Burnaby Board of Trade Pledge
Burnaby Board of Trade Pledge

The ABC’s of Sustainable Purchasing

The Pledge Presents Sustainable Purchasing

As part of the BBOT’s commitment to helping our members become more sustainable we asked Amy Robinson, Executive Director of Loco BC to talk to us about what Sustainable Purchasing is and its value to business and the community. These are just some of the areas that Amy highlighted in her workshop.

What is Sustainable Purchasing?

Sustainable purchasing rests on 3 pillars. When considering a purchase organizations  take into account economic value but also the  social, environmental and economic impacts on a local, regional and global level.  It’s not about the lowest price point but the value of the purchase.

Things to consider when making a purchasing decision:

  • what the product is made from and how long it lasts
  • the energy, material and emissions “footprint” associated with its manufacture and transport
  • who has made it, how it’s made and under what working conditions
  • how it will ultimately be disposed of, and
  • whether the purchase is needed at all.
  • *see BuySmart 

A sustainable purchasing policy gives consideration to the following:

  • Waste prevention and reduction
  • Resource reduction
  • Pollution and toxin reduction
  • Reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
  • Biodiversity maintenance or improvement
  • Wages and working conditions
  • Employee health and safety
  • Human rights
  • Growth of a sustainable economy
  • Support for local economy
  • Support for social enterprises
  • Aboriginal procurement
  • Fair trade

Why do it?

  • Legal and brand risk
  • Helps deliver on values
  • Improved environmental, ethical and social outcomes….

As well as…

  • Marketing value
  • Cost savings
  • Employee engagement

How do I get started?

  • Define your goals
  • Communicate to staff
  • Identify what you’re doing already
  • Identify opportunities
  • Make changes at the right pace
  • Get buy-in
  • Share resources with others

Buying Local

  • Buying local keeps 2-3 times the money in the economy
  • For every $100 spent at a SME/local business $33/$46 are re-circulated in the local economy.
  • Business owners live and provide jobs in their community
  • Local businesses are more likely to buy local services and stock local products
  • Provide more support for local events, teams and charities

Tools and Resources

Sustainable Purchasing presentation.

Guide to the Business Case & Benefits of Sustainability Purchasing

Locating B Corp designated businesses

Industry Canada – SME Sustainability Roadmap

Social Enterprise Market Place

Buy Social

Living Wage Employer

FairTrade Canada

Loco BC

The Power of Purchasing: The Economic Impacts of Local Procurement



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