Sustainable Purchasing Supports Municipalities Green Strategies and Helps Manage their Bottom Line

Sustainable purchasing and supply chains are on municipal agendas across Canada. Increasingly, decision-makers are recognizing that sustainable procurement practices add value to their carbon neutral programs, zero waste goals, economic development opportunities, risk management, leadership, efficiency and innovation while positively engaging their staff and the communities they serve. Sustainable procurement practice is relatively new to municipal governance.

To efficiently manage the learning curve, municipalities are joining together. One successful example is the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Purchasing (MCSP).  A newly released report from Reeve Consulting, The State of Municipal Sustainable Procurement in Canada is co-authored with representatives of the MCSP. This report details the current state of sustainable purchasing practices in Canada including ratings and rankings of municipal programs from the MCSP’s member cities such as Halifax, Vancouver, Whitehorse, Grand Prairie, Guelph and Saskatoon.

The MCSP pilot project was formed in 2010 and currently members represent fourteen Canadian municipalities. By leveraging their collective experiences, knowledge and resources, they are strengthening their respective sustainable purchasing programs. The steering committee includes representatives from Whitehorse, Ottawa, Edmonton, London and Victoria. Five new members were welcomed in 2011.

The 2012 report, authored by Reeve Consulting and the MCSP, details their investigation into the depth of policy development and implementation across the country. Further, where there is under leveraging, what is holding municipalities back?  There are useful insights for municipal decision-makers, discussion of the top five emerging trends in this sector, and an overview of the main challenges and top priorities for 2012.

10 Key Program Areas for Successful Sustainable Purchasing

Municipalities fast tracking their efforts will find great value in the 10 Key Program Areas for Successful Sustainable Purchasing, which includes the ingredients for a comprehensive sustainable procurement program. One key element is developing a Supplier Code of Conduct. The City of Edmonton advanced the verification framework for their Supplier Code by providing public disclosure of their apparel factory locations. Training sessions were held in 2011 for staff of the City of Halifax introducing them to sustainable procurement concepts.

A clear demonstration of leadership is the collaboration between the City of Whitehorse and the Yukon Intergovernmental Committee on Environmental Sustainability. These, and other key program areas for successful sustainable purchasing, are presented in this report along with tangible examples of implementation.

Top 5 Emerging Trends in Municipal Sustainable Procurement

The State of Municipal Sustainable Procurement in Canada features a detailed discussion of the Top Five Emerging Trends in Municipal Sustainable Procurement including supplier innovations, emerging social programming and collaboration building. Findings show that policy development is advancing and most municipalities are in the early stages of their strategic program development.

However, current resource levels, in comparison with expectations of the programs, are miss-matched. Sustainable purchasing programs have insufficient resources to capitalize on many opportunities. As a result, implementation of the majority of programs is still a challenge.

On the positive side, Finance and Sustainability Departments are increasingly realizing synergies between their financial objectives and sustainable procurement programs and are building powerful teams at the senior management and executive levels.

Despite solid progress in these areas, a major finding in The State of Municipal Sustainable Procurement in Canada, is the disproportionate amount of time spent creating policies, procedures, tools and the capacity to implement sustainable procurement practices compared to the actual application. Another area where gains should be made is de-constructing robust measurement and reporting frameworks.

2012 Program for the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Purchasing: join us!

All local governments are encouraged to participate in the MCSP no matter the size of the community they serve. Current member municipalities send representatives such as a Director of Supply Management, Procurement Manager, Senior Environment or a Sustainability Manager.

All members participate in networking teleconferences, webinars and action planning sessions held over the course of each calendar year. They share sustainable procurement lessons, best practices and tools enabling them to streamline implementation of their municipal program development. A sustainable procurement expert facilitates each discussion, the training sessions and provides project secretariat services to the collaboration.

If you would like to join this project or require more information, contact Tim Reeve by email at tim@reeveconsulting.com or by phone at 604-763-6829.

How are Municipalities Benefiting from Sustainable Supply Chain Collaboration?

Flickr / toolstop

It has nearly been a year since a group of Canadian municipalities came together to create the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Purchasing (MCSP), a project aimed at leveraging the collective experience of municipalities to advance their sustainable purchasing initiatives.

So, is the idea of sharing best practices and collaborating on special projects really paying off?

Reeve Consulting is facilitating the MCSP which is governed by a Steering Committee comprised of the cities of Ottawa, Victoria, Edmonton, London and Whitehorse. This year there are fifteen municipalities from across Canada (a number of which recently ranked highly in the U.S. and Canada Green City Index) participating in the program. A handful more, including a few from the United States, are participating on a limited basis.

Together, municipalities in the MCSP are advancing their broader sustainability agendas. Through the strategic purchase of goods and services, they’re addressing municipal targets around zero waste, climate leadership, local economic development, staff engagement and more.

Webinar: the value of municipal sustainable purchasing programs
And the work is getting noticed. Reeve Consulting, on behalf of the MCSP, was recently invited to deliver a webinar to the Clean Air Council, a group of municipalities in South Western Ontario focused on greenhouse gas reduction.

Examining the value of sustainable purchasing programs, the webinar gave participants a closer look at ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through purchasing. For example, buying energy efficient equipment or looking at transportation contracts with reduced emissions.

We’ve included the presentation in its entirety below.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/29971115 w=400&h=300]

Building on the good reception from this webinar, the MCSP will be presenting another webinar October 20. Delivered by Reeve Consulting, the session will be focused on emerging green product specifications for common municipal purchases including cleaning products, paper products, electronics and more.

Next Steps for the MCSP
Municipalities participating in the MCSP are currently measuring their 2011 progress and sustainable purchasing achievements, using the results to develop Action Plans for 2012.

At the same time research is being conducted for the 2011 Municipal Trends Report on Sustainable Purchasing, which is scheduled for release in December 2011 and will build on the 2010 report to provide an updated national snapshot on the state of sustainable purchasing across Canadian municipalities.

Planning is also underway for the 2012 program with several new special projects under consideration to help municipalities deepen the impact of their sustainable purchasing efforts including new staff education and training tools, collaborative verification programs, group subscription benefits to key ecolabeling resources and more.

Looking for more information?
Contact Tim Reeve via email or at 604.763.6829 to get a complimentary pass to an upcoming webinar or to learn more about the program.

Sustainable Purchasing Video demonstrates new media opportunities for staff communication & training

Engaging staff in the art and science of sustainable purchasing is a challenge for any organization – so we were thrilled to see this short video from the City of Edmonton (a Reeve Consulting client) which is a great example of staff communication techniques and a cost-effective approach to making green and sustainable purchasing meaningful and tangible for City employees.

The 4 minute video is targeted at administrative and general office staff across the organization and it communicates 3 simple sustainable purchasing guidelines. The video and outreach campaign is part of a broader communication and training strategy that was developed by Reeve Consulting for the City of Edmonton as part of the City’s new comprehensive green and ethical purchasing program that is considering the social and environmental effects of their more than $1 billion annual spend.

Featuring faces from across Edmonton’s municipal departments (including the City’s mayor!), the video explains why selecting products that are environmentally responsible, ethically sourced and feature minimal packaging, helps save money, improve efficiencies and make the City of Edmonton’s operations more sustainable.

Watch the short video on the City of Edmonton’s website by clicking the image below.

City of Edmonton sustainable purchasing video

Click on the image to view the full video at edmonton.ca

Whitehorse Wins Award for Sustainable Purchasing

Flickr / Larry 1732

We were delighted to hear that the City of Whitehorse recently received a Yukon Sustainable Community Award, in part for their work with the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Purchasing (MCSP), a project facilitated by Reeve Consulting.

The MCSP is comprised of a group of Canadian municipalities that are leveraging their collective experiences, knowledge and resources to strengthen their respective sustainable purchasing programs. Started as a pilot project in 2010, the group just started their first year of full-fledged programming including peer exchange teleconferences, technical training webinars, customized action planning and more.

Participating municipalities include Vancouver, Ottawa, Guelph, London, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Olds, Wood Buffalo, Halifax and others.

“Through working with these other municipalities the City is able to tap into vast amounts of research and experience not available to us individually,” said City of Whitehorse Sustainability Projects Manager, Shannon Clohosey. “Working with other municipalities has already assisted a number of City projects, including work to extend the life cycle of our computer equipment and ensuring that many of the items we purchase are made from recycled materials.”

Local governments of all sizes are invited to participate in the MCSP. If you’re interested in joining the project, or would like more information, please contact Tim Reeve at tim@reeveconsulting.com or Kevin McCarty at kevin@reeveconsulting.com or by phone at 604-763-6829.

New Report Reveals Trends & Best Practices in Canadian Municipal Sustainable Purchasing and Ethical Sourcing

Reeve Consulting and the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Purchasing recently released the first annual Trends and Best Practices in Canadian Municipal Sustainable Purchasing report, the most comprehensive discussion of municipal sustainable purchasing and ethical sourcing in Canada to date.

Beyond revealing key trends across the country and valuable best practices, the report offers a national snapshot of how Canadian municipalities are implementing sustainable purchasing programs.

Complete with a listing of common program barriers and recommended solutions, the report is a valuable resource for municipal decision-makers looking to implement impactful sustainable purchasing programming.

>> Download the Summary Report.

The full report is available from Reeve Consulting by request at tim@reeveconsulting.com or 604-763-6829.

Status of municipal sustainable purchasing in Canada

Sustainable purchasing has become a hot topic in the municipal sector. Few other internal sustainability initiatives can directly contribute to multiple civic agendas around zero waste, climate leadership, economic development, staff engagement, risk mitigation, improved operational efficiencies and cost reductions.

While comprehensive sustainable purchasing is still a relatively new field for local governments, municipalities are finding the support they require through the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Purchasing (MCSP). Formed in 2010 as a pilot project, the MCSP is comprised of a group of Canadian municipalities that are leveraging their collective experiences, knowledge and resources to strengthen their respective sustainable purchasing programs.

The Trends and Best Practices in Canadian Municipal Sustainable Purchasing report documents the great wealth of expertise shared by these and other local governments, pulling from them practical insights for municipalities looking to advance their sustainable purchasing practices.

Emerging Trends in Municipal Sustainable Purchasing

Key findings of the study show that municipalities continue to give priority to environmental issues over social or ethical considerations. The study also found that achieving some noteworthy early returns on investment, particularly a strong financial return, is key for generating momentum and further senior support for the advancement of sustainable purchasing practices. Municipalities say that their efforts are focused on developing realistic annual action plans, implementing policies or guidelines and collaborating with others to share experiences and resources.

Best Practices in Municipal Sustainable Purchasing

Readers wanting to fast track their efforts will find great value in the report’s identification and description of the 10 Program Success Factors required to maximize the impacts and benefits of sustainable purchasing.

Among these elements are following a written action plan, defining a clear sustainable purchasing policy and product guidelines, developing supplier scorecards and Codes of Conduct that outline fair labour standards, providing adequate training for purchasing and staff and engaging directly with suppliers in sustainability conversations.

These and more best practices are discussed in detail in the summary and full report.

Municipalities team up to overcome the challenges

The release of the report also marks the first year of full-fledged programming for the MCSP, which through its collaboration and resource sharing programs will help participating municipalities address challenges and priorities raised in the 2010 Trends & Best Practices in Municipal Sustainable Purchasing report. This includes seeking goods and services that conserve energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and minimize waste, as well as increasingly using scorecards and eco-labels to evaluate suppliers based on multiple social and environmental measures.

Key activities and tangible deliverables for the MCSP in 2011 include:

•          4 best practices peer exchange teleconferences

•          2 technical training webinars on focusing specific best practices

•          The 2011 Trends & Best Practices in Municipal Sustainable Purchasing report

•          Individual customized action planning sessions for each municipality

•          Access to a helpful resource library

Fast Track your Municipal Sustainable Purchasing Program – join the MCSP

Local governments of all sizes are invited to participate in the MCSP. If you’re interested in joining the project, or would like more information, please contact Tim Reeve at tim@reeveconsulting.com or Kevin McCarty at kevin@reeveconsulting.com or by phone at 604-763-6829.

The MCSP project is led by a steering committee comprised of the cities of Edmonton, Ottawa, London, Whitehorse and Victoria and is being facilitated by Reeve Consulting.

Reeve Consulting published in Canadian Property Management Magazine

Reeve Consulting recently published an article in Canadian Property Management Magazine titled “Spending Sustainably: Municipalities Leverage Purchasing Power for Broader Goals”. The article provides a brief introduction to ethical and sustainable purchasing and takes a closer look at the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Purchasing (MCSP) facilitated by Reeve Consulting. The impressive achievements of Shannon Clohosey, Sustainability Projects Manager, and her team at the City of Whitehorse are a focus throughout the piece. Read the full article HERE.

Reeve Consulting and the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Purchasing

Reeve Consulting recently initiated the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Purchasing (MCSP). The aim of this project is to leverage the collective experience of municipalities to advance their sustainable purchasing initiatives by sharing ethical and sustainable purchasing (ESP) resources and lessons learned.

The value of ethical and sustainable purchasing for municipalities

Ethical and sustainable purchasing (ESP) is becoming an increasingly important element in the sustainability sections of municipal strategic plans. Few other programs can directly contribute to multiple civic agendas around zero waste, climate leadership, local economic development, strategic sourcing and staff engagement. Among the advantages of an effective ESP program are mitigating legal and brand risks, enhancing the municipal brand as a sustainability leader, reducing costs by selecting products with less waste, energy consumption and product related health risks and building staff engagement around sustainability.

Facilitating ESP with the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Purchasing

Recognizing that ESP is a new and evolving field, Reeve Consulting understands that municipalities need access to tools and information to help them make the right decisions. Through regular conference calls, webinars, expert consultations and sharing of electronic tools, we’re facilitating the development of results-oriented ESP programs that make the best use of limited resources.

Specific initiatives undertaken by participating municipalities include reducing municipal waste by demanding products with minimal packaging, reducing carbon emissions by selecting energy efficient certified electronics, and limiting toxins by sourcing green cleaning supplies. At the same time, participating municipalities are considering the social impacts of their procurement by demanding products that meet international labour standards for fair and safe working conditions.

According to Jeff Byrne, Chief Procurement Officer, City of Ottawa, there are many benefits to participating in the MCSP program including increased access to information and lessons learned, developing civic partnership and leadership, and advancing sustainability performance in the public sector. Another active participant in the group, Shannon Clohosey, Sustainability Projects Manager, City of Whitehorse, has said she’s very optimistic about where the MCSP project is going and wants to remain active in 2011.

To date nine Canadian municipalities have joined the MCSP project, which would not be possible without the lead sponsorship support of the City of Saskatoon, City of Edmonton and City of Ottawa. We are also pleased to have additional support from the following participating members: Halifax Regional Municipality, City of London, City of Guelph, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Town of Olds and City of Whitehorse.

If you’re interested in joining the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Purchasing, please contact Tim Reeve, President of Reeve Consulting at 604-763-6829 or tim@reeveconsulting.com.