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Leveraging Purchasing Power for Business & Community Impact

November 20, 2014 | Vancouver

Join us in Vancouver on November 20 for a new workshop to learn how sustainable, best value purchasing can enhance your business and help generate social, environmental and financial benefits.

Here's an opportunity to build a strong supply chain and boost customer and employee loyalty. Take away practical tools, scorecards and product guidelines to customize your own purchasing policies and practices.

Register soon — space is limited!

The workshop is hosted by the Strathcona Business Improvement Association, BuySmart Network, Ecotrust Canada, Light House Sustainable Building Centre and One Earth, with support from the Vancouver Foundation and Discovery Parks.

Sustainable Purchasing Today

Did you know that what you buy and how you manage your supply chain can reduce costs, increase efficiency and reduce your environmental footprint? Now that’s money well spent!

The Power of Purchasing

Governments, businesses and non-profits in Canada spend billions of dollars each year on goods and services.

Imagine if this purchasing power were harnessed to help promote environmental stewardship and social improvement. It’s true, we could see a world of change. Every organization has the chance to send a signal to the market that it’s time suppliers develop products and services that are healthier, more energy efficient, less resource intensive and more socially beneficial.

Organizations in your community have the collective clout to create environmental, social and economic transformation. Through thoughtful procurement strategies and careful supply chain management, an organization can help fulfil its own corporate responsibility objectives and reduce business risks.

ABCs of Sustainable Purchasing

The idea behind sustainable purchasing is simple. When organizations buy goods and services, they take into account the economic value (price, quality, availability and functionality) and also the related environmental and social impacts of those goods and services - at local, regional, and global levels.

For example, an organization purchasing goods would include in its selection criteria such factors such as:

  • 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.

Top to Bottom Benefits

One lesson learned through the BuySmart Network is that there are often people in organizations that want to purchase more sustainably, but don’t know how to “make the case” for it. The critical factor seems to be having the organization as whole recognize the importance of its own supply chain in fulfilling its public commitments to customers and the community.

BuySmart strives to support all levels of an organizations (executives, directors, managers and their staff) in seeing how procurement can support agreed-upon corporate social responsibility objectives. It’s the way to make sure everyone is on the same page.

What’s in a Sustainable Purchasing Policy?

A sustainable purchasing policy or program might include a range of objectives:

  • 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.

Learn More

Are you ready to explore?

Here’s a first step: visit our Resource Centre for research, best practices and case studies on sustainability purchasing and how it can benefit your organization.

And a second step: contact the BuySmart Network for opportunities to deepen your understanding and begin a sustainable purchasing plan for your organization.

Already off and running? Consider becoming a sponsor of the BuySmart Network or volunteering as a presenter at one of our events. It’s a perfect way to step up and encourage others.

Program Vision

The vision of the BuySmart Network is for organizations in all sectors to recognize sustainable purchasing as smart purchasing and to make it integral to their operations.

Our Work

The BuySmart Network helps public, private and non-profit organizations learn how to purchase products and services that offer social, economic and environmental benefits and to create a sustainable purchasing strategy that supports their own goals.

Our Sponsors

The work of the BuySmart Network is possible thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, along with the contributions of partners, advisors and a circle of participants. Find out more.

Reach Us

BuySmart is a program of the Fraser Basin Council (FBC), a charitable non-profit society that advances sustainability in the Fraser River Basin, across BC, and beyond. Established in 1997, FBC brings people together from multiple sectors to learn about sustainability and find collaborative solutions to current issues.

For more on the BuySmart Network, contact , Director of External Relations and Corporate Development at the Fraser Basin Council.

Learn more about FBC by visiting