Impact Sourcing Means Going All In

Funding

In sustainable purchasing, there is often talk of “market readiness” for sustainable products and services. The idea is that sometimes organizations or consumers wish to purchase a more environmentally, ethically, or socially sustainable option, but the market has not yet produced this option, or does not produce it at scale. In these cases, purchasers can leverage their collective power to help influence the market to develop in a sustainable direction, through advocacy, or even direct investment. When it comes to sustainable services, sometimes the commodity that needs developing is the available labour itself.

Help develop a market-ready young person in Uganda

A few weeks ago we posted about a new trend in sustainable procurement and global economic development called impact sourcing. Driven by initiatives from organizations such as the Rockefeller Foundation, “‘Impact sourcing’ is an inclusive employment practice through which companies intentionally connect high-potential, disadvantaged youth to available jobs.” The practice is taking off, with tech giants such as Microsoft beginning to capitalize on a win-win opportunity.

However, the jobs created when companies are practicing impact sourcing are only one half of the equation: these high-potential youth still need the education and training required to successfully perform at their jobs. Impact sourcing requires capacity-building. In order to develop this market of young and promising employees, we must find ways to invest in their education.

The African continent is a place where there is an abundance of high-potential youth who are desperately in need of sustainable employment. In many African countries, such as Uganda, education is prohibitively expensive for much of the population, and youth cannot access loans to defray the costs. As a result, even if jobs appear through impact sourcing employment creation, many prospective applicants would find themselves under-prepared to fill the positions.

So what can be done? Reeve believes in grassroots capacity-building, which is why we are helping to support a young and promising Ugandan student to fulfil her higher education dreams. Please check out Rosemary Nakasiita’s story here, and consider how you too might help push toward market readiness for impact sourcing.

Help Rosemary Nakasiita Get Her University Degree on Indiegogo

BuySmart Workshop: Maximizing the impact of sustainable purchasing, Nov 30

Are you committed to sustainability but unsure of how it can be realized within procurement? Take away practical tools, approaches and learn of real-world case examples in sustainable purchasing during this practical and inspiring half-day session on sustainable purchasing!

Who is this workshop meant for?

The BuySmart workshops have been designed for staff in public, private and non-profit organizations who are responsible for purchasing, sustainability or corporate responsibility in their organizations — and anyone else with an interest in sustainable purchasing and its associated social, environmental and financial benefits.

Why is this workshop useful to you and your organization?

This BuySmart workshop will show you how to leverage your purchasing power using simple tools such as scorecards and product guidelines. It can provide you with the knowledge and resources to:

  • Maximize the strategic impact of your sustainable purchasing program
  • Send clear sustainability performance signals to the market and enhance relationships with your suppliers
  • Refine your procurement process to:
  1. Integrate sustainability into bid documents
  2. Introduce supplier sustainability performance scorecards
  3. Consider the different methods of evaluating supplier proposals
  4. Establish sustainability standards and clauses for different commodity groups
  5. Use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure sustainable purchasing program impacts.

Have your questions answered first-hand by people with a wealth of experience in sustainable purchasing. The workshop is facilitated by Tim Reeve, co-founder of the BuySmart network and President of Reeve Consulting, along with Cora Strandberg. They will be joined by guest speakers Victoria Wakefield of UBC and Jason Boyce of Nature’s Path Foods.

Where can I sign up?

To register, please visit buysmartbc.com.

A 20% discount is offered for organizations sending two or more participants.

For more details, feel free to call Bob Purdy at 604-488-5355.

Register soon as spaces are limited!

Maximize the Impact of Sustainable Purchasing – join us for the next BuySmart Learning Event

Are you familiar with the basics of sustainable purchasing? Would you like to customize your organization’s procurement process to align with sustainability principles? An upcoming BuySmart learning event focused on Maximizing the Impact of Sustainable Purchasing will put you on the right track.

Designed for staff in public, private and non-profit organizations responsible for purchasing, sustainability or corporate responsibility, workshop topics will include how to integrate sustainability into bid documents, create performance scorecards for suppliers, evaluate proposals and more. Presenters will additionally profile product guidelines and specifications among other helpful tools.

Presented by the BuySmart Network, a non-profit dedicated to advancing sustainability in BC and beyond, the event will feature new workshops lead by BuySmart Co-Founders Tim Reeve and Coro Strandberg, whose last co-facilitated session in February sold out with very positive reviews.

Guest speaker Vicki Wakefield, Purchasing Manager for Student Housing, Hospitality and Food Services at the University of British Columbia (UBC), will show participants how UBC is applying these tools within the request for proposals (RFP) process.

Pre-registration is recommended, as space is limited. Sign-up through the BuySmart Network’s Eventbrite site and join us for a morning of strategy, practical insights and useful tools that will help your organization leverage its purchasing power for social, environmental and financial benefits.

Round Two: Building our Second Environmental and Sustainable Procurement Program for the Winter Olympic Games

Being a part of the bid that brought the Winter Olympic Games to Vancouver in 2010 was a once in a lifetime opportunity – as was getting to work as an expert advisor to the 2010 Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) on the award-winning Buy Smart Program. So it is with great excitement that I undertake the opportunity to apply my experiences a second time by advising the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games on the development of their Environmental and Sustainable Procurement Program.

During a recent fact-finding and project kick-off visit to Moscow I met with members of the Sohci 2014 Executive Team as well as key staff in functional areas such as Procurement, Environment, Sustainability, Licensing, Food & Beverage, Cleaning & Waste, and Marketing. The purpose of these meetings was to confirm the vision for the project and begin the design of a comprehensive environmental and sustainable procurement program. Another main focus was to begin to identify high profile products and services for showcasing a green and sustainable Olympic Games. Potential areas of opportunity include local food, products with minimal packaging and joint ventures with local firms.

My time in Moscow was intense, enjoyable and I met many wonderful people, and overall the experience left me with a number of high-level impressions including the following:

Similarities with VANOC: While Moscow is half a world away from my hometown of Vancouver, I was struck by the similarities between the office of the Sochi Organizing Committee and VANOC. A number of elements felt very familiar including the open plan layout, long working hours, and incredibly dedicated, highly qualified staff. There were also a number of familiar Canadian faces including Dennis Hainault (advising on venue management) and Ron Holton (advising on risk management programming).

Magnitude of the project: Getting ready for the 2014 Olympics is a huge undertaking and includes a $30 billion investment in construction to create a brand new stadiums, hockey rinks, curling rinks, speed skating venue as well as re-building the nearby ski hill and rail line that travels between the mountain venue and Sochi.

Sophistication of project systems: While in Moscow I was introduced to the Enterprise Resource Planning System, a complex project management and procurement system for managing all products and materials purchased. In addition, the Organizing Committee has set up a centralized Project Planning Office that helps to coordinate all internal projects with the overall Master Plan for the Games.

Hope and vision: The environmental and sustainable procurement program is aiming to be a straightforward and practical program with the potential to have a significant impact in key areas such as energy efficiency, packaging and economic opportunities for the surrounding region. The Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee is fortunate to have great staff teams in the Environment and Sustainability Functions – and I’m inspired by their passion to do great things for their country and honored to be a part of a new green movement within the Russian Federation.

I’m looking forward to returning to Moscow in early 2011 to finalize the design of the procurement program. I’m also hopeful that this partnership will continue beyond the program design phase and that Reeve Consulting will have the opportunity to support the ongoing implementation of the project leading up to the 2014 Winter Games.

Reeve Consulting on Twitter

Reeve Consulting is now on Twitter at @ReeveConsulting.

Our tweets focus on sustainable supply chains, ethical sourcing, product certification programs, greenwashing, corporate social responsibility, Reeve Consulting projects and more.

We’re having a great time in the ‘Twitterverse’ connecting with our clients and colleagues and learning a lot from advocacy and news groups in our sector. We hope you’ll join the conversation and connect with us on Twitter. We’re sharing interesting news and helpful resources for improving your sustainable sourcing efforts.

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.

Can sweatshops improve lives and economic growth?

Flickr / lovstromp

Benjamin Powell, a Stafford University professor of economics, thinks so!

In his book No Sweat: How Sweatshops Improve Lives and Economic Growth he argues that we should rejoice when we buy apparel made in sweatshops because it creates jobs and provides a living for people in poorer countries. He states that sweatshop workers usually earn at least the national average and therefore make a good living that should be supported by our consumption.

But Powell is “arguing in support of the lesser evil.” The other piece of the puzzle that Powell seems to ignore is that the same companies that are using sweatshops could continue to invest in developing economies, bring jobs to the same nations, and improve economic welfare, while at the same time refusing to support sweatshops conditions.

The fact is, whether or not workers earn a decent wage, the human rights of sweatshop workers are consistently violated, making Powell’s argument hard to swallow. Many factories workers suffer forced overtime, terrible factory conditions and often receive less than they were promised, in salary or food. In some case children are exploited and are not able to receive an education as a result.

At Reeve Consulting, we believe lives can be improved and economies can grow by engaging with suppliers and manufacturers to improve labour conditions in production facilities. Addressing ethics in supply chains does not mean closing down factories and laying off staff; it means working to improve the lives of factory workers, increasing profits for factory owners, and stimulating economic growth.

Whatever the potential economic arguments for sweatshops may be, one should not forget that “an economy” is a human construct and is therefore interconnected to human wellbeing. Some sweatshops may pay decent wages (relatively speaking) in some or even many cases, but a factory where staff are sick and tired is not a place where lives can be improved and profits can be maximized.

Reeve ‘Out and About’: Bridging The Gap with Engineers Without Borders

Reeve Consulting participated in two panel discussions this past weekend as part of this year’s Bridging The Gap conference presented by Engineers Without Borders (EWB).

Held March 14th at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver, ‘Bridging The Gap’ explored how the collaborative actions of individuals, corporations, NGOs, and government can impact extreme poverty. With the theme “Collaborating for Human Development – the hidden power of our choices,” professional and student delegates examined the influence of their actions at home, on the development field, in parliament and in boardrooms.

The day was full of discussion, debate, collaboration, and learning. Workshops and sessions were led by an engaging line-up of speakers such as Parker Mitchell, co-founder of EWB and Dr. James Orbinski, president of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) and Nobel Laureate. Kevin McCarty, who joined Reeve Consulting in October 2009, participated in the following panel discussions:

Fair Trade: The Story, presented the history and key principles of Fair Trade, as well as the unique firsthand Fair Trade experiences of the panellists. Kevin shared his experience working in Bolivia with two micro-finance organizations, where he examined the Fair Trade certification process from the producer’s perspective. He was accompanied by fellow panellists Lloyd Bernhardt of Ethical Bean and Karla Bloomfield, Fair Trade Textile Market Researcher and Capacity Builder.

The Power of Purchase: Ethical Decision Making by Consumers Like You, illustrated the common consumer’s ability to create equality and promote human development through purchasing decisions. Kevin, who was accompanied by Mel Phadtare of Junxion Strategy Inc., presented the difference between ethical, fair trade, social and green purchasing and demonstrated how ethical purchasing, in particular, helps to ensure human rights are respected throughout the supply chain.

Reeve Consulting would like to thank EWB for inviting Kevin to participate in this year’s Bridging The Gap conference and would like to recognize all the hard work that the EWB team of volunteers put into this year’s event. It was a great success, keep up the good work!