How to use the MCSP’s latest report to improve your sustainable procurement program

    This spring, the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (MCSP), a group of 19 leading Canadian public institutions, launched its latest Annual Report on the State of Sustainable Public Procurement in Canada.

    The report outlines the latest trends in circular and sustainable public procurement, benchmarks members progress at implementing the MCSP best practices framework and offers member updates and success stories. Not only is it a great read, but it’s also useful when improving your sustainable procurement programs. Find 5 tips on how you can leverage the report below.

     

    1. Share it with leadership

    Send the report to your senior leadership team and/or council. If you’re just getting started, it can inspire your leaders to see what’s possible and share with them that you are part of a movement across the country. And if your organization is featured as a success story, it showcases that you’re leading sustainable public procurement in Canada. The good PR can help justify more resources and support for your initiatives.

     

    2. Get inspired

    Check out the member program development section (p. 14) and success stories (p. 18-30) to inspire new initiatives for the upcoming year.

     

    3. Connect with other members

    Compare your benchmarking results (p. 12) to those of other organizations and reach out to members who rank high on areas you’re looking to improve in.

     

    4. Align your program with best practices

    Review the MCSP’s 10-point Best Practice Framework (p. 10) with your team and internal stakeholders. Discuss gaps and opportunities to further embed sustainable purchasing across your organization.

     

    5. Publicize your successes

    If you have a success story, share the report with your marketing and communications team as well as local publications to have your initiatives shared broadly to your stakeholders. Communicating successes is key to generating more buy-in for your work!

    Shout-out to The City of Winnipeg who had their success story mentioned in The Winnipeg Free Press. Read the article here.

     

    Want to learn more?

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

    2014 Annual Report Reveals Current Trends & Best Practices in Municipal Sustainable Purchasing in Canada

    MCSP 2014 Report Cover PageReeve Consulting and the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (MCSP) recently released the fifth annual MCSP State of the Nation Report, summarizing the latest trends, best practices, examples and case studies of Municipal Sustainable Procurement in Canada. The report provides a wealth of information on how municipalities across Canada are progressing at implementing the practice of sustainable procurement and is a valuable 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 2015 programming for the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement, which through its collaboration and resource sharing programs will help participating municipalities address challenges and priorities raised in the 2014 State of the Nation report. In addition, the report specifically profiles success stories from each MCSP member municipality. By joining the MCSP in 2015, you can ensure that your municipality’s important sustainable purchasing work will be showcased in the next report, allowing you to highlight your great sustainable purchasing work, both internally and to your city council.

    The Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement is led by a steering committee comprised of the cities of Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna, Ottawa, Saskatoon, and Vancouver, and is being facilitated by Reeve Consulting. Currently the Collaboration includes 13 municipalities from across Canada. Local governments of all sizes are invited to participate.

    For more information about this national network, visit the MCSP website

    Media Contact:

    Tim Reeve

    President, Reeve Consulting

    Phone: 604-763-6829

    Email: tim@reeveconsulting.com

    Reeve’s on the Road at the PMAC National Conference!

    ottawa

    Reeve Consulting has once again hit the road to attend the PMAC National Conference: Capitalizing on Supply Chain Solutions. It’s great to be back in Ottawa and to have the opportunity to lend our expertise to creating the sustainable supply chain solutions that will take us into a greener future.

    Big things are in the works here as well. On Wednesday, June 12th, the Purchasing Management Association of Canada (PMAC) and Supply Chain and Logistics Association Canada (SCL) members voted to merge the two associations to form the Supply Chain Management Association (SCMA). The new association is set to launch September 3rd and will retain the high standards set by both associations. We at Reeve would like to congratulate the SCMA and look forward to their continued dedication to Canadian Supply Chain professionals.

    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.

    Due North: Strengthening Green & Sustainable Purchasing in the Yukon

    Flickr / Arthur Chapman

    Various orders of government in the Yukon are committed to reducing the environmental impact of their operations by designing and implementing customized environmental and sustainability policies, projects and programs.

    To this end, the Yukon Intergovernmental Committee on Environmental Sustainability (YICES) is focused on identifying opportunities for collaboration to advance a collective sustainability agenda and strengthen individual programs. Recently Reeve Consulting worked with YICES to plan, organize and facilitate a sustainable purchasing workshop in Whitehorse.

    Held on October 27th the full-day workshop attracted more than 50 participants, including government staff from four orders of government (federal, territorial, municipal and First Nations) as well as participants from other major organizations in the North such as NorthwesTel, Yukon Energy Corporation and Yukon College.

    With a focus on increasing support and skills for green and sustainable purchasing, as well as catalyzing a network between various levels of government to strengthen sustainability initiatives, a key outcome of the event was the high degree of enthusiasm that participants demonstrated for collaboration.

    Workshop Highlights

    The day kicked-off with a welcoming address from Mike Johnson, Deputy Minister, Highways and Public Works for the Yukon Government who highlighted the importance of sustainable purchasing to the Territories strategic objectives of reducing costs, improving services and infrastructure. Johnson contextualized his remarks with the effects of climate change on the North and the millions being spent to repair highways and roads as a result of permafrost break-up.

    Key drivers for sustainable purchasing were highlighted in the first session of the day, with a clear overview of the business case and level of support required to develop a successful sustainable purchasing program. Speakers David Knight, Manager, Procurement Services for Highways and Public Works in the Yukon and Melissa Hall, Procurement Advisor, Corporate Services for Aboriginal Affairs  & Northern Development Canada, made compelling cases around how sustainable purchasing is helping to take advantage of eco-efficiencies associated with reduced packaging, product take-back and reduced greenhouse gas emissions – issues critical to northern communities were transportation costs can be at a premium.

    To walk the talk, Reeve Consulting worked with organizers to have Madelaine Plouffe, Green Procurement Team Leader with Public Works Government Services Canada in Gatineau, Quebec provide a lunchtime keynote address via video conferencing technology that allowed for a live and interactive presentation.

    A preliminary review of the evaluations shows that participants were very pleased with the event. To build on this momentum, YICES is now working on outlining future workshops.

    Environment Yukon has linked to many of the presentations from the day on their homepage. Slides from Reeve Consulting’s presentations [PDF] are also available online.

    Talking strategy with City of Whitehorse & the Arctic Winter Games

    While in Whitehorse, Tim Reeve also took the opportunity to continue some strategic planning with the City of Whitehorse on the development of their environmental sustainable purchasing policy.

    Tim also had the opportunity to stop by the offices of the Arctic Winter Games to meet with organizers and offer some thoughts on how they can achieve zero waste goals for the Games in March 2012.

    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.

    Canada votes: party platforms pass the buck on responsible purchasing

    Flickr / alexindigo

    While the economy and healthcare are receiving the most airtime during this Canadian federal election, polls show that the environment remains a top election issue. However, meaningful discussion of environmental concerns has been seriously lacking within the overall debate.

    After reviewing the environmental and sustainability components of the main parties’ election platforms (Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and Green Party) we were sadly disappointed to see little mention of sustainable purchasing as a key component of their strategy (we did find a short section at the end of the Green Party’s Vision Green – section 6.4 to be exact)

    Not surprisingly, all the parties have environmental promises in the area of action against climate change and supporting cleaner forms of energy. While support for a green economy varies across the parties, all show favour for employment in the environmental sector, whether it’s through investment in renewable energy, clean technologies, energy efficiency or related research and development.

    Missed opportunity: ethical and sustainable purchasing investment

    The Canadian Government spends over $20 billion per year on goods and services on behalf of Canadians – a huge opportunity to contribute directly to a green economy.

    Flickr / waferboard

    Beyond supporting environmental protection, purchasing decisions that consider labour conditions and support a local economy would round out a purchasing program to its fullest triple-bottom line potential. Among the advantages of an effective ethical and sustainable purchasing program are enhancing the image of the national government as a sustainability leader, mitigating legal and brand risks, reducing costs by selecting products with less waste, energy consumption and product related health concerns.

    While the government of Canada currently has a green purchasing policy, Reeve Consulting knows from our experience working with the public sector across Canada that policy alone does not necessarily equate to significant impact and benefits. What’s needed is a clear plan for implementation, and perhaps most importantly, training and staff capacity to ensure success. Basically, a level of investment that would fit well in the environment section of an election platform.

    Large investment for even larger returns

    While we fully acknowledge it takes resources to achieve an effective ethical and sustainable purchasing program, the potential results are huge.

    Few other programs can directly contribute to multiple sustainability agendas around climate leadership, energy efficiency, waste reduction, local economic development, strategic sourcing and government employee engagement.

    Moving in the right direction

    We realize that transitioning $20 billion in spending to responsible and sustainable procurement program takes time. However we can’t help but notice the lucrative opportunities to support green products and technologies that continue to pass the government by, including low hanging fruit in the form of the G20 dignitary gifts, and more complex, but full of potential, stimulus spending in Canada’s Economic Action Plan.

    Flickr / Muffet

    Adoption of the Government of Canada’s green purchasing policy is a good first step and suggests Ottawa is on the right track, but we’d like to see far more – from both the current Conservative Government (oops! Harper Government) as well as those that would like to assume a leadership position within parliament.

    Be sure to get out and vote on May 2 and next time you run into your MP raise the issue of responsible purchasing and sustainable supply chains

    Cotton Supply Chain: organic & fair trade sustainability in the global market

    2010 was a record-breaking year for cotton prices in global markets. In this post, Reeve Consulting presents an overview of recent market activity, considers the implications for working and environmental conditions in the supply chain and takes a look at how organic and fair-trade cotton sectors are fairing. We finish with a few suggestions for corporate and governmental purchasers looking to reduce brand risk and improve ethical and sustainable purchasing practices when it comes to cotton goods.


    Flickr / kimberlykv

    Cotton is the largest non-food crop in the world with over 24.3 million tonnes consumed worldwide annually. Did you know it’s also the largest employer? From farm workers to retail employees, an estimated 1 billion people are involved in the growing, processing and selling stages.

    Given the ubiquity of cotton, it’s significant that 2010 was an unprecedented year for the commodity in global markets. The price doubled in a year and broke the $1 (U.S.) per pound level for the first time in 15 years.

    Globe and Mail / Bloomberg

    Rising prices affects the entire supply chain

    A number of factors have been attributed to the sudden price increase, a main one being poor weather conditions in top growing regions, including floods in Pakistan, a severe cold snap in China, crop-killing hailstorms in Texas and, more recently, flooding in Australia. Speculation has played a significant role, as well as export restrictions put in place by India (the second-largest cotton producer) to protect domestic supplies and prices.

    Consequently, the clothing sector is feeling the squeeze of both increasing input costs and a weak consumer environment. According to media reports, the prices of jeans, t-shirts and other cotton apparel will likely increase 2 – 15% in 2011.

    Clean Clothes Campaign

    To avoid passing a price hike to consumers, clothing companies may reduce costs by mixing in less expensive, synthetic fibers or by decreasing pack sizes on smaller bulk products like socks. Of greater concern is that companies will move production to lower wage countries with lower duty tariffs and weaker environmental restrictions. As examples, consider how garment workers demanding a fair minimum wage are currently being treated in Cambodia and Bangladesh. Anticipating such tactics, the Ethical Trade Initiative released a statement in late-September urging retail buyers to factor in the cost of a living wage for workers in their price negotiations with garment suppliers.

    Organic cotton prices are linked to conventional cotton prices

    A recent edition of Engage, an e-newsletter published by the Organic Exchange, takes a close look at the organic cotton industry. The opening article suggests the extraordinary times experienced by conventional cotton have on the one hand created a beneficial seller’s market. At the same time these conditions have had a potentially damaging impact on the sector by leveling the price of organic and conventional cotton. As the Organic Exchange (OE) puts it:

    “Farmers are seeing their carefully tended organic harvest end up in conventional supply chains. Organic cotton procurers are struggling to meet their usual premium commitments (which don’t make sense anymore) and on top of this the lag time for organic buyers to respond to the market is adding a further complication.”

    The article concludes that if organic cotton is to be secure in a stable, appropriate value chain it needs protection from the dramatically changing commodity price. This could come in the form of working partnerships that deliver benefit to farmers as well as buyers.

    This concept is further covered in a recent article in the World of Organic Agriculture – Statistics and Emerging Trends 2010 journal:

    “The sector must address the protection of the farm and fiber business model to ensure farmers and those who work with them receive sufficient returns to maintain investment in farmer development and productivity.”

    Protection from the commodity market rollercoaster

    A number of programs have attempted to protect cotton from market conditions. Perhaps the best known is the fair trade movement.  We’ve written a number of posts on the Reeve Consulting blog about the new garment certification program unveiled in 2010 by Fair Trade USA. For the first time the full supply chain of a product, not just the agricultural inputs, can receive fair trade certification ensuring workers are paid a fair, living wage for their goods and services. While only a handful of brands have completed the certification process, recent reports indicate more companies are working with Fair Trade USA to acquire certification.

    Flickr / kimberlykv

    Another example can be found in the recent commitment by Anvil Knitwear to double the production of organic cotton in the U.S. Through the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative, Anvil will pay a premium for organic cotton as well as purchase any cotton making a transition to organic at a price close to the premium. The hope is that having a guaranteed buyer will encourage conventional cotton farmers to switch to organic production.

    Social Alterations, an online education lab for socially responsible fashion design, has also focused on this issue and recently shared a post outlining approaches undertaken by two other global commodities – coffee and cocoa – that have similarly attempted to address the volatility of global commodity prices.

    Purchasing cotton responsibly: ethical and sustainable purchasing considerations

    When it comes buying cotton goods, purchasing departments can reduce risk and improve supply chain practices by considering the following:

    • Making a formal commitment to specify and support sustainable forms of cotton in purchasing decisions (e.g. organic, fair trade, ethically sourced)
    • Considering the origins of cotton goods including. More specifically, the working and environmental conditions under which they were made
    • Investing in long-term relationships with suppliers and focusing on continued improvement

    To learn more about how our clients and organizations are benefitting from these and other sustainable supply chain practices contact us.

    Reeve Consulting Invited to Work with Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee

    On the heels of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic’s BuySmart Program’s success, Reeve Consulting has been approached by the Organizing Committee for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi to help design and build an environmental procurement and sustainable sourcing program.

    Flickr / roland

    A sustainable purchasing program will enable organizers of the 2014 Winter Games to leverage procurement to meet sustainability objectives including zero waste, carbon neutrality and sustainable economic development of the surrounding Krasnodar district. These targets have been outlined in both an environmental strategy adopted by the advisory committee in 2009 and subsequent environmental procurement policy drafted by Reeve Consulting and adopted by the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee in June of 2010.

    Flickr / maiak.info

    Reeve Consulting will be working with executives and senior managers from the Environmental Support and Sustainability departments of the Organizing Committee to build tools, develop procedures and identify high profile purchasing opportunities to support implementation of their sourcing policies.

    Tim Reeve will be traveling to Moscow to meet with members of the Organizing Committee in late-November and again in February of 2011. Check back for updates from the field! You can also follow Tim’s trip on Twitter @ReeveConsulting.