Written by: Donna Kirk – The Pro Forum Community of Practice
Socially Responsible Procurement is a framework of measurable corporate policies and procedures and resulting behaviour designed to benefit the workplace, and by extension the individual organisation and community.
Benefits, can be both tangible and intangible centred around these 6 elements:
- Community involvement – More than goodwill, corporate or government community involvement or strategic philanthropy, corporate social responsibility is a genuine attempt by a company to build meaningful relationships between the corporate sector and the rest of society for the community’s benefit. This might provide benefits in the creation of additional jobs or employment opportunities. It might provide opportunities to address complex local challenges.
- Diversity & inclusion – enhancing inclusion giving vulnerable groups the opportunity to participate in the community and economy. Again, there may be an opportunity for employment or participation of the more vulnerable sectors of communities. It may be ensuring stakeholder engagement includes a wider group of people to consult with.
- Environmental Protection – making decisions with a consideration of the physical environment both now and beyond. Governments should set the proper regulations that support sustainability and educate people on how to use their resources in a way that will reduce the carbon footprint and preserve natural resources. Manufacturers must look at their supply chain ethics, considering not just the end price of their product, but the overall cost to the environment. Finally, and equally importantly, consumers should seek to educate themselves on supply chain ethics. They have the power to force the hand of manufacturers, boycotting certain products until they are produced in a way that is not just environmentally sustainable, but also ethical and fair to all in the supply chain There are many ways this can be achieved.
- Ethics and Financial stewardship – doing the right thing and ensuring a long-term sustainable approach so the organisation can remain financially viable.
- Human Rights respect – Understanding and adhering to the Human Rights Act 2019 which contains 23 human rights that are protected under the Act. Understanding the effects of purchasing decisions on issues such as poverty eradication, international equity in the distribution of resources, and labour conditions.
- Health & Safety – Ensuring people involved within a project, the delivery of services or products are safe, that their physical and mental health and wellbeing is considered. Is the expected productivity realistic? Have we asked the question?
Achieving socially responsible procurement
How to achieve Social Procurement – Queensland Government provide the following effective ways to include social benefit when buying for government
- Buy from social enterprises (refer to organisations listed below).
- Include socially specific clauses in tenders and contracts—ask that a portion of work be completed by a social enterprise or require mainstream suppliers to deliver social benefits such as employment opportunities for vulnerable jobseekers.
- Consider the local community you are buying for—how could you make a positive difference through your choice of supplier?
- Purchase fair trade products.
- Seek out organisations that provide employment to vulnerable Queenslanders; for example, organisations that provide opportunities for people with a disability, and/or people who are from a disadvantaged background.
Socially responsible procurement is the responsibility of us all – whether we work in project or procurement, In corporate or government, as organisations or individuals. When we exchange money for goods or services, we need to consider not just the now, but the future and not just ourselves, but the wider impact of our society.
Understanding what it can look like is demonstrated so well in these example!