Update

Embed data collection to improve social procurement measurement and reporting

Dec 5th, 2023

Buy Social Canada encourages all purchasers to report on their social procurement spend and progress. However in our 2022 Buy with Impact report, none of the purchasers we surveyed had published public reports, and only 24% of them had something in development for future reporting.

To report on social procurement, you need to have data. Data collection can be resource intensive and procurement specialists have many responsibilities. In a time when working with increasing costs and global supply chains is complex and seems to be becoming more so, figuring out how to efficiently collect data is a challenge many organizations are working to address.

By embedding social value data collection into existing finance and procurement systems, organizations can streamline their process and gather the data needed to track, measure and report.

SAP, a Buy Social Leader, is at the forefront of global supply chain technology. SAP has been supportive of social procurement and social enterprise for over a decade, and in 2020 made a commitment to 5&5 by ‘25. The 5&5 by ’25 Initiative sets a target of 5% of SAP’s addressable spend to go toward social enterprises and diverse suppliers by 2025.

“In setting this target, SAP aims to inspire organizations around the world to buy more goods and services from purposeful suppliers, making a positive collective impact on the societies they operate in.” – SAP News

One of the software products offered by SAP is SAP Ariba, a procurement platform. There are two purchasing organizations who have added social value questions to vendor profiles in SAP Ariba: the Government of Canada on CanadaBuys, and the City of Calgary with the updated version of their Social Procurement Questionnaire.

City of Calgary

City of Calgary began implementing social procurement (which the City previously referred to as Benefit Driven Procurement) in 2019.

Buy Social Canada was proud to support the creation and early implementation of the Benefit Driven Procurement Strategy for the City, along with a standardized Benefit Driven Procurement Leadership Questionnaire for vendors. The questionnaire was added to several pilots in 2020, and then rolled out more widely after City Council unanimously adopted the Public Value through Procurement Policy on September 13, 2021.

In a June 2023 report to Council, Corporate Planning and Financial Services shared that the Questionnaire is “now embedded in all The City’s competitive procurements for large purchases (over $75,000 for goods and services and over $200,000 for construction) at a minimum five per cent evaluation weighting.”

Some data highlights from the use of the Questionnaire in 2022 include:

  • 96% of businesses participating by responding to the Social Procurement Questionnaire.
  • 53% of contracts awarded to Supplier with the top Social Procurement score.
  • 67% of The City’s contracts awarded to small or medium-sized businesses.
  • 84% of contracts awarded to Suppliers providing work experience.
  • 88% of The City’s awarded suppliers paying living wages.

Up until recently, the City of Calgary bid evaluation team would have to evaluate the questionnaire responses each time a business submitted a bid for large purchases.

Understandably, they wanted to streamline this process and have the Questionnaire on their bid platform vendor profile so that the score could be drawn from that vendor each time they submitted a bid, and the vendor could update their responses as needed.

To make this work, the City updated their Social Procurement Questionnaire, and attached it to the vendor profile for their suppliers in SAP Ariba.

How this works

When responding to a City of Calgary RFx, there is an appendices and submission section where it asks about the Social Procurement Questionnaire:

If your business has not previously responded to the Questionnaire, the Buyer will send the Social Procurement Questionnaire for you to fill. You must answer this question prior to the Questions Deadline to receive the Questionnaire.

It’s important to note that the Social Procurement Questionnaire is provided separately by email. Once responded to, the questionnaire will be added and remain in your supplier profile in SAP Ariba. The evaluated score of the questionnaire will be used for all future solicitations which include social procurement as an evaluated criteria, as long as it is provided prior to the submission deadline. Once completed, the questionnaire can be updated by the supplier at any time via the SAP Supplier Account.

This new format will streamline processes and allow City of Calgary to track data from their vendors on the City’s social value goals.

Canada Buys

The Government of Canada passed a Social Procurement Policy in May 2021, after Treasury Board issued a Directive on the Management of Procurement:

“The objective of this directive is that procurement of goods, services and construction obtains the necessary assets and services that support the delivery of programs and services to Canadians, while ensuring best value to the Crown.”

Also in 2021, The Government of Canada launched CanadaBuys, which is hosted on SAP Ariba. CanadaBuys is the official source for Government of Canada bid and award notices, information on how the procurement process works, supplier registration information, and other procurement resources.

Within CanadaBuys, the Government is tracking social value based on self-identification as diverse-owned businesses and social enterprises. The platform makes this process more streamlined, as all businesses can update their vendor information once, and it will be visible to procurement staff anytime they respond to a Government bid or tender.

How this works

Go to your company profile in SAP Ariba, and navigate to the “Customer Requested” tab.

Select “Government of Canada” and respond to their requested profile information. This is where you can self-identify as a social enterprise or diverse-owned business and share additional details about your social and environmental impacts.

Don’t forget to submit and save!


We look forward to seeing the data and reporting that City of Calgary and Government of Canada will share. Data collection allows purchasers to learn, iterate and progress. Public reporting builds community trust and accountability, and creates opportunities for feedback and creative problem solving.  

If you have questions about social procurement and setting up a reporting practice, please contact us.

Related Updates

Celebrating David LePage’s Career and Retirement

Thank you to everyone who joined us in Vancouver and online to celebrate David LePage as he steps into a new role: retirement. It’s bittersweet to say goodbye to David […]

From 0.1% to 10% in 10 years: Social Enterprise Council of Canada and Buy Social Canada call for BDC Support for Social Enterprise to Grow

Within a supportive environment for the development and success of any business, including social enterprises, there are critical pillars of support that are needed for success. Two of these pillars […]

Social value isn’t just nice, it’s necessary: The marketplace revolution in 2024 and beyond

In 2023 we saw continued momentum for social procurement and social enterprise growth, implementation, and capacity-building. Governments, corporations, and community intermediaries are championing social value in procurement as they recognize […]