Social Procurement: The Opportunity for Suppliers
Social procurement is emerging across Canada as a powerful tool for building healthy communities.
Local governments and institutional purchasers like universities, colleges, public schools and health authorities across British Columbia purchase billions of dollars worth of goods and services each year. These institutions are exploring how and/or taking steps to align their broader policy objectives with their spending to achieve better value for money.
Businesses with social values, social enterprises and social purpose organizations can respond to this growing demand for social value in purchasing.
- Food services, information technology, construction and facilities and maintenance represent the most common areas of spending where social and community benefit criteria are currently applied.
- The most common social benefit provided by contractors is employment and training opportunities for disadvantaged populations, including youth, aboriginal populations and persons with disabilities.
Social Procurement Resources for Suppliers
Supplier Guide to Social Procurement
Buy Social Canada’s Supplier Guide flips the perspective of the existing demand-side Guide to Social Procurement to the supply-side. Following the social procurement user journey of Learn, Identify Opportunities, Discover, Respond and Deliver the Supplier Guide can help social value suppliers learn the ins and outs of social procurement.
The Supplier Guide includes fillable pdfs and worksheets to help become ready for social procurement opportunities.
SUPER (Social Procurement Supplier Readiness) is a suite of tools, resources and training to elevate the capacity of social enterprises and social purpose organizations to access procurement opportunities.
The materials will be free and open source to elevate the capacity of social enterprises and social purpose organizations to access procurement opportunities and contracts that provide the revenue to increase their social value creation. The project is funded by the Government of Canada’s Social Development Partnerships Program.
Respond to Opportunities
As BCSPI members look to connect their procurement to local community benefit, there is an interest in identifying local suppliers who are intentionally delivering environmental, community and social benefits.
BCSPI members The City of Victoria and Cowichan Valley Regional District have both released Requests For Information asking for details of suppliers in their region who are able to identify social value elements of their business in order to develop a Social Value Supplier Directory.
As more BCSPI members begin to request information from suppliers, this directory will grow to inform local governments and large purchasers across the Province about suppliers whose practices align with their social and community goals and objectives.
Sign Up For Training or Host a Supplier Session
BCSPI offers a variety of training opportunities from introductory sessions to more in-depth learning and non-members are welcome to participate at cost.
BCSPI also offers supplier-specific presentation sessions for members, local chambers and economic development organizations. If you are interested in hosting a presentation for suppliers in your area please contact us.
Social Enterprise Certification
Buy Social Canada’s third-party certification program recognizes your organization as a verified social enterprise, and enhances your marketing potential as a business that actively prioritizes community benefits and social impact over private profit and shareholder returns.
Other Social Value Tools & Resources for Suppliers
Social Value Canada
Social Value Canada offers tools and resources to help organizations and enterprises start to account for their social value.
Demonstrating Value has tools and resources to help you take control of the data you collect, how it is used and to communicate the value of your organization.
Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet)
Resources and tools that demonstrate social return on investment (SROI) for social enterprises, social purpose businesses and related initiatives.