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).

Impact Sourcing Means Going All In

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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

Presenting the 2015 State of the Nation Report on Municipal Sustainable Purchasing in Canada

Reeve Consulting and the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (MCSP) are pleased to release their sixth annual MCSP State of the Nation Report. Each year the report has provided the most comprehensive and up-to-date discussion of the latest trends, best practices, examples and case studies in municipal sustainable purchasing in Canada.

The report offers a national snapshot of how Canadian municipalities are implementing sustainable purchasing programs and is an invaluable resource for municipal decision-makers looking to implement impactful sustainable procurement programming.

View the full report at http://blog.reeveconsulting.com/resources/

 The release of the report also marks the kick-off of the 2016 programming for the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement. This year, the MCSP welcomed post-secondary institution members alongside municipalities to its Canada-wide network of professionals engaged in developing and leading the charge in best practice sustainable procurement at the local community level. Through its collaboration and resource sharing programs, the MCSP will help participating municipalities and post-secondary institutions address challenges and priorities raised in the 2015 State of the Nation report.

For more information on the collaboration, visit the MCSP website.

Media Contact:

Tim Reeve

President, Reeve Consulting

Phone: 604-763-6829

Email: tim@reeveconsulting.com

Not just another fluff piece

Winter is on the way and with it, racks and racks of high-end down filled jackets, slippers and blankets promising to keep you cozy all season long. Generally speaking these are high-priced items, but a recent article has left us wondering, what is the real cost of all this down?

A review of the video attached tells you everything you didn’t want to know about how down is usually sourced. None of it is surprising for anyone who is versed in large factory farming methods, but it’s sure to bring a chill to anyone cuddle up in their down duvet! Force feeding, plucked alive, terrible conditions all suffered by these harmless birds to keep us warm and cozy.

Enter Patagonia, an outdoor apparel company who has just launched its “Responsible Apparel” campaign along with its intention to offer Fair Trade Clothing. This week they announced the launch of Patagonia® Traceable Down. The company says that the birds are neither force feed for fois gras or plucked during their lifetime. In fact, Wendy Savage, social and environmental responsibility manager for Patagonia says “Patagonia’s traceability program is hands-on every step of the way. We begin our audit at the parent farm, where the eggs are laid, and follow it all the way to the garment factory, where the down is placed in our garments. We need to understand every single part of the supply chain – otherwise we can’t truly feel comfortable claiming the down as traceable.”

Down is lightweight and efficient insulation, with Patagonia creating and following these traceability standards; it is now sustainable and a lot more ethical. Considering it already has organic cotton and recycled polyester, they are leading the charge towards sustainable apparel and should be an inspiration to other companies to utilize the holistic model set forth by Patagonia.

Supplier Engagement and Collaboration: McDonalds Releases 2014 “Best of Sustainable Supply” Report

We’ve long been advocates of the idea of working collaboratively with suppliers to scale up social and environmental performance, and a recent report released by McDonalds shows just how much can be achieved when organizations look to their suppliers for solutions to sustainability challenges. In their new report entitled, “Best of Sustainable Supply”,  McDonalds honours 36 suppliers and 51 projects that represent significant innovation towards more sustainable supply chains. McDonalds believes that innovation is key to their sustainability journey and their suppliers have a pretty impressive track record of innovating in the area of the three E’s: ethics, environment, and economics.

According to Jose Amario, Executive Vice President of Worldwide Supply Chain, one of the goals of the report is to share that innovations and knowledge with other suppliers,

“Every year, our suppliers focus even more attention on sustainability, applying innovation to make a real difference for the people, communities, animals and environment that touch our supply chain. And the benefits don’t end with us. Many of these innovations can bring about more widespread change in our suppliers’ own industries and in broader society”.

In a call for nominations McDonalds received 585 submissions, almost 40 percent more than the last time they engaged suppliers in this program. Stay tuned for information from Reeve Consulting on Supplier Collaboration and best practices as we work with one of our major retail clients on a supplier recognition program aimed to roll out in the fall of 2014.

Green Sports Alliance Summit

Sustainability at the 4th Green Sports Alliance Summit

I am excited to speak at the 4th Green Sports Alliance Summit http://summit.greensportsalliance.org/ on July 21-22 in Santa Clara, California. More than 600 industry stakeholders will be listening to 80+ industry leaders, discussing how companies can promote better environmental sustainability, engage in community outreach, and advance the green sports movement. Pivotal issues to be explored by a wide selection of dedicated individuals.

Throughout history, sports have proven an effective way to bring people together in camaraderie. Whether it’s the baseball field, the hockey rink, or the ski slope, the environment is an important participant in any sport. This gives the industry strong motivation to preserve natural spaces, not only for athletes but for the children of future generations eager to experience the games themselves.

As a strategic advisor for ethical and sustainable business practices, I am always enthusiastic about industries making the green choice. It’s not just great for the environment but makes smart business sense as well. Sustainable purchasing helps you become a leading sports organization by eliminating waste and creating more efficient use of resources. For example, by forming partnerships with sustainable food providers, you have steady access to an efficient quality food source and by avoiding sweat-shop labour, you are selling better products to your clients, ones produced with skill and care.

That so many dedicated sports professionals have come together for the Green Sports Alliance is incredibly heartening, hopefully a prophecy of things to come. I look forward to helping the Alliance transform the whole sports environment and look forward to seeing you at the summit.

Whole Foods Tops 2013 Seafood Retailer Scorecard

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According to the annual CATO Report recently published by Greenpeace, Whole Foods supermarkets has moved to the top of seafood retailers by focusing on the sustainability of their supply chain. The report outlines the current state of retail seafood and discusses the practices, both positive and negative, that are part of the supply chain that puts fish on grocery store shelves. Additionally, Greenpeace ranks the retailers on four criterion: policy, initiatives, transparency, and red list inventory (a list of 22 priority species).

Whole Foods captured the crown by reining in its seafood supply chain; reducing the number of red list fish, offering a selection of sustainable canned tuna, and introducing quantitative policies and initiatives that govern its purchasing decisions. Other notable grocers from this years report include Safeway, who came in second place with their goal of selling no unsustainable seafood by 2015, and Trader Joe’s, who improved from 15th in last year’s report to 3rd this year by significantly stepping up efforts in all four areas.

While there is still work to be done to implement sustainable seafood practices globally, all three of the CATO Report’s top retailers are actively reducing their environmental impact by developing and implementing a thorough sustainable purchasing policy. This is true in many other purchasing areas as well as seafood and can be applied to any business. Reeve Consulting has had experience helping our partners to build out and implement sustainable purchasing policies in dozens of those areas.

The MLB Hits a Homerun for Sustainability

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Tuesday Night Mariano Rivera was named MVP of the 84th Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game. While Rivera’s performance pitching a perfect eighth inning and leading the American League All-Stars to a 3-0 victory over the National League was undoubtedly impressive, the real winner of the night was the environment. As part of an ongoing collaboration between the MLB and the National Resource Defense Council called the MLB Greening Program, the league went above and beyond the already impressive sustainability programs in place at Citi Field to ensure that the 2013 All-Star game featured progressive environmental features.

Since the 2008 All-Star Game, the MLB has been a shining example of the types of sustainability initiatives that can be accomplished by members of the Green Sports Alliance. This year, however, the MLB stepped up their sustainability efforts in a number of key areas. First, certified suppliers offset the 2013 All-Star games full water and energy use. In addition, the MLB incorporated a 1:1 recycling to trash bin ratio as well as a team of Green Team volunteers to ensure that waste was kept to a minimum. To create a lasting impact, the MLB made a point of connecting fans with environmental messages as well as demonstrating ways that they can reduce their own footprints.

Reeve Consulting is doing its part to help make the games that we all know and love more sustainable. This spring we were in contact with the Dallas Cowboys and in late August we will be taking part in the 2013 Green Sports Alliance Summit in New York. If you would like more information about the greening of sport, please feel free to contact us.

Buying Local Pays Dividends

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LOCO, in cooperation with Columbia Institute and ISIS Research Center at the Sauder School of Business recently released a report titled The Power of Purchasing that outlines the economic impacts of local procurement. This is a landmark study in the Canadian market conducted by Sauder MBA Alumni Anthony Pringle. While most would agree that purchasing locally has a positive economic effect, Pringle sought to quantify the effect by studying the economic effect that B.C. businesses could have by simply purchasing office supplies locally. Without getting into too much detail (read the report, it’s really well written), Pringle compared the economic effect of purchasing office supplies from a local supply company, Mills Basics, to that of purchasing from a national chain. He found that by employing the former, buyers were able to provide nearly double the economic benefit to the local B.C. community in the form of greater employment as well as higher tax revenue for the local government.

 

Although many companies still make purchasing decisions based on price alone, there are a growing number of values based organizations willing to look at the greater economic impact that buying can have. With reports like Pringle’s as ammunition for the fight, purchasing managers in Canada will undoubtedly have a greater opportunity to make the case for local buying.

Bangladesh Factory Tragedy Triggers Reform in Garment Industry

It took the tragic collapse of Rana Plaza and the deaths of over 1,100 garment workers, but consumers and industry experts alike have been spurred to action. More than one million consumers around the world voiced their concern for worker safety by signing petitions advocating that brands improve their accountability for supply chain practices; meanwhile, thanks to the good work of people like our friends Linda and Kevin at Maquila Solidarity Network and Bob Walker at Ethical Funds, labour rights groups and socially responsible investment groups are successfully pressuring retailers and manufacturing companies to ensure continuous improvement to working conditions by getting them to sign the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety.

Under the terms of the Accord, brands and retailers are required to guarantee independent safety inspections, safety training, mandatory repairs and renovations to the factories in their supply chain and to terminate business with non-compliant suppliers. Before the collapse at Rana Plaza, only PVH and Tchibo had signed the Accord; since the collapse, 38 companies, including Loblaws, have signed on.

If the deaths of the workers in the Rana Plaza collapse are not to be in vain, we must ensure that the Bangladesh Accord is strong and successful and we must build on that success until all workers can feel safe and secure on the job.