A Roadmap to a New Economy Through Coronavirus Response and Recovery Spending
By: Alyssa McDonald
The Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement’s network of 18 leading public sector organizations has just released a report on their progress towards aligning their spending with their social and environmental goals. In the era of Coronavirus, advancing sustainable procurement is as relevant as ever. Canada’s public sector can use its buying power to supplement stimulus packages and social welfare systems to build healthier, more resilient communities. “I’m hopeful that this report can act as a roadmap to other public sector organizations seeking to use their buying power to meet a triple bottom line as we collectively respond and recover from this crisis,” says Alyssa McDonald, Program Coordinator of the MCSP.
About the Report
The 2019 Annual Report on the State of Sustainable Public Procurement in Canada highlights the country’s latest sustainable procurement trends, showcases the popular ‘moon chart’, which benchmarks MCSP members against each other, and features member success stories from across the country. Information was gathered through interviews with MCSP members from November 2019 to January 2020.
The public sector continues to reduce single-use plastics, offer reusable alternatives, and minimize waste through new circular and zero waste programs and pilot projects. Social procurement is increasingly operationalized through supplier diversity programs, social enterprise procurement, and supplier engagement for food and event services. International climate protests and declarations of climate emergency across Canadian municipalities inspire new commitments to climate change mitigation and adaptation with a focus on fleet electrification and energy. Finally, cross-functional and cross-sector collaboration – including working groups, cooperative purchasing, and conferences – accelerate innovation and build capacity to implement of sustainable procurement initiatives.
In 2019, the City of Toronto engaged employees and diverse suppliers through information sessions, events, and 1-on-1 conversations leading to a 40% increase in divisional purchases from certified diverse suppliers, as compared to 2018, and being recognized as a finalist for 3 Women in Business Enterprise (WBE) Canada Supplier Diversity Awards. Mississauga built a successful business case to electrify their fleet of ice resurfacers using a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Their calculations showed fleet electrification would save $1,711,160 and 832 tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – the equivalent of taking 255 cars off the road – over the units’ 20-year life cycle. Members of the 2019 MCSP’s Working Group from Calgary, Victoria, Halifax, Edmonton and Mississauga activated social procurement for low-value purchases by creating and piloting a 15-minute training for P-card and credit card holders.
The report highlights other innovative member initiatives including SFU contracting social and Indigenous caterers, TRU diverting waste from landfills with a new online platform for repurposing furniture, Halifax purchasing picnic tables from an eco-conscious social enterprise that employs people with mental health challenges, Ottawa establishing Corporate Energy Management Office to save energy and money, Edmonton implementing new living wage policy for custodial workers, Calgary eliminating the use of pesticides in parks through targeted grazing, and Vancouver updating their procurement policy to promote animal welfare.
Looking to the Future
In 2020, the MCSP officially relaunched as the Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (CCSP), a brand that better reflects our mission to serve all Canadian public sector organizations advancing social, ethical, and green procurement. We are making our community more accessible to small organizations and adding new benefits and services for members. We encourage you to download the full report here and contact Alyssa McDonald, Program Coordinator at the CCSP, if you are interested in learning more about the community.
Let’s create a national sustainable purchasing movement across Canada!
Established in 2010, the Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (CCSP) is a member-based network of Canadian public-sector institutions working together to set and achieve green, social, and ethical purchasing goals. Our member organizations meet online on a monthly basis to share information, collaborate on tool development, and exchange lessons learned to address emerging sustainability risks and opportunities in their supply chains.