Every purchase has an economic, social, environmental, and cultural impact. We are implementing a Sustainable Procurement Action Plan (approved by Council in 2022) to intentionally recognize the work already being done by suppliers to create positive impact and to amplify the positive impacts that can happen through our spending.
The City of Winnipeg spends $400 million annually on goods, services, and construction. Achieving ‘best value’ for residents through sustainable procurement is an opportunity to formalize and maximize positive benefits and minimize adverse effects of procurement.
What is sustainable procurement?
Sustainable procurement as described in the Sustainable Procurement Action Plan (SPAP) “is the practice of embedding relevant sustainability considerations into the selection of goods and services, along with traditional factors such as price, quality, service, and other functional specifications. Sustainable procurement means getting best value for an organization over the total life of a good or service, while seeking opportunities that address environmental, ethical, social, and Indigenous opportunities and risks.” It is a powerful tool to help us deliver on sustainability priorities outlined in key plans and policies.
Sustainable versus traditional procurement
Sustainable procurement still includes the purchaser value and supplier value of conventional purchasing but adds a sustainable value to it. The inclusion of sustainable value allows for procurement to generate community value. By being intentional about the value we want to create through purchasing, we can create positive impacts on our communities.
Governments must comply with trade agreements. You cannot restrict competition, but you can seek social value outcomes from all bidders. The important part is making the process competitive and transparent for all bidders.
Sustainable procurement is not about ‘buying local’- this is not allowed under trade agreements. Instead, sustainable procurement looks for ways to structure procurement to make it more possible for local businesses to bid and demonstrate the value they provide to the community. They still need to compete in a fair, open and transparent process. It is also a way to ask businesses from outside the community how they are going to provide local benefits to the communities where they do business.
City of Winnipeg’s sustainable procurement
We adopted a four-pillar model which promotes a comprehensive approach to sustainable procurement that addresses supply chain opportunities across four pillars:
Increase environmental responsibility and resilience through Indigenous knowledge, natural resource preservation, renewal, enhancement, and reuse.
Develop an equitable, diverse, and inclusive community and remove systemic barriers.
Support education and employment opportunities to foster social and economic equity.
Strengthen community cohesion through inclusive engagement, reconciliation, collaboration, and responsiveness with all members of the community.
The sustainable procurement goals take the high-level vision and ground them with specific outcomes that can be asked for and reported on in the procurement process. These goals will contribute to the vision:
- Increase employment of First Nations, Inuit and Red River Métis peoples
- Increase employment of equity groups
- Increase in organizations paying a living wage
- Increase training and apprenticeship opportunities for equity groups, including First Nations, Inuit and Red River Métis peoples
- Increase contract and subcontracts with social enterprises, Indigenous businesses and diverse businesses
- Enhance City of Winnipeg knowledge of public and private employment training entities and increase partnerships between contractors and these entities
- Align public and private education and training programs with potential employment through sustainable procurement
- Suppliers are recognized for and increase their contributions to the advancement of the Winnipeg community socially, economically, culturally and environmentally
- Increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Increase economy circularity, reduce consumption and increase waste diversion
- Increase access to local and sustainable food
How we do sustainable procurement
The sustainable procurement program uses multiple procurement mechanisms appropriate to advance the vision and goals while complying with legal and trade agreement parameters:
- Prioritizing the SPAP goals through the City’s below threshold purchasing.
- A social procurement questionnaire and environmental procurement questionnaire have been developed to evaluate and provide appropriate weighting of the sustainable procurement criteria in bid documents. This is included on various RFx documents, such as request for information (RFI), request for qualification (RFQ) and request for proposal (RFP). The questions asked in the questionnaires align with the City’s sustainable procurement goals.
- Using a sustainable procurement supplier registry to find suppliers who identify as social enterprises, diverse-owned businesses, and/or indigenous businesses, we can provide City employees with the information needed to find and purchase from these businesses when appropriate. For example, City employees may refer to this supplier registry when putting together an invitation to quote, making low value purchases, and when utilizing indigenous and social enterprise set asides.
- Development of a community benefit agreement (CBA), a legally enforceable agreement on construction, infrastructure and development projects for specific social value outcomes like hiring, training, apprenticeships, or procurement and sub-contracting that ensures projects enhance social, cultural, Indigenous, environmental, and economic opportunities for the community.
- Sustainable Procurement Action Plan
- Social procurement questionnaire
- Environmental procurement questionnaire
- Register as a social procurement supplier
Indigenous supplier directories
- Louis Riel Capital Corporation Red River Métis Business Directory – all businesses on this registry have been fully vetted and must have a minimum of 51% Red River Metis ownership.
- Indigenous Business Directory, Government of Canada – find validated Indigenous businesses
Social enterprise directories
Please reach out to the Sustainable Procurement Liaison at firstname.lastname@example.org.