This could be social procurement’s big moment. Does anyone care?

Building a more impact-oriented marketplace after the pandemic

Why It Matters

Across Canada, governments alone spend $200 billion on procurement — what would it mean if a portion of that money went to social impact businesses or organizations? Advocates say that COVID-19 could be an opportunity to accelerate the social procurement movement, but can they convince governments and other stakeholders to buy in?

“Social procurement.” Let’s be frank: it does not sound particularly exhilarating. But in the social impact world, it’s been garnering a lot of interest in recent years, and for good reason. 

What it means is the achievement of positive social or environmental impact through an organization’s process of purchasing goods and services. In other words, a government, philanthropic foundation or charity or company alters its supply chain to include businesses that offer an additional social benefit. For example, the practice is most common in construction, where contractors might hire workers through a social enterprise that employs those who’ve struggled to enter the labour market.

In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, social procurement advocates believe this is their moment. While introducing a recent digital symposium run by Buy Social Canada, a social

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