Sustainable Purchasing

3 Reasons Why Refurbished Technology Could Be the Answer for You

Is your company in the market to upgrade your technology products? According to Free Geek Portland, over 70% of overall toxic waste in America is from e-waste (1). E-waste is a term used to describe electronics at the end of its useful life and are discarded or given to a recycler (2). With an increase of organizations operating fully or partially remote, it is important to source technology products responsibly and ensure said products are refurbished or recycled properly at the end of their useful life.

Our society is becoming increasingly dependent on technology, and the number of electronic products that are purchased brand-new and hit the landfill in short order is troubling. There is a significant opportunity to counteract this negative phenomenon by purchasing refurbished technology. It can be an excellent choice if you are looking to do good for our planet and to save some money. At Reeve, we’re walking the talk! Despite our tech purchases being relatively low value, we believe that no impact is too small to make a difference. Whether it be a laptop, a monitor, or a keyboard and mouse set, we have been purchasing from Free Geek for the last two years, a non-profit organization that refurbishes unwanted technology to reduce environmental impact from e-waste.

So, could refurbished technology be the answer for you and your company? Here are some of the reasons why we believe so.

  1. Buying refurbished saves money

You or your company might not have a big budget for technology products and that’s okay! Technology can be expensive, especially if you have a few items to purchase for your staff. Purchasing refurbished technology can save you a few hundred dollars per piece. When purchasing from trusted suppliers, refurbished products are often inspected and repaired by the original manufacturer or a qualified third party to ensure that it’s functional.

 

  1. E-Waste is harmful to the environment and society

We already know that waste is a large issue in our society and are always reminded to reduce and reuse before recycling. End of life electronics are no different; in fact, e-waste has a large list of chemicals that are harmful to our environment if they are not discarded properly. Often, e-waste is sent from a high-income country to a low-income country where there are little to no regulations, or regulations are poorly enforced. Along with e-waste being harmful to our environment, it is highly toxic to humans as well. According to the World Health Organization, many women and children from developing countries work in the informal e-waste sector and exposure to high levels of contaminants can lead to irreversible health problems such as cancer and neurological damage(3).

 

  1. Buying refurbished minimizes emissions

When opting for a refurbished product, you are minimizing the amount of carbon emissions from the entire life cycle of the product. Products made of virgin materials have embedded carbon emissions all the way from resource extraction to manufacturing to product use and end of life, not to mention all the land, air, or sea transportation throughout the life cycle. If your business is looking for ways to minimize your carbon emissions, buying refurbished instead of brand new is a great way to do so.

It may seem troubling that our reliance on technology is becoming more significant; however, there is an opportunity to limit your impact by shopping refurbished or donating items to an organization that refurbishes technology near you. If purchasing refurbished isn’t an option, make sure you look for sustainable eco-labels such as Energy Star or EPEAT. If you don’t have a non-profit organization like Free Geek near you, Best Buy’s Refurbished Program and Facebook Marketplace is also great options. Next time you are in the market for technology products, challenge yourself to minimize your impact by considering refurbished products before buying new!

Sources: 

  1. Free Geek Portland (https://www.freegeek.org)
  2. United States Environmental Protection Agency (https://www.epa.gov/international-cooperation/cleaning-electronic-waste-e-waste)
  3. World Health Organization (https://www.who.int/news/item/15-06-2021-soaring-e-waste-affects-the-health-of-millions-of-children-who-warns)

How Increasing Our Budget Got Us Best Value Promo Tees

 

Are you purchasing promotional merchandise for your staff or your next event? Do you ever think about the life cycle of a product and the emissions created from cradle-to-grave before making a purchase? Read on to see how the Reeve team made their decision in purchasing the most sustainable tees for their annual beach clean-up.

Sustainability is increasingly becoming more of a standard for our day to day lives. Customers are demanding that corporations do better. Rather than looking for the lowest price item, consumers are willing to pay more to purchase items with the best value, whether that be repurposed or sustainably sourced materials or avoiding fast fashion and unethical labor practices. With the state of our environment, it has become evident that corporations and individuals need to do their part to ensure our planet is healthy and sustainable for generations to come.

How we decided on a sustainable option for Reeve merchandise

Recently, the Reeve Team was on the market for promotional t-shirts to host our annual beach clean-up with It’s Your Time. With sustainability constantly on top of our minds, it was our priority to ensure the tees met our 4 pillars of sustainable procurement; qualities such as supporting ethical labor, sustainably sourced cotton, and supporting local businesses were important to us. After doing some initial research online, it was clear that the lowest price shirts would be travelling thousands of miles, made with toxins harmful for the planet and workers, and put together by children working 16+ hours a day. With Reeve supporting clients daily to achieve their own sustainable procurement goals, these features were not something we could put ourselves behind.

This was when we reached out to our friend Denise Taschereau, co-founder of Fairware, for advice on sustainable promotional merchandise that was still cost-friendly for a small business. At Reeve, we have a limited budget for marketing and promotional products, but it was important to make sure the product was aligned with our values. We could have purchased similar products for half the price, but with the exciting features of these tees mentioned below, we stuck to our decision to purchase the most sustainable (and extremely comfy) tees.

3 reasons why we chose eco-friendly products

After learning about the risks and opportunities involved with purchasing eco-friendly promotional products, Denise’s team pointed us to their Tentree products.

“Made with 100% Fairtrade certified, 100% organic cotton and Cradle to Cradle Certified® at the gold level, these tees are some of the best, highest quality tees we could have sourced” – Denise Taschereau, Fairware co-founder.

1. Climate Friendly

Not only is Tentree a a B-Corp and Climate Neutral Certified company but we were also highly impressed with their Climate Action Plan. Their Action Plan includes important aspects such as reducing their carbon emissions, offsetting emissions that are created through projects outside their value chain, and of course measuring their emissions to ensure progress.

2. Ethical Manufacturing and Sourcing

Through their production process, Tentree has focused on reducing water and the use of hazardous chemicals. They have also committed to using only sustainable materials in their products such as organic cotton, recycled polyester and hemp, which have a much lower environmental impact than traditional materials. Like Reeve’s recommendations for suppliers to post factory locations publicly, we were impressed with Tentree’s transparency about the manufacturers and suppliers they choose to work with. It is important to us that they ensure manufacturers are complying with their Code of Conduct and International Labor Standards.

3. Local support

Along with all the fancy features, Tentree and Fairware are local to Vancouver, which means that they don’t need to travel thousands of miles to get to us. In fact, we were able to pick up and transport the tees via bicycle panniers to Reeve’s office in Gastown, Vancouver within 20 minutes.

 

No purchase is too small to make a difference. We need to do better to create a green economy marketplace that reflects the true social and environmental cost of manufacturing the product. Low prices will typically have a negative impact, such as unethical or child labor, and emission intensive manufacturing. When deciding on promotional merchandise to represent your brand, this is not the time to miss out on the opportunity to purchase sustainably. Next time, think about the neat features your products can have to ensure they are aligned with your company’s sustainability goals and values.

TRU launches next phase of sustainable procurement

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 Thompson Rivers University. Download the full report here

Thompson Rivers University (TRU) is home to 14,000 students across several campuses in interior BC. TRU is proud of its platinum AASHE STARS sustainability score–the highest designation available–which credits its commitment to sustainable procurement. TRU will be releasing a new campus sustainability plan this fall.

Reeve kicked off the next phase of sustainable procurement work for TRU this week. We’ll be working with a variety of departments—from the Bookstore to Facilities and Operations—to define the highest impact procurement opportunities and align procurement with the environmental and social priorities emerging from the sustainability planning process. We’ll then develop product guides and an action plan, and bring buyers across campuses together for hands-on training.

This project builds on our work with TRU earlier this spring to develop a Sustainable Procurement Guidebook for buying staff at the university. The Guidebook offers simple decision frameworks, tools and resources on how to include sustainability within PCard, multiple quotes, and Request for Proposal procurement processes.

The Draft Guide was presented to TRU’s Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee in February 2019, and they were pleased with the results. Project lead Jim Gudjonson, Director of the Office of Environment and Sustainability observed that creating the Guide renewed the important conversation among key stakeholders about implementing sustainable procurement at TRU.

This second phase will now define the priority product and service categories for sustainable procurement and equip buyers across TRU’s campuses and regional centres with focused information and training on these procurement categories.

Reeve helps Special Olympics Seattle 2018 set new sustainability benchmark

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On July 1, 2018 something very exciting will be happening in Seattle, and at Reeve we’re excited to be a part of it!  The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games opens, showcasing the abilities of athletes with intellectual disabilities in 14 Olympic-type team and individual sports. Reeve Consulting has been working closely with the Special Olympics USA Organizing Committee (SOUSA) to help them become the first Special Olympic Games to develop and deliver on a Sustainability Strategy.

In 2017, we created SOUSA’s Sustainability Strategy, which includes a framework of six sustainability goals that range from diverting waste to promoting education, sustainable transportation choices and accessibility. Responsible and sustainable procurement is also an important dimension of the Games’ sustainability strategy. Reeve also created six detailed action plans to support implementation of each goal. Drawing from our experience enabling the sustainability legacies of the Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, we’ll be working with SOUSA on their Sustainability Impact Report and a Legacy Playbook.  The Playbook will equip future organizers with a template and tools to plan their own sustainability programming. Funding for this Sustainability Partnership has been made possible by the generous support of Microsoft.

We’re glad to help set this new benchmark for sustainability excellence within the Special Olympics movement. We love how this event is all about a more respectful and inclusive society for everyone, and look forward to the events.  Find us in the stands cheering!

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).

Where We’ll Be in May: SPLC’s 2016 Summit

Reeve is heading to Washington DC in May to attend and run a session at the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council’s 2016 Summit. The Summit runs from May 24th to 26th, but there are also pre-summit short courses that will happen on May 23rd.

What’s the 2016 Summit? Following up on the Council’s well-reviewed 2015 Summit, the 2016 Summit will bring together 300 leading sustainable purchasing experts and practitioners from a wide variety of sectors and regions for two days of best practice sharing, training, and relationship building. This year’s Summit features 100+ speakers, 45+ interactive workshops, and a Leadership Awards banquet.

What are some of the things we’re excited about at the 2016 Summit?

Our roundtable, “Wider Training for Improved Results: Engaging P-Card Holders in Sustainable Purchasing” at the Innovation Accelerator session: The Innovation Accelerator session takes place from 10:40 AM – 12:10 PM, on Thursday, May 26, and features thirty roundtable presentations and discussions about innovative projects and concepts that are ready to be launched, joined, expanded, replicated, or shared for thoughtful feedback! Reeve will be running a roundtable to share the benefits of eLearning as a tool for engaging employees across the organization in sustainable purchasing activities, how to roll out this training, and the initial results of a pilot project we have been conducting with the Green Learning Centre. The best possible results of sustainable purchasing initiatives come from employees across the organization who are engaged and informed – our roundtable will help participants learn how to make this happen in their own workplaces. (Learn more about the Innovation Accelerator’s purpose and format)

Pre-Summit Short Courses: Short Courses will give participants an opportunity to go in-depth on a number of topics: Fostering Sustainable Purchasing Behavior, Supply Chain & Climate, Spend Analysis for Sustainability Leadership, Evaluating the Credibility of Sustainable Product/Services Claims, and Building a Renewable Energy Purchasing Strategy. (Summit registration is not a requirement for participating in the short courses, which take place on Monday, May 23rd).

We think the Summit will be a valuable networking and educational experience for us, and we think you’d benefit from attending too! In the hope that we’ll see you there, we’d like to extend a discount code for your use: input the MCSP2016 discount code to get 10% off when registering as a non-member.

 

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.

New eLearning Tool for Sustainable Purchasing from Reeve Consulting

With supply chain transparency quickly rising as a corporate priority –private and public sector organizations are asking themselves how they can more effectively engage with their staff around important ethical and sustainable purchasing concepts.

That’s why a new eLearning tool called The Green Learning Centre is creating a buzz. Powered by Reeve Consulting, The Green Learning Centre is a unique online communication and training program that builds employee awareness and understanding of ethical, sustainable and green purchasing in a fast, fun and effective way.

The Green Learning Centre offers three levels of courses to enable employees to quickly learn the fundamental concepts of green purchasing and sustainable supply chains using interactive videos and the latest in online learning tools. The courses have been described as fun (when was the last time you heard of an eLearning procurement course call described as fun!); they are time efficient (from 10 minutes to 30 minutes depending on the course); and they offer a consistent message as part of an enterprise wide communication program. And by drawing on the experience of Reeve Consulting’s twenty years of experience of working with hundreds of private, public and non-profit organizations, learners receive relevant information, delivered at their own pace, without ever having to leave their own desks.

The Green Learning Centre courses are effective as a stand-alone primer for sustainable purchasing, but can also be blended with in-person seminars for an even more immersive experience. In the end, employees will come away grounded in the fundamental concepts of environmental purchasing, ethical sourcing and sustainable procurement.

The Green Learning Centre has already helped organizations such as the University of British Columbia, the BC Lottery Corporation, and London Drugs take their teams to the next level in terms of awareness and understanding of green and sustainable purchasing.

Take advantage of an exclusive offer to get a 50% discount on any Green Learning Centre course in next 30 days. Offer available to the first 100 visitors using the promotion code: 92FABD68. Simply click on this link to get started.

Now Released: Report on the State of Municipal Sustainable Procurement in Canada

The fourth annual report on the State of Municipal Sustainable Procurement in Canada from Reeve Consulting, co-authored with the representatives from the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Purchasing (MCSP), is now available for public distribution. This latest report documents current trends, best practices and the major challenges faced by municipalities as they implement sustainable and ethical procurement. It presents a best practices framework for sustainable purchasing leadership and a snapshot of how major Canadian municipalities are progressing at implementing their programs
 
If you are an MCSP participant, make the most of your report by sharing it with your City Council as an example of the value of peer-to-peer collaborations.
 
>> Download the full 2013 report [PDF]
 
Please note that preparation of the 2014 annual report will be starting in September 2014 and will be using an enhanced self-evaluation framework that allows for more precise self-reporting.