Club Festivities
Around 6 pm we’ll be heading indoors and Reeve Consulting will be hosting a casual reception with further drinks, food and festivities. The location is being finalized at a nearby location on Granville Island.

Both Olivia and I would be thrilled if you joined us. It’s been ages since we have seen many of you – and others of you we are just getting to know. We’re taking care of all the details in terms of gear and coordination for the clean-up, as well as food and drinks for the after-party. You just need to come!

Come for Part One if you’re keen (we’ll send you a map of where to meet and details on the clean-up) – but definitely come for Part Two if you’re free for part of the evening. All we need to know is if you’re planning on coming. Please RSVP for the Clean-up, the festivities or both by September 21, 2009 by calling my colleague Amanda at 778-989-1545 or emailing Amanda@reeveconsulting.com

Reeve ‘Out and About:’ Reeve Consulting Visits Sustainable Coffee Plantation in Nicaragua

Selva Negra (Black Forest) Coffee is grown at 4,000 feet above sea level in the highlands of Northern Nicaragua. The estate has been producing fine Arabica coffee for over 100 years, with the tradition of shaded coffee which helps preserve the estate as virgin forest. At the farm they also operate a sustainable tourism venture that includes a resort, restaurant, coffee tour and grow vegetables and flowers for on-site consumption and commercial sale. In June, Kevin of Reeve Consulting visited Selva Negra to learn more about sustainable coffee and tourism.

Selva Negra is a privately owned farm that is not Fair Trade certified, since it is not a cooperatively owned and operated organization and is therefore not eligible for this certification. However, it does respect Fair Trade standards as well the Rainforest Alliance and Smithsonian Institute sustainable coffee standards. Their coffee currently holds the Rainforest Alliance “Eco-OK” label and, although not certified as “Bird Friendly,” the coffee plantations do fall into the ‘rustic’ and ‘traditional polyculture’ bird friendly shade gradient, the most bird friendly coffee plantation categories.

Quality social conditions are an important component in Selva Negra’s sustainability standards. The entire operation employs 400 individuals year-round and during the harvest season this number almost doubles with migrant workers. The quality of life of all the workers at Selva Negra appears to be quite comfortable and above average of many coffee estates. The employee’s benefits include:

• Housing
• Schooling
• On-site medical clinic
• Sponsored baseball teams and social events
• Skills training and conferences
• On-site convenience store

Selva Negra has been awarded the “Semper Virens” (Always Green) recognition in the International Ecological Summit in October 1995, and is a member of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. They are also working with the Rainforest Alliance to meet sustainable tourism standards which address both environmental and social conditions.

Selva Negra currently sells their award winning coffee across North America and can be found in select Whole Foods grocery stores. Visit www.selvanegra.com to learn more.

The Responsible Purchasing Network Releases their Annual Report: Responsible Purchasing Trends 2009

The Responsible Purchasing Network (RPN) recently published their annual Responsible Purchasing Trends 2009 report. This report summarizes socially responsible and environmentally sustainable purchasing practices and trends in 2008.

The RPN’s membership of 211 procurement and sustainability professionals was surveyed and 135 responded. Respondents included government agencies, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, religious congregations and corporations. Ninety-five percent of the respondents were from the United States and the remaining five percent were from Canada, Italy, Mexico and Spain.

It is interesting to note that the RPN’s membership more than doubled in 2008, and as result, responsible purchasing is on the rise! From January 2008 to January 2009 their membership grew from 97 to 211 members. Of the $53 billion dollars that is collectively spent annually by the 135 respondents, it is estimated that $4 – 10 billion of this was spent on socially and environmentally preferable goods and services in 2008.

Key Findings of the Responsible Purchasing Trends 2009 Report

The key findings of this survey are summarized in the Executive Summary of this report as follows:

Responsible Purchasing Policy & Criteria
Two out of three respondents have a responsible purchasing policy and two thirds of the rest say they expect to adopt one. Social and environmental concerns (e.g. energy efficiency, recycled content) are considered by many to be nearly as important as conventional procurement considerations such as cost, quality and supply.

Responsible Purchasing in Practice
The majority of respondents say they “actually consider” social and environmental criteria in most of their purchasing. Sustainability standards and certifications (e.g. eco-labels) are widely recognized and used. Many respondents report actually considering social or environmental issues even when they do not have a policy that specifically requires it.

New Members Bring Great Potential
While all but 11 respondents to the 2008 survey already had a formal or informal responsible purchasing policy, 43 of the 2009 respondents reported lacking such a policy – though 28 of those plan to adopt one. This show there is great potential to shift far more spending in a responsible direction.

Measuring & Reporting Impact
Respondents report minimal use of calculators that measure social, environmental or cost benefits related to their responsible purchasing. Similarly, fewer than one in four claim to publish an annual report summarizing their responsible purchasing activities.

Forecasting Future Trends & Opportunities
Nearly all respondents expect to do more responsible purchasing in the next two years. Factors they claim would increase their responsible purchasing include: more competitive pricing and better selection of responsible goods and services, and more training and education in responsible purchasing.

How Does this Compare to our Trend Research?

Reeve Consulting continuously conducts best practices and trends research related to responsible purchasing. The key findings of the RPN Responsible Purchasing Trends 2009 report are very similar to what we are identifying in our research. We agree that responsible purchasing is a rapidly growing trend and has moved to the forefront for many organizations as a strategy to help improve operational efficiency and reduce environmental impacts.

As stated in the RPN report, sustainability standards and certifications (e.g. eco-labels) are widely recognized and used. We have found that many organizations are using eco-logos to overcome the common challenge of identifying “green” products and services. This has lead to a boom in the development of eco-labels across North America, which is presenting a new layer of complexity. With the rapid influx of eco-labels in the marketplace, many purchasers are finding it difficult to sort through them all and identify the more trustworthy labels.

We have also discovered there is significant demand for more training and education in relation to responsible purchasing. Many purchasers would like a formal, accredited training program they could turn to in order to gain the knowledge they need to advance responsible purchasing within their organizations.

The RPN trends report is an important contribution to the field of responsible purchasing and Reeve looks forward to seeing how these trends advance overtime. By identifying and monitoring trends we can better understand how to support and advance responsible purchasing. For example, we see Reeve playing an important role in helping to meet the current demand that exists for training and education across North America.

Download this report:
www.ResponsiblePurchasing.org