Capacity Building

What Role does Procurement Have in a Zero Waste Future?

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



1. Reimagining waste as a resource through innovation

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


2. Battery Recycling as a Solution to Controversy around EVs

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


3. Supporting local suppliers

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


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

Exploring the Unique Partnership Between Procurement and Sustainability

Does one plus one equal three? In the case of the powerful partnership between procurement and sustainability departments, the answer is a resounding yes! Read on to find out how these two groups are greater than the sum of their parts.


Procurement practitioners have a lot on their plates – they are the facilitator between internal business units and the products and services those business units need. They’re balancing procurement rules and regulations, supply chain disruptions, tight timelines and budgets, and at the same time they are being asked to consider complex issues like accessibility and sustainability. But this is exactly why procurement should be seen as a highly strategic function of an organization – and they shouldn’t have to act alone either.

Sustainable procurement is often found at the side of someone’s desk, with ad-hoc pilot projects fragmented across an organization, especially when it doesn’t have organized intent and resources behind it. When acting in silo’s, sustainability as well as procurement professionals might feel like their wheels are spinning and they’re not getting much farther ahead. That said, we know that procurement is a leverage point from which organizations can drive top-level sustainability objectives and working together enables greater chances of positive impact.

So, on June 9th the CCSP sat down with procurement and sustainability professionals from two leading institutions, BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC) and Simon Fraser University (SFU), plus France Edmunds, Head of Sustainable Impact at HP, to dive into this conversation on internal collaboration and what can be achieved from it.


Setting the Scene

Frances kicked things off, reminding us of a few important messages:

  • Public institutions must give more points to sustainability evaluation criteria if they really want to leverage their market influence and effect change on pressing environmental and social issues.
  • Evaluation should focus on a supplier’s own corporate sustainability leadership practices in addition to the products or services they provide.
  • Procurement professionals often don’t feel they have responsibility for supporting an organization’s sustainability objectives; so, a multi-level collaborative approach is much needed.
  • Collaboration between sustainability and procurement professionals creates better capacity to set relevant criteria and avoid greenwashing, thus signaling suppliers to do better.


Diving into the Discussion

Our panel this year included Karen Jensen, Director of Corporate Procurement and Jim Gudjonson, Manager of Sustainability Innovation from BCLC and Laura Simonsen, Major Procurement Contracts Officer and Rita Steele, Manager of Campus Sustainability from SFU. If you missed the session, here are some not-to-be-missed highlights:

How did the relationship between your two groups start and what does your collaboration look like now?

SFU procurement and sustainability first started working together on a zero-waste committee to decrease waste from the campus going to landfill. Now, multiple committees focussing on different sustainable procurement topics have been created and act as the main source and hub for their ability to collaborate.

BCLC procurement and sustainability first came together over the topic of shared metrics. They have now developed a true partnership with joint advocacy, particularly on policy work, as well as collaborative training and participation on the ESG committee.

The procurement group at both institutions will review upcoming bids and bring in sustainability as needed to provide their expertise on specific procurements.

How has working together added value to the organization and enabled you to achieve things you wouldn’t have alone?

In less than a year of working together, Jim and Karen at BCLC were able to advocate for the hiring of an FTE to fully focus on sustainable procurement. They were able to showcase what they could be doing with more resources versus what they were able to do at the time. The partnership at BCLC also enabled an investment on electric vehicles which would not have been possible without the cost benefit analysis support from procurement, which ultimately resulted in a convergence of sustainability and finance objectives.

SFU has found that working together adds credibility to initiatives on both sides. While sustainability holds the strategic vision, procurement can then provide specific data, vendor knowledge, and access to many contacts throughout the organization. One project that wouldn’t have been possible at SFU without this collaboration, is the developing of an online SFU marketplace for recirculating surplus goods. While sustainability is driving this initiative, they leaned on procurement to share knowledge on the various procurement processes across the organization and how this Marketplace platform can fit.

What would you recommend to other organizations wanting to increase their collaboration?

  • Start somewhere. Choose one operational project (ex. a zero-waste initiative) to get the conversation going.
  • The time now is ripe for change. Take advantage of evolving sustainability and ESG policies to also update procurement policies and use this time to have conversations on common goals that lead into your top-level corporate strategies.
  • Set-up regular meetings with each other. Either one on one or through committee work, which create points where you’re regularly talking and engaging.
  • Invest in co-development. Invite one another to learn about each other’s priorities and processes and commit to supporting common initiatives.


A huge thank-you to our panelists, and supporting partner HP Canada, for showing us how the partnership between sustainability and procurement can be a powerful force within an organization!




Sustainable Procurement Events for your Spring Calendar

While we may be home-bound for a bit longer due to COVID-19, that doesn’t mean we can’t fill our calendars with opportunities to learn and be social! At Reeve, we’ve gathered a collection of top tier sustainable and procurement themed webinars that we are looking forward to and want to share in the anticipation.With eyes on the horizon for the return of in-person events, we have gained a new appreciation for the ease and accessibility online events can provide. Let’s make the most of it this spring and enjoy a few more online events we can attend in our lounge-wear!


Tips for Attending Online Events

Before the Event

  • Create at least one learning goal and one business development/networking goal.
  • If possible, identify 1-3 people, either speakers or other attendees you’d like to connect with.
  • Prepare 1-3 questions in advance, knowing these may change during the actual event.

During the Event

  • Ask your 1-3 questions. Adapt as required and don’t forget to mention where you are from.
  • Connect with other attendees, most online events will have a chat function, so don’t forget to introduce yourself and use it.
  • Make note of anyone asking questions relevant to your own work and try to connect with them through the chat.

After the Event

  • Connect with the speakers and other attendees on LinkedIn to keep the conversation going.
  • Summarize your main take-away’s / learnings from the event and share back with your team.


Thesis Live Webinar Series

The Sustainability Consortium, in partnership with SupplyShift are reviewing supplier engagement methods to provide sustainability performance insights into your own supply chain, and access data customers often want reported. The  three upcoming webinars in the series include:

1. Unlocking Supply Chain Transparency with SupplyShift’s Upstream Engagement Tools March 9th 

2. Tackling Food Waste in your Supply Chain March 11th 

3. Navigating your Renewable Energy Journey / April 13th


Buy Social Canada Symposium

Buy Social is hosting the return of their Canada Symposium on April 26th; an opportunity to learn and celebrate social procurement and the effects it has to shape economies and communities. This event will feature four diverse discussions led by leaders in social procurement, breakout themed networking sessions to allow for networking with other guests, and the Social Procurement Champion Awards to recognize organizations making admirable progress in social procurement across Canada.

Find out more and register here.



Procurement Leaders Innovation Series

In a four part series, the Procurement Leaders aim to provide the opportunity to optimize your current procurement strategies with a panel of expert global speakers. You can expect session formats from industry roundtables, micro breakouts, CPO spotlights and the opportunity to engage with other attendees.

1. Innovation in Positive Growth / March 16th – 18th 

2. Innovation in Resilient Supplier Networks / April 27th – 29th 

3. Innovation in Digitalization and Technology / May 25th – 27th 

4. Innovation in Asia Pacific / June 15th – 16th


CAMSC Diversity Procurement Fair 2021

The Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council is getting ready to provide you with some fresh insights from diverse businesses April 20, 21, 27 & 28. This interactive virtual conference will provide a platform for Canadian small businesses and exporters to connect with the U.S. and Corporate Buyers. Attendees can expect an export forum, industry focused panels, sourcing roundtables, matchmaking and networking events, all with the intention to further collaboration and brainstorming.

Find out more and register here.


Going Global


GLOBE Capital 2021

GLOBE Capital is hosting an impressive collection of North American and global leaders, investors, innovators, and policymakers at what is expected to be a conference that will accelerate transformation towards a cleaner economy on April 13th to 15th. This grand forum offers the opportunity to make connections through the matchmaking and networking program and learn about best practices and emerging policies.

Find out more and register here.


The United Nations 2021 SDGs Learning, Training, and Practice

The 2021 United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development will be held from July 6th to July 15th. This series will include capacity building and knowledge learning sessions on topics related to the implementation of the SDGs under review. All sessions will be live-streamed, recorded and open to all participants.

Find out more information here.








Looking for Top Tier Sustainable Procurement Events?

Have you been missing the learning and networking you used to get from in-person sustainability events? The Reeve team doesn’t want you to miss out on some of the most significant upcoming events on procurement and sustainability, so, we’ve highlighted the events we’re most excited about over the next few months.

Most of these sessions would have been hosted in person but are now transitioning to online because of COVID, something we have all been adjusting to! Like us, you may find yourself signing up to online events and either not attending or finding it less valuable than in-person events but we suggest giving it another shot!

Check out these 6 upcoming events and test our tips. Don’t miss out on the learning and connecting!


Tips for Attending Online Events

Before the Event

  • Create at least one learning goal and one business development/networking goal.
  • If possible, identify 1-3 people, either speakers or other attendees you’d like to connect with.
  • Prepare 1-3 questions in advance, knowing these may change during the actual event.

During the Event

  • Ask your 1-3 questions. Adapt as required and don’t forget to mention where you are from.
  • Connect with other attendees, most online events will have a chat function, so don’t forget to introduce yourself and use it.
  • Make note of anyone asking questions relevant to your own work and try to connect with them through the chat.

After the Event

  • Connect with the speakers and other attendees on LinkedIn to keep the conversation going.
  • Summarize your main take-away’s / learnings from the event and share back with your team.


July 16: SPLC Virtual Connect

The Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC) is hosting a virtual matchmaking event with a sustainability focus that offers an opportunity for buyers and suppliers to network in meaningful ways. Participants are invited to discover fresh business opportunities beneficial for all procurement professionals, whether seeking services or fulfilling the critical needs of buyers dedicated to influencing the sustainability goals of their organizations and their commitment to the good of the planet. More info and registration found here and more events found in their activities calendar here.


Aug. 25-27: GreenBiz Circularity 20

The GreenBiz Circularity 20 Conference will now be held as a free online event featuring plenaries, breakouts, tours, networking opportunities, and a solutions showcase all focussed on employing circular economy principles that navigate disruption, increase resilience, respond to shifting consumer demand and unlock new business opportunities. Sessions of interest for procurement professionals would include:

  • Forging a Resilient Circular Supply Chain
  • From Product to Practice: Circular Innovation from the Ground Up
  • Enabling Global Circular Supply Chains in the Electronics Industry

More info and registration found here.


Aug. 24-28: NIGP Forum Annual Meeting

The NIGP Annual Forum is the largest North American educational conference for individuals in public procurement. This year, the 75th anniversary, will be offered online and feature over 50 procurement-focussed sessions, keynotes, networking, virtual happy hours and more.

We would encourage you to bring a sustainability lens and ask questions to every session you attend; these sessions caught our eye as particularly relevant for sustainable procurement:

  • From Cradle to Grave: Procurement is Just the Beginning
  • Practical Steps to Move Procurement from a Back-Office Function to a Strategic Business Partner with Internal Departments
  • Social Responsibility! Why?

More info and registration found here.


Sept. 29-30: World Circular Economy Forum

Finland, the Netherlands, and Canada are joining forces for this year’s World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) online. Circular economy change-makers from around the world will share practical circular economy examples that will help us rebuild our economies stronger, greener and better! The Recycling Council of Ontario is set to host a side event on circular procurement alongside WCEF. More info and registration found here.

Two additional WCEF events will be held on April 15, 2021, in the Netherlands and online as well as September 13 – 15, 2021, in Toronto, Canada.


Oct. 5-9: SCC National Conference

Supply Chain Canada’s (SCC) 2020 National Conference and Fellow Awards Gala will focus on visibility, transparency, and innovation. Attendees will hear from expert speakers, discuss the latest topics in supply chain, discuss best practices, and build their network. More info and registration found here.


Oct. 20-22: FCM Sustainable Communities Conference

Municipalities are at the forefront of Covid response and sustainable development, and the function of procurement plays a large role in enabling this. The FCM Virtual Sustainable Communities Conference theme this year is Bringing Projects to Life, where delegates will explore fundamental issues and solutions for building sustainable communities. More info and registration found here.


Don’t forget to grab a beverage, turn your video on, and we’ll see you all there!

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.”

Impact Sourcing Means Going All In


In sustainable purchasing, there is often talk of “market readiness” for sustainable products and services. The idea is that sometimes organizations or consumers wish to purchase a more environmentally, ethically, or socially sustainable option, but the market has not yet produced this option, or does not produce it at scale. In these cases, purchasers can leverage their collective power to help influence the market to develop in a sustainable direction, through advocacy, or even direct investment. When it comes to sustainable services, sometimes the commodity that needs developing is the available labour itself.

Help develop a market-ready young person in Uganda

A few weeks ago we posted about a new trend in sustainable procurement and global economic development called impact sourcing. Driven by initiatives from organizations such as the Rockefeller Foundation, “‘Impact sourcing’ is an inclusive employment practice through which companies intentionally connect high-potential, disadvantaged youth to available jobs.” The practice is taking off, with tech giants such as Microsoft beginning to capitalize on a win-win opportunity.

However, the jobs created when companies are practicing impact sourcing are only one half of the equation: these high-potential youth still need the education and training required to successfully perform at their jobs. Impact sourcing requires capacity-building. In order to develop this market of young and promising employees, we must find ways to invest in their education.

The African continent is a place where there is an abundance of high-potential youth who are desperately in need of sustainable employment. In many African countries, such as Uganda, education is prohibitively expensive for much of the population, and youth cannot access loans to defray the costs. As a result, even if jobs appear through impact sourcing employment creation, many prospective applicants would find themselves under-prepared to fill the positions.

So what can be done? Reeve believes in grassroots capacity-building, which is why we are helping to support a young and promising Ugandan student to fulfil her higher education dreams. Please check out Rosemary Nakasiita’s story here, and consider how you too might help push toward market readiness for impact sourcing.

Help Rosemary Nakasiita Get Her University Degree on Indiegogo