10th Annual State of the Nation Report on Sustainable Public Procurement in Canada

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.

 

Meaghan Davis, Acting Manager, Circular Economy and Innovation Unit at the City of Toronto, presenting at the 2019 Zero Waste Conference in Vancouver, BC.

Trends

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.

 

Success Stories

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.

 

Staff from Tayybeh, a female-owned and operated business that employs Syrian newcomers, preparing food for an SFU event.

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!

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About CCSP

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.

Collaborating to Activate Social Procurement for Low Value Purchases across Canada’s Public Sector

Results of the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement’s 2019 Working Group

By Alyssa McDonald

 

Social procurement is a major trend in sustainable purchasing. It has been gaining ground to complement green purchasing as more public organizations consider how their buying power can positively impact the social wellbeing of their communities such as poverty reduction, economic and social inclusion, and local economic development.

Inspired by this momentum, the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement’s 2019 Working Group with members from Calgary, Victoria, Halifax, Edmonton and Mississauga developed and piloted a training program to encourage public credit card and p-card holders to include social value when making everyday purchases like catered meals, promotional materials, and contract labour/services.

They hoped to build awareness around the opportunities for purchases under procurement thresholds, give members tools to make an impact with minimal resources, and promote a united approach for MCSP members across Canada.

 

What is a Working Group?

The MCSP’s Working Group is made of volunteers from current member institutions interested in working together to advance thought-leadership and co-create resources on a topic of mutual interest. They convene for 5-6 facilitated meetings throughout the year and present their work to all members at our final Peer Exchange webinar.

 

How was social procurement defined?

The group’s definition of social procurement is best defined by the presentation itself (see image on right).

More specifically, it signifies purchasing goods and services from suppliers including social enterprises and suppliers that demonstrate best practices in:

  • diversity, inclusion, and accessibility of marginalized populations,
  • providing employment and training for youth and people with employment barriers (e.g. people with disabilities, new immigrants, chronically unemployed, ex-offenders, etc.),
  • offering full-time and living wage employment for marginalized and targeted populations,
  • considering social value in their production process (e.g. Fairtrade, B Corps, etc.), and/or
  • adopting advanced health and safety practices.

 

What did the Working Group accomplish?

The Working Group developed a 15-minute training on “Including Social Value in Your Low-Value Purchases” to deliver to p-cards and credit card holders in public organizations. The content included key definitions, the business case for social procurement, and how and when to consider social value when making a purchase. Additionally, it shared 4 recent social procurement success stories.

Once the training was complete, members tested it on nearly 40 staff across 4 cities – Victoria, Halifax, Edmonton, and Calgary – and used the feedback to finetune the content and create additional resources such as an FAQ document and a guide on “How to Find a Social Value Business”.

 

What did participants think?

Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive! They agreed (average score of 4.8/5) that the training:

  1. Enhanced their understanding of the concept and benefits of including social value in their purchases;
  2. Offered relevant information to help them include social value in their purchases; and
  3. Made them more likely to include social value considerations in their purchases.

Feedback forms included quotes like: “Learning about this topic and seeing that the city supports this initiative is making me think about how my section can improve. I hadn’t thought about my purchases like this prior!” and “I’m happy that the city is encouraging more sustainable and community-driven purchases rather than promoting buying whatever is cheapest!” Likewise, the success stories – like the one from Edmonton below – were often cited as insightful and motivating.

 

 

What’s next?

The training materials are shared with MCSP’s 20 member organizations through our online Resource Centre and are actively being updated with new success stories from across our network. Victoria and Halifax have formally integrated the new content into their staff training sessions and intranets… and we’re actively looking for more public organizations interested in implementing sustainable procurement in 2020!

This year, our network is relaunching as the Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (CCSP) to officially open our community to the entire public sector and offer more accessible pricing to smaller organizations. Find out more in our new program brochure and reach out to us if you’re interested.

 

READ MORE

Considering end-of-life management in municipal tenders 

This spring, the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (MCSP) launched its latest Annual Report on the State of Sustainable Public Procurement in Canada containing 9 success stories from members including this story from the City of Edmonton below. Download the full report here

 

City of Edmonton diverts used oil filters and containers, glycol, and waste fuel from landfills  

In June 2018, the City of Edmonton awarded a contract for the sustainable end-oflife management of oil and oil productssuch as oil filters and containersglycol, and waste fuelfrom the City’s Eco Stations and fleet maintenance shops.  

First, the tender required bidders to validate their downstream processes showing how products will be processed and recycled. Then, the Corporate Procurement and Supply Services Branch worked with the Waste Services Branch to choose a credible processor and create a contract that ensures the processor complies with the City’s environmental regulations and effectively diverts oil and oil products from landfills 

Through this tendera significant amount of oil and oil products is diverted from landfills. High quality used automotive oil is re-refined into new lubricating oil. Lower quality used oil is processed into a fuel that can be used by pulp mills, cement and asphalt plants, and other industrial applications. Oil filters are crushed (with the residual oil captured) and processed by a metal recycler for manufacturing into construction materials such as rebar and pipe. Plastic oil containers are pelletized and used as feedstock for products such as new containers, guardrails, fence posts and railway ties.  

According to Hieu Lam, Senior Buyer at the City’s Corporate Procurement and Supply Services, “We were able to facilitate this procurement because we have the appropriate infrastructure in place. The City’s Eco Stations do a great job in collecting and separating product, which makes it easier for the processor to collect and haul the product to their site.” In this case, the City has taken a full life cycle and multi-stakeholder approach that involves engaging with suppliers as partners in delivering an effective city program.  

 

City of Edmonton’s Eco Station Program  

The City of Edmonton’s Eco Station program provides residents four convenient, environmentally sound, costeffective, and safe facilities to drop off household hazardous waste (including oil and oil products), universal waste, general waste, and recyclables. It has operated for 23 years, and as of 2016 served over 2.7 million customers and diverted over 4 million gallons of household hazardous waste (HHW). The program is responsible for the diversion of almost half of the HHW in the Province of Alberta, though it represents only 21% of the population. It was honored with a Special Waste Management Gold Award of Excellence from the Solid Waste Association of North America in 2016.  

 

About the MCSP

Learn more about the MCSP here and contact Tim Reeve at tim@reeveconsulting.com if you’d like to join our network.

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.