Social Procurement Value Proposition

Buy Social Canada brings socially driven purchasers and social enterprise suppliers together, building business relationships that generate social benefits to communities across the country. Buy Social Canada offers a recognized, Canada-wide social enterprise certification program that opens the door to an emerging social impact network. They work with community, private sector, and government to support the development of policy and resources to strengthen local and regional social procurement initiatives.

Project Coordinator Nicole Hanbury was brought on to help build the business case for social procurement and develop the value proposition for Buy Social Canada. Nicole researched and analyzed qualitative data collected from successful social procurement relationships, and designed 6 concise and informative case studies which are published on Buy Social Canada’s website. In November 2017 she attended and helped facilitate the Buy Social Canada Summit: Exploring the Future of Social Procurement in Gatineau, QC, where she also shared some of her research and findings.

The case studies have helped showcase examples of social procurement relationships formed between various institutions and social enterprises, and outlined opportunities and challenges and the key takeaways and lessons learned from past experiences. These have helped institutions interested in social procurement, specifically local governments, to consult with Buy Social Canada on how to approach it effectively.

Nicole also created a prototype Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) scoring system that measures and evaluates the social impact of such agreements. The scoring system includes a manual, external and internal user guides, as well as appendices of definitions and methodology. The scorecard provides a base list of criteria and supports communities in negotiating and expressing their relative preferences and interests for property development projects in their neighbourhoods.

The details of each social procurement and CBA is case-dependent, but Buy Social Canada has seen enthusiasm for these practices overall. The City of Calgary has contacted Buy Social Canada to share their interest and to receive advice on implementation. The scorecard has been transformed into a worksheet for an online workshop on social procurement and CBAs, and is currently being adapted by the City of Vancouver for their CBA policy. The case studies and scorecards have helped position Buy Social Canada as an intermediary in CBAs, and have supported work with governments and organizations in implementing social procurement in their supply chain practices.