New Report on Trends & Best Practices in Sustainable Public Procurement in Canada 

Manitoba Jobs and Economy Minister, Kevin Chief, at the announcement of Mother Earth Recycling’s mattress recycling program in Partnership with IKEA. Mike Deal, Winnipeg Free Press. 

 

A network of nineteen leading public sector organizations has just released a report on their progress towards aligning their spending with their values and commitments on sustainability. “Sustainable procurement has reached a turning point in its relevance as a strategic tool to drive sustainability in the public sector,” says Tim Reeve, Managing Director of the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (MCSP). “We are seeing a vibrant national conversation around sustainable procurement as a core strategy for the public sector to take action on climate change, poverty reduction, and building healthy communities.” Established in 2010, the MCSP supports Canadian public-sector institutions to work together to set and achieve sustainable purchasing goals.

 

About the Report

The report highlights the country’s biggest sustainable procurement trends, showcases the popular ‘moon chart’, which benchmarks members against each other, and offers member updates and success stories around social and aboriginal procurement, green infrastructure, innovative training and communication initiatives, the circular economy, and more.

 

Trends

According to the report, there are some significant trends to watch. The Government of Canada and several provincial governments are creating an enabling environment for social purchasing and the use of community benefit agreements to provide employment and skills training opportunities for Canadians with barriers to employment. There are a growing number of hubs and networks supporting a standardized approach to sustainable and social procurement at a regional level. In 2018, the Coastal Communities Initiative launched on Vancouver Island to support social procurement through education, training and coaching. Finally, increasing awareness on the negative impacts of plastic waste has driven new commitments this year in government and industry, with new regulatory initiatives and industry-wide collaborations to consider investment in sustainable plastic alternatives and zero-waste strategies.

 

Success Stories

Members are enriching their sustainable procurement programs and applying sustainability to new procurement categories. They are developing innovative partnerships with certification organizations and academic researchers to design new approaches and engage supplier communities. In August 2018, Simon Fraser University became the first university in Canada to become an Aboriginal Procurement Champion, a special designation by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB). The university is now working to embed a clause on Aboriginal procurement into the university’s overall procurement policy. Mary Aylesworth, SFU’s Director of Financial Operations, is excited to see SFU take action on reconciliation by supporting Indigenous entrepreneurship and economic development. She says, “I want to see this grow, so that all public sector organizations think about how they can work with Aboriginal businesses before going out to the general market.”

 

On the environmental side, the Province of BC took a leap forward in supporting the transition to clean technology vehicles by making it more accessible for BC’s public sector to invest in charging infrastructure. It’s a big deal for action on climate change, as each electric vehicle on the road in BC displaces four tonnes of CO2 annually. The BC Procurement Services Branch collaborated with the BC Climate Action Secretariat to release a supply arrangement to purchase Electric Vehicle Charging Stations. The full service arrangement allows client departments to solicit bids from a pool of pre-qualified suppliers, including regional distributors and electricians.

 

The report highlights other innovative member initiatives—the University of Alberta’s new designation as a Fair Trade Campus, an innovative box spring recycling pilot with an Indigenous social enterprise by the City of Winnipeg, the recycling of used oil filters and containers, glycol and waste fuel at the City of Edmonton’s network of Eco Stations and an ambitious new Zero Waste Food Ware Strategy and series of plastic waste reduction initiatives by UBC’s Student Housing and Hospitality Services (SHHS).

 

Looking to the Future

Reeve is proud of member accomplishments and is excited about the growth of the network in 2019. “The MCSP fulfills a very important niche as the only known Canada-wide sustainable procurement network catering specifically to public procurement professionals,” he says. “We have a new strategic plan to chart our course to 2022 and are looking forward to supporting a diverse range of public sector organizations to gain better business and social value from sustainable procurement.”

 

Download the full report here and contact Tim Reeve at tim@reeveconsulting.com if you are interested in learning more about the MCSP.

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The Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (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 in procurement.

 

 

9 ways to get the most out of your MCSP membership

MCSP provides a peer-based forum to share information, resources, technical expertise and best practices in social, environmental and ethical procurement for the public and higher education sectors. Find below how to maximize bang for your buck as a member.

 

1. Grow your network 

Figure out who’s who in sustainable procurement in Canada and have direct access to their contact information.

 

2. Benchmark your programs and track progress

Benefit from benchmarking sessions at the beginning and end of the year to help compare your program to other members’ and evaluate the effectiveness of your efforts throughout the year.

 

3. Receive customized consulting support

Have a 1-on-1 action planning session with Reeve Consulting, MCSP’s secretariat and Vancouver-based sustainability strategy consultancy specializing in social and environmental procurement programs.

 

4. Profile your learnings, successes and leadership

Highlight your organization in our Peer Exchange Webinars and year-end National Best Practices Report published in Municipal World and B2B Purchasing Magazine, as well as feature your CPO in our annual CPO Panel. Raise the profile of your programs and build a greater business case for your work. Bonus Tip: We can also help you with award submissions (e.g. the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council Leadership Award).

 

5. Offer training and professional development for your staff

Access professional development credits for purchasing staff (CDP for SCMA) and access past webinars.

 

6. Collaborate across departments

Break down siloes between sustainability, procurement, and other departments. Invite marketing, fleet management, facilities, training and development, and other relevant departments to topic-specific Peer Exchanges Webinars to start conversations and develop integrative strategies. Bonus Tip: Split the cost across procurement, sustainability, and training budgets if budgets are tight!

 

7. Invite all relevant staff

Your MCSP membership includes access for your entire organization meaning there’s no limit to how many employees can benefit from our program and resources. Take advantage and build an internal culture of best value procurement. Bonus Tip: Book a meeting room and enjoy Peer Exchange Webinars together for best results!

 

8. Leverage resources from our online resource bank

Your membership includes access to checklists, questionnaires, templates, training materials such as supplier self-assessment questionnaires, a green events checklist, how-to guides for developing and implementing strategic priorities, and more.

 

9. Get involved 

Really committed to sustainable procurement? Join our Steering Committee to set strategic directions for the program and/or one of our Working Groups to co-create tools and resources with other leaders in the MCSP network.

 

For more information contact Alyssa McDonald at alyssa@reeveconsulting.com or (514) 772-6318.