>>Expanding Markets / Expanding Markets
Every purchase has a ripple effect and a multiplying impact. When we make intentional choices on how to spend our money we create intended impacts, economically and socially.
Social enterprises blend business and social value as a tool to help create healthy and inclusive communities. Expanding the social enterprise markets through purposeful purchasing contributes to their success; because, the more they do well in their business, the more good they can do and the greater their impact on communities.
Everybody and every business, non-profit and level of government purchases goods and services such as janitorial services, catering, couriers, office supplies, IT, coffee, printing, maintenance and repairs, furniture, fuel, landscaping and more. Various criteria are considered and negotiated sometimes with a broad number of providers and suppliers, and traditionally purchasing decisions are based on the lowest price for equivalent product or service. What is not always considered in supplier selection are the ripple and multiplying effects of purchasing decisions. Purchasing is not an isolated, cost-only decision. Purchasing choices directly impact employment growth or decline, the health of local economies, and the environment.
Social purchasing looks at the multiple social impacts purchasing has, such as employment opportunities, poverty reduction, social inclusion and community economic development. To understand social purchasing, let's first begin with a broader definition for Sustainable Purchasing. Sustainable purchasing is what happens when organizations choose to see procurement as more than a cost-only decision.
Sustainable, or social purchasing is inclusive of quality, price, environment and social factors. Sustainability does not have to be viewed as a constraint, but can be a strategy for discovering and creating new opportunities as well, and in the area of purchasing there are a lot of opportunities for those who move from thinking of it only as "green purchasing" to including the social side as well. By incorporating a social component, sustainable purchasing moves beyond simply "not causing harm" and negative screening to generating social and economic opportunities. Social enterprises by the very fact of their blended bottom line provide easy access to sustainable purchasing options.
For more information see the Social Enterprise Purchasing Tool Kit
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