Written by: Phil Sealy – The Pro Forum Community of Practice

When the term ‘black cladding’ emerged, it was meant to define the practice of non-indigenous business entities or individuals taking unfair advantage of indigenous businesses to gain a benefit from indigenous funds and access to indigenous procurement contracts.  With the Australian Government providing preferential treatment to indigenous businesses when awarding contracts, the lucrative prospect this has on some businesses meant they are likely to take advantage of this and not necessarily meeting the indigenous requirements to be deemed an indigenous business.

Supply Nation, Australia’s indigenous organisation registrar, has the responsibilities of ensuring that black-cladding practices are eradicated and prevented, however the practice continues when there is little proactivity to avoid this entirely.  The buzz word ‘black cladding’ was developed to describe this practice and serves as a reminder that little is done to prevent non-indigenous owned and controlled businesses to gain unfair advantage over other more-deserving businesses for their own capacity gain.

Today, “green cladding” is becoming the new black cladding.  It has the potential to do good in the Australian Community, however some organisations are starting to take advantage of this with little done to stop this practice.  The Federal Government has implemented a Green Procurement Policy that aims to increase sustainability in government procurement processes.  This means the policy encourages government agencies to use environmentally sustainable products and services and to consider the environmental effects when making procurement decisions.

Procurement activities may include criteria for selecting suppliers based on their environmental performance or on their ability to provide environmentally friendly goods and/or services.  However, little is done by government agencies to investigate further or explore the claims made by organisations that suggests their goods and/or services are truly environmentally sustainable and provides actual benefits to the Australian community.

Organisations may put up a blanket statement on their website or in their procurement response to say they meet and support sustainability, environmental and corporate social responsibilities, but are they doing what they claim they are doing, or are we just taking their word for it?


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