Working together to maximize social impact

There is so much potential for social enterprises to create a positive impact on communities across Canada. A recent partnership facilitated by Buy Social Canada in Vancouver illustrates how much greater this potential becomes when purchasers and suppliers work together to achieve social and business needs.

Our Vancouver team supported the adoption of social procurement practices for 312 Main, a co-working space, and development project to revitalize an old building in the city’s Downtown Eastside, introducing them to two social enterprises to redesign their waste management and maximize their social and environmental impact. 312 Main has partnered with The Binners’ Project and Recycling Alternative to create a waste sorting agreement, which will divert waste from landfills and support the local community.

The Binners' Project provides income opportunities for those in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood, by providing binners with stable income and transferable job skills. The Recycling Alternative has been operating for over 25 years in Vancouver’s Lower Mainland while providing jobs to local individuals facing barriers to employment, and has collaborated with many community organizations over the years to create innovative community-based recycling models. Buy Social Canada is thrilled to have been a part of the planning that brought these three social enterprises together by providing coaching and support for 312 Main throughout the RFP process.

Thomas Bevan, the Business Development Manager at 312 Main Development said that the meetings and coaching provided by Buy Social Canada helped them create an RFP that would meet the unique needs of the facilities and provide support for Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside community.

"They helped our organization understand aspects of the social enterprise landscape in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, BC and to plan our own social procurement policy that was fair, mission driven, and satisfied our due diligence," said Bevan.

Gabby Korcheva, the programs manager for the Binners’ Project, said that the waste sorting program with 312 Main would empower binners economically, and raise the bar for local organizations’ sustainability efforts. The Co-Founder of Recycling Alternative, Louise Schwarz, expressed that her social enterprise is “always keen to work with community partners to forge innovative, inclusive and community based recycling models that follow best practices in terms of waste reduction and the recycling and recovery of materials, while increasing local, green, inclusive jobs.”

We look forward to seeing the impact of this partnership in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. If you are interested in learning more about how your business can incorporate social procurement practices, please contact our National Coordinator for more information. When you buy social, everyone profits!