Big businesses sign-up to social procurement programme

Twelve major organisations sign on as founding members of NZ's first social procurement buyer group.

Twelve of New Zealand’s leading public and private sector organisations have signed on as founding members of the country’s first social procurement buyer group, established by the Ākina Foundation as part of the Fwd: social procurement programme.

The Fwd: social procurement platform was first launched in November 2018 and currently consists of 44 products and services from 32 social enterprise suppliers, with more on the way.

The platform was built in partnership between Ākina and New Zealand Post and was part-funded by the Social Enterprise Sector Development Programme, which was established to create the conditions to enable a flourishing social enterprise sector in New Zealand.

Founding members include Air New Zealand, ANZ Bank NZ, Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, Fonterra, Hamilton City Council, Inland Revenue, McConnell Dowell, New Zealand Post, Russell McVeagh, SAP and Waikato Regional Council.

Social procurement lead at Ākina, Dr Seán Barnes, said the buyer group members represent a shift in procurement practice where changing attitudes are leading to changing behaviours.

“The collective approach to change is really exciting and really strong,” said Dr Barnes.

“This group of buyers alone represents a total spending power of more than $27 billion annually. Even a small amount of this spend directed to social enterprises will result in significant positive flow-on effects through the impact that those enterprises deliver.”

Through the Fwd: social procurement platform the buyer group is connecting with social enterprise suppliers that deliver impact over a range of areas including environmental restoration, waste reduction, workplace wellbeing and building strong resilient communities.

The group will also undertake a number of collaborative activities to share learning, tools and experience, including workshops to deepen their understanding of impact.

Air New Zealand head of procurement Alistair Prebble said the airline has an aspiration to be one the most sustainable carriers in the world. Social procurement within the airline’s vast supply chain provides a big opportunity to make a difference.

“Buying from organisations who share our values enables us to contribute environmentally, socially and economically which are key pillars of the sustainability framework we are committed to” says Prebble.

“We’re excited by this opportunity to help boost social enterprise while making sound procurement decisions.”

Dr Barnes said the buyer group is an important step in realising the power of social procurement as a way of addressing issues like climate change and inequality.

“Ultimately, this is about the role that business has to play in tackling some of the serious challenges we’re facing today. We’re going to need every tool at our disposal to make a difference for our people and our planet.” says Dr Barnes.

“These are significant New Zealand businesses committing to procurement change. It’s great leadership and sends a really powerful message.”

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