You didn’t make good choices. You had good choices
– Celeste Ng
We all face challenges. But there are many people in our communities who don’t have good choices to make when they face those challenges. If you have privilege in your life and success in your business, what does that look like to you? Is it just about individual wealth? Or do you want to contribute to building community capital in your work?
Adding purpose to business is becoming almost universal. But what does purpose look like? How can your business truly create impact where it is needed most in communities?
Social procurement is emerging as a necessity for every purpose-driven business. As all businesses have a supply chain, social procurement allows you to leverage your existing spend to create additional community benefits. It is also being asked for by many purchasers, likely the ones you sell to, and will make you more competitive in the market.
Social value choices in your supply chain are the means to put purpose into practice. A purpose-driven company cannot just put the correct words into their mission statement or on their home page, or merely point people to their Corporate Social Responsibility reports. To avoid social washing, there has to be measurable, evidence based social value outcomes demonstrated by your purchasing decisions.
As you compete for contracts, social procurement weighting and scoring is becoming a business requirement from those seeking your goods and services. Social value outcomes from suppliers and contractors are no longer just a ‘nice thing to do’ or and add on to the side of a contract, but social value outcomes are now becoming an essential element of your contract deliverables.
As a purpose driven business competing for potential contracts, it’s a great start to reference your contributions to global goals like Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) levels, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and commitments through B Corp certification, but in contract requirements the next level of analysis is your supply chain decisions. Your supply chain choices validate how your purpose and goals are delivered.
Buy with impact
Now is the time to expand your supply chain and relationships to include social value suppliers. Social enterprises and diverse-owned businesses are available to provide goods and services you need. Just like any business sector, they may not always be a direct supplier (tier 1), but there are opportunities for sub-contractors (tier 2 and tier 3 opportunities). You can add to your value proposition just by asking your major suppliers who is in their supply chain and do they practice social procurement.
As a corporate manager said in a conversation the other day, ‘Yes, we know we have to meet the social outcome requirements of this contract, but we also, as a company, want to do the right thing for the communities where we work.’ Chandos Construction and SAP are two purpose-driven business who have each made a Buy Social Pledge to include social enterprises and diverse-owned businesses in their supply chains.
Regardless of how large your business is, you can begin with a simple supply chain audit to examine how well you’re already doing, and where there are opportunities to achieve more impact.
To learn more about how Buy Social Canada can support you to put purpose into practice contact Elizabeth Chick-Blount at firstname.lastname@example.org or explore ways to build your own Buy Social Journey here.