Reeve ‘Out and About:’ Reeve Consulting Arrives in Montreal for the Symposium on Responsible Purchasing

Reeve Consulting is in Montreal to participate as a speaker and subject matter expert at the 2nd Symposium on Responsible Purchasing being held April 22 & 23, 2009. The Responsible Purchasing Symposium is a multi-stakeholder conference focusing on ethical purchasing and fair labour rights, sustainable supply chain practices and corporate responsibility. The first event held in Montreal in 2007 drew 200 international representatives from civil society, labour groups, NGOs, the legal profession, academics, cooperatives and institutional representatives. Check out the conference link at: www.ciso.qc.ca/colloquePAR09/programmation_en.html


Symposium organizers have assembled a high caliber group of speakers and participants. As an example, in our car travelling in from the airport was Joseph Breham a human rights lawyer from Paris. He told us about a recent settlement with one of the world’s largest uranium mining companies that will have really positive and wide ranging impacts for local communities and employees. I’m looking forward to meeting Heather White, founder of Verite, the non-profit social auditing, training organization that has been a leading source of capacity building for ethical sourcing in the last 15 years www.verite.org


After the main conference has concluded in Montreal a few of the international guests and Reeve will be taking a mini-version of the event on the road to speak in Chicoutimi (April 27) and finally in Quebec City on April 28 & 29. Our objective on this trip is to share our knowledge of best practices in ethical and sustainable purchasing and sustainable supply chain solutions by describing our experiences with clients like Vancouver 2010, the Sustainability Purchasing Network (SPN), Coast Hotels & Resorts, and the City of Calgary.

REEVE CONSULTING JOB OPPORTUNITY: EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

Love your job, make a difference, contribute to a greener world! Reeve Consulting creates exceptional results in ethical and sustainable purchasing through helping clients enhance their brand, their profitability and their social license by working with them to strategically re-think their supply chains. Clients include businesses, government and non-profit organizations in BC and across North America.

We seek an experienced, highly organized and motivated person to provide top notch administrative assistance to the team. Key responsibilities include:

  • Scheduling meetings and booking travel for firm’s president, consultants and associates
  • Designing and formatting corporate reports, proposals, executive briefings and documents
  • Preparing and editing meeting presentations in PowerPoint or similar formats
  • Desktop publishing of corporate brochures, fact sheet and related collateral materials
  • Completing expense reports, timesheet reports, producing invoices, and managing payables
  • Administering employee benefits and payroll
  • Managing accounts with suppliers for ethical and socially responsible office supplies / services
  • Handling corporate mail / filing / project file maintenance
  • Maintenance of a corporate library in both electronic and hard-copy format
  • Conducting basic internet research and information interviewing via phone and email
  • Coordinating website / blog updates with web-hosting company
  • Preparing electronic and hard copy mail distributions and coordinating print jobs

Qualifications include:

  • At least 3 years’ experience as an Executive Assistant or 5 years of related experience
  • Highly organized and able to multi-task efficiently while maintaining attention to fine details
  • Extremely proficient in MS Office including Word, Outlook, Excel and PowerPoint
  • Exceptional technical abilities including knowledge of specialized software applications (E.g.: Alisar Charting, Adobe PDF Review, Webex/GoToMeeting, Skype, Online Calendars)
  • Excellent error-free written communication skills (familiar and formal voice)
  • Excellent verbal communication skills (knowledge of French an asset)
  • Strong familiarity with QuickBooks (bookkeeping a highly desirable asset)
  • Comfort interacting with all types of clients and stakeholders from CEOs to volunteers
  • Professional and cooperative demeanour
  • A passion for sustainability issues
  • A valid BC Drivers License

We are an innovative, exciting and growing firm, which provides a great opportunity to learn and grow. You are motivated, enthusiastic and driven to make a positive contribution. Ethics and commitment will embody your every action. If you have a track-record of delivering and are known for exceeding expectations then send your resume and a cover letter to info@reeveconsulting.com, quoting “EA Posting Application from your name” in the subject line. For more information about our firm, visit www.reeveconsulting.com

We thank all applicants, however only those selected for interviews will be contacted. Resumes without cover letters will not be given priority.

LOCOG’s Sustainable Procurement Code ofConduct: An Emerging Trend in the Olympic Games

Firms who wish to do business with the London 2012 Organizing Committee (LOCOG http://www.london-2012.co.uk/) will have to meet relatively strict performance standards as outlined in its ‘Sustainable Procurement Code of Conduct’.

Similar to Vancouver 2010’s ground breaking ‘Supplier Code of Conduct for Social and Environmental Compliance,’ LOCOG has set requirements based on the following 4 principles:

  1. Responsible sourcing
  2. Use of secondary materials
  3. Minimising embodied impacts
  4. Healthy materials

Under each of these principles, the Code lays out preferences related to sustainable product specifications. Examples include requesting that a given product hold a third party eco-certification (see http://ecolabelling.org/).

The Code will be used by internal buyers as well as prospective suppliers and licensees to guide the procurement process in a way that will help to ensure the sustainability of the 2012 Games and set precedence for future games.

The initial priority categories on which the Code will focus include:

  • branded products;
  • products sourced from overseas, and;
  • labour providers

Procurement’s approach to sustainable sourcing will be based on the following questions:

1. Where does it come from?

2. Who made it?

3. What is it made of?

4. What is it wrapped in?

5. What will happen to it after the Games?

The answers to these questions will help the organizing committee determine how it will source specific products and sources. A trend is emerging in the Olympic Games in terms of sustainable purchasing and it will be interesting to see if other Olympic organizing committees will integrate similar questions into their approach to sustainable sourcing.

Related to verification of compliance to the Code, no specific action will be required on the part of suppliers and licensees beyond reading and understanding the Code. However, once a contract has been awarded, LOCOG may use various methods to ensure practices are aligned with the requirements of the tendering process.  Methods may include using ‘Supplier Ethical Data Exchange’ (https://www.sedex.org.uk) to disclose supply chain information as well as independent audits.

Thanks in large part to the work at VANOC, sustainable procurement has become an embedded component of the Games’ overall sustainability strategy. The LOCOG Code has definitely built upon this good work. VANOC, however, requires all
of its Licensees to be audited on a regular basis. LOCOG’s approach to verification seems somewhat less stringent. Reeve
Consulting will be interested to see how this all plays out and how it will influence other Olympic organizing committees in years to come.

For more information and to review the LOCOG Code, please go to:
http://www.london2012.com/news/archive/2008-11/london-2012-publishes-sustainable-sourcing-code.php

For moreinformation and to review the VANOC Code, please go to:http://www.vancouver2010.com/dl/00/55/84/-/55842/prop=data/3o3aaq/55842.pdf

Reeve Consulting ‘Green Links’

Here are a couple of interesting links we’ve come accross in the past few weeks:

Motorola Releases Eco- Cell: A cell phone made of 100% post consumer water bottles has been certified the first carbon free phone. Motorola will also offset the amount of energy required to manufacture, ship and operate the phone. A postage paid envelope will also be included for return/recycling of the phone. It will sell for about $60 US. Check out their link for more infromation:  http://www.motorola.com/consumers/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=3bd6df420e68e110VgnVCM1000008406b00aRCRD

An interview with Chris Geiger, Manager of Green Purchasing and Integrated Pest Management from the City of San Francisco. See this website for the podcast: http://audio.aworldofpossibilities.com/audio/cohen_edwards64kb20081021.mp3

New York’s Green Purchasing Policy

http://www.greenerdesign.com/news/2008/12/15/new-york-green-purchasing

12 Step program for greening your supply chain.

http://www.2sustain.com/2008/12/20-steps-towards-sustainability.html

2012 Olympics publish sustainable procurement code.

http://www.businessgreen.com/business-green/news/2231451/london-2012-pub

Reeve Consulting ‘Out and About’: World Conference on Sport and the Environment

On March 30th Reeve Consulting attended the World Conference on Sport and Environment which is organized every two years by the International Olympic Committee and the United Nations Environment Programme. The conference is designed to encourage strong social responsibility and reduce the impacts that sports events can have on the environment, particularly the Olympics.

This year the theme of the conference was ‘Innovation and Inspiration: Harnessing the Power of Sport for Change’. Reeve would like to note a few interesting points from the delegates of the conference:

Thomas Van Dyck, Senior Vice President – Financial Consultant, Senior Consulting Group RBC Wealth Management – SRI Wealth Management Group, USA delivered a compelling opening plenary presentation speaking to the critical importance of ethical and sustainable purchasing as a market mechanism to scale up a green and sustainability oriented economy.

Ann Duffy, Corporate Sustainability Officer, Vancouver 2010, and David Stubbs, Head of Environment and Sustainable Development, London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG 2012) highlighted how purchasing is a central tenant of their overall strategies to advance zero waste, carbon neutral commitments and other sustainability priorities. Reeve worked closely with Vancouver 2010 on the development of their Buy Smart program and was happy to see this program being profiled in Ann’s presentation.

Hon. Gordon Campbell, Premier of the Province of British Columbia, was impressive as he highlighted the importance of investing in a green economy and that we need to act now on the issue of climate change. He painted an optimistic vision of how we can capitalize on investments in green technologies and infrastructure to build a stronger and more productive economy in BC and beyond. Reeve Consulting shares this vision and it’s great to hear the premier of BC showing leadership on an international platform.

The conference was a great opportunity to network with likeminded firms, organizations and individuals. A couple of our observations from the conference include:

  • sport management professionals and other major event representatives at the conference are clearly hungry for details on sustainable purchasing
  • many we spoke with were looking for more tangible examples of actual program implementation / challenges and success
  • many sessions were struggling to get started and finished on time as there was a thirst for networking and folks    were keen to continue conversations outside of the sessions
  • some question periods were quite limited, which in some cases, stifled some potentially interesting discussions
  • hopefully day two will begin really start to unpeel the implementation onion and move from discussion of plans and management systems to actual results

Reeve ‘Out and About’: The Sustainable Sport and Event Toolkit Workshop

Reeve participated this past Sunday, March 29th, in the Sustainable Sport and Event Toolkit (SSET) Workshop organized by the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games (VANOC) and the International Academy of Sport Science and Technology (AISTS) as a pre-conference activity to the 8th World Conference on Sport and the Environment in Vancouver.

As a legacy of the 2010 Games, VANOC has been working with AISTS, the International Olympic Committee and other global sport organizations to create an easy-to-use web-based toolkit designed to help sport event organizers manage their footprint. This workshop was organized to provide understanding of the toolkit’s resources and website, and listen to first-hand stories from athletes and sport organizations currently involved in testing the toolkit.

The toolkit has eight chapters that will guide the user in creating sustainable sport and event strategies.  Chapter 5 focuses on how to involve the community and engage in Ethical and Sustainable Purchasing to support sustainable sport event commitments.  An innovative feature of the toolkit is the web-based SSET Wiki, which is an interactive platform that allows users of the toolkit to login and share best practices, ideas, statistics, stories and general comments and feedback.  The SSET Wiki also provides resources and tools that are linked directly to goals and objectives in the toolkit.

The workshop presented a wealth of information on how Ethical and Sustainable Purchasing can be leveraged by sports organizations to meet their overall sustainability commitments.  For example, VANOC shared some success stories of their Buy Smart Program, which was designed, with support from Reeve Consulting, to ensure that sustainability, ethical choices and Aboriginal participation are taken into account within procurement and licensing activities.  London 2012, Speed Skating Canada, and the International Cycling Union also recognized the role of Ethical and Sustainable Purchasing in achieving sustainability objectives of sporting events.

Reeve sees the SSET as an important step in ensuring the sustainability of future large-scale games and is excited to support the enhancement of this tool through the interactive wiki web platform.  The SSET will help to embed Ethical and Sustainable Purchasing in future games and Reeve Consulting looks forward to participating in the application of this innovative toolkit.

Reeve ‘Out and About’: Bridging The Gap with Engineers Without Borders

Reeve Consulting participated in two panel discussions this past weekend as part of this year’s Bridging The Gap conference presented by Engineers Without Borders (EWB).

Held March 14th at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver, ‘Bridging The Gap’ explored how the collaborative actions of individuals, corporations, NGOs, and government can impact extreme poverty. With the theme “Collaborating for Human Development – the hidden power of our choices,” professional and student delegates examined the influence of their actions at home, on the development field, in parliament and in boardrooms.

The day was full of discussion, debate, collaboration, and learning. Workshops and sessions were led by an engaging line-up of speakers such as Parker Mitchell, co-founder of EWB and Dr. James Orbinski, president of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) and Nobel Laureate. Kevin McCarty, who joined Reeve Consulting in October 2009, participated in the following panel discussions:

Fair Trade: The Story, presented the history and key principles of Fair Trade, as well as the unique firsthand Fair Trade experiences of the panellists. Kevin shared his experience working in Bolivia with two micro-finance organizations, where he examined the Fair Trade certification process from the producer’s perspective. He was accompanied by fellow panellists Lloyd Bernhardt of Ethical Bean and Karla Bloomfield, Fair Trade Textile Market Researcher and Capacity Builder.

The Power of Purchase: Ethical Decision Making by Consumers Like You, illustrated the common consumer’s ability to create equality and promote human development through purchasing decisions. Kevin, who was accompanied by Mel Phadtare of Junxion Strategy Inc., presented the difference between ethical, fair trade, social and green purchasing and demonstrated how ethical purchasing, in particular, helps to ensure human rights are respected throughout the supply chain.

Reeve Consulting would like to thank EWB for inviting Kevin to participate in this year’s Bridging The Gap conference and would like to recognize all the hard work that the EWB team of volunteers put into this year’s event. It was a great success, keep up the good work!

Associations Attempt to Address Suppliers’ “Audit Fatigue”

When social compliance standards vary from organisation to organisation, many suppliers can experience what is known as “audit fatigue”.  As the expression suggests, it is common for suppliers to have several social compliance audits a year.  Furthermore, different auditing standards may require different corrective action plans (CAPs).  As a result, factory owners spend time and money endeavouring to meet all manner of standards, which can sap production resources and drive up costs.

A recent article in the Vancouver Sun on VANOC’s Buy Smart program illustrates the issue of audit fatigue and how it can impact the flow of business.  The article cites that one licensee factory refused to be audited as it had already endured five time-consuming audits previously and could not afford any further interruptions.  Obviously this factory does not meet VANOC’s minimum standards but it may in fact be compliant with The Code.

Two issues emerge as a result of this scenario.  One, it speaks to the lack of consistent social compliance auditing standards.  Two, it demonstrates that auditing can be duplicative, and therefore inefficient.  It is not uncommon for three or four competitive brands to have their products made in the same location and thus, having three or four individual audits seems unnecessary and wasteful.

Creating consistent auditing standards is not a new issue and so initiatives exist, already.  As an example, the Sweat Free Consortium hopes to bring both municipal and State governments in the U.S. under the same set of standards.  Groups such as the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) or the Fair Labour Association (FLA) also advocate for consistency in Code of Conduct standards.  This issue will certainly receive more attention as more organisations incorporate social compliance programs and we’ll likely be writing about it more so stay tuned!

For the latter issue of duplicating efforts, companies such as Fair Factories Clearing House (FFC) and the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX) provide opportunities for companies to eliminate these inefficiencies through sharing information.  Using custom web-based platforms, member firms are able to share information about workplace conditions in manufacturing facilities around the world on an optional basis.  FFC and SEDEX differ from ETI and FLA in that they don’t endorse one Code nor do they assign pass or failing grade to factories.  These systems simply allow aggregate audit information to be shared.  The aggregation of data addresses those issues related to antitrust or risks to a supplier’s competitive advantage.

If social compliance auditing is becoming a big part of your operation, using systems such as the FFC or SEDEX may not only allow you to store and organise your audits on a secure database, but it also could bring cost savings and increased efficiency to your program.

Here is a recent press release from FFC announcing Levi Strauss & Co., Nike Inc., Nordstrom, and Abercrombie & Fitch as its first “sharing members” for its new platform that was launched April 2, 2008.

http://www.fairfactories.org/press/Sharing%20Platform%20I%20launch%20press%20release.doc

Article in Vancouver Sun can be accessed at:

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=b325f36b-97aa-4aec-8fea-3477d8a32cb9&k=68387

Stakeholders Key to Ethical Purchasing Policy for Global Games

The recent negative publicity around Beijing 2008’s licensed merchandise is evidence that issues of Ethical and Sustainable Purchasing is on the rise as a key strategic issue in the Olympic movement.  Organising and bid committees are waking up to this reality and, as a result, are making strong commitments to ethical and sustainable purchasing. 

 Setting goals related to sustainability is an increasing norm among Organising and Bid Committees.  Procurement is seen as a leverage point through which such goals can be realized, and damaging PR issues can be avoided.  The wider Olympic family, such as Olympic sponsors as well as both the International and National Olympic Committees, are also seeing the importance of sustainable procurement to their strategy and PR programs.   

Vancouver 2010’s has made and continues to make considerable efforts through setting a new benchmark in ethical and sustainable purchasing within the Olympic movement.  London 2012 is monitoring these initiatives and also intending to meet its sustainability goals, in part, through procurement.  A recent article in the Financial Times cites Mayor Ken Livingstone as committing to hold its Olympic suppliers to ethical criteria.  The Tokyo 2016 Bid Committee has also included a commitment to sustainable procurement in its bid. 

Another positive trend that is emerging is organising committees and their stakeholders are taking a collaborative approach to these initiatives.  This is evidenced through the increased dialogue between NGO stakeholders and the various committees.   VANOC has engaged its stakeholders throughout the development of its Buy Smart program.  London is continually engaged with its stakeholders on everything from developing its sustainability plan to venue construction to procurement.  

The Olympic movement is moving into new territory as it strives to align with the greater community’s expectations around and commitment to sustainability and ethical and sustainable procurement will serve to raise the level of play.  Furthermore, those efforts that are based on collaborative approaches and stakeholder engagement will only ensure greater success.  

For more information on VANOC’s sustainability initiatives, please go to: http://www.vancouver2010.com/en/Sustainability 

For more information on London 2012, please go to: http://www.london2012.com/plans/sustainability/index.php 

The recent article in the Financial Times can be found at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/bb32aa56-d82d-11dc-98f7-0000779fd2ac.html

Do You Really Know What You Are Buying? The Perils of GreenWashing…

Although many organisations recognize ethical and sustainable purchasing as a key strategic issue, barriers to action still exist.  One example is a lack of awareness or understanding what constitutes an ethically or environmentally preferable product or ‘green’ product.  Many products can claim to be “all natural”, “environmentally friendly” or even “fair trade”, but without certification to back these claims, it is difficult to know what, exactly, you are buying.  A recent report from Terra Choice Marketing, “The Six Sins of Greenwashing” highlight six specific, and not so uncommon practices, of companies providing misleading product information: 

1)       The Sin of the Hidden Trade-off

This sin is characterised by using one environmental attribute to suggest that a product is “green”.  The report cites that often claims are made based on a narrow set of green criteria and do not necessarily take into account a complete environmental analysis that looks at a product’s full lifecycle.   A case in point is a recent article (see below) from Queens Journal on a “carbon-positive” wine company.  Plantatree wine promises to plant a conifer sapling for every bottle sold in an attempt to offset the CO2 emitted from an average Canadian.  While a laudable initiative, the article points out that it may be more beneficial to offset the emissions caused from the production process for making the wine itself.   

2)       The Sin of No Proof

Pretty self-explanatory, ‘the sin of no proof’ occurs when product make unsubstantiated claims about their green attributes.  Products sometimes make claims to be energy-efficient or not tested on animals, to name a few examples, but provide no backup information or certification as proof. 

3)       Sin of Irrelevance

Products will sometimes promote themselves as being distinctively green when in reality, they are acting in compliance with local laws and regulations.  Terra Choice uses “CFCs” as an example.  These substances have been legally banned for 30 years, therefore all products are CFC-free.  Those touting themselves as such are misleading the public into believing they are in some way more progressive than they really are. 

4)       Sin of Vagueness

The sin of vagueness is characterized by claims that are ambiguous or meaningless.  One common example is products that print the Mobius loop (recycling symbol) without a qualifying statement that tells consumer exactly what, and how much, of the product is made from recycled content. 

5)       Sin of Lesser of Two Evils

Organic cigarettes or environmentally preferable herbicides are examples of products guilty of ‘the sin of lesser of two evils’.  Although such products may indeed offer favourable environmental attributes, the products, themselves, pose greater negative impact to the environment and human health. 

6)       Sin of Fibbing

Again, this is pretty self-explanatory.  Simply put, some products will lie outright about their environmental qualifications.  Although this is least common among the sins, it can occur. How do you avoid these sinful products?  The recommended approach is to first look for eco certifications standardized by bodies that issue guidelines for making environmental claims.  As an example, ISO 14024 sets guidelines or standards for third party Eco-labelling organizations to follow and ensures that environmental information is presented accurately.  Furthermore, the report suggests that consumers remain aware of the six sins and attempt to evaluate products accordingly. 

Although this report focused on greenwashing, the same may occur with ethical claims as well.  Therefore, look for fair trade certifications for added assurance these products meet the standards you expect.

Look for the Logo.  (Examples of product certifications)

Ecologo   Fair Trade Certified

More information on product certifications bodies:

www.ecologo.org

www.transfair.ca

For a copy of the TerraChoice report, please go to: http://www.terrachoice.com/Home/Greenwashing/The%20Six%20Sins 

Queen’s journal article on Green Wine: http://www.queensjournal.ca/story/2008-01-15/news/tapping-sustainable-wine/ 

For more information on ISO 14024, please go to: http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=23145