5 Key Learnings from our Sustainable Procurement Fellows

June 15, 2023

CBSR is proud to have successfully completed its first year of the Sustainable Procurement Fellowship (SPF) program. This program was created to educate professionals on sustainable procurement — a commonly overlooked opportunity to lower greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) — and to provide tools, resources and collaboration that can turn net-zero ambitions into reality.  

The SPF was created in partnership with HP, and with support from an incredible group of advisors including Bob Willard (Sustainability Advantage), Monica Da Ponte (Shift & Build), and Frances Edmonds (HP).  

We asked graduates from our first-ever SPF cohort to reflect on their learnings and takeaways from the program. Here’s what they shared:  

  1. Strategy & support from leadership is an important first step when trying to implement sustainable procurement at your organization. Clear and consistent communication about sustainable procurement goals and net-zero priorities enables action and collaboration between all functions of the organization. Support from the top leaders of an organization solidifies company-wide alignment. 

  2. Identify focus areas and hot spots for action. Pinpointing GHG emissions hotspots where action can have the greatest impact can help you figure out how to efficiently allocate resources. Tim Reeve from Reeve Consulting taught the cohort how to identify High Impact Procurement Opportunities (HIPOs) to identify a starting point for their sustainable procurement initiatives. 

  3. Leverage existing processes and success stories to inform your organization’s journey and to build a business case. Build on existing sustainability efforts; you don’t have to start from zero. Whether it is adding more weight to sustainability metrics in RFPs or borrowing from case studies of organizations who have successfully implemented sustainable procurement, leveraging the work that is already underway strengthens the business case to invest further.
  4. Approach sustainable procurement strategies holistically. Sustainable procurement reaches beyond “just” the procurement function at your organization. All teams and functions make purchases that could be supporting the organization’s net-zero journey – it is important that everyone at the organization is aware of the importance of sustainable procurement, and that they have access to resources and knowledge to support improved decision-making for organizational purchases.

  5. Effective communication strategies are vital to long-term success. Without proper communication, it will be challenging for your sustainable procurement initiative to gain traction. Efforts should prioritize (1) internal capacity building focused on the significance and directions for incorporating sustainable purchasing criteria into the procurement process, and (2) external supplier engagement to clarify expectations and align on a pathway forward that meets your organization’s sustainability requirements.  

Sign-up for updates on the next cohort of the Sustainable Procurement Fellowship or explore the SPF Fellows from the 2023 cohort.  

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Get into the GLOBExCHANGE Groove with Elizabeth Shirt

February 22, 2023


We spoke withGLOBE Series’ President, Elizabeth Shirt, for insider insight into GLOBExCHANGE (taking place February 27th – March 1st at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel), including her take on how we can accelerate a net-zero future through inclusive collaboration and partnership — both at GLOBExCHANGE and beyond. 


What are this year’s themes of GLOBExCHANGE and who will be there? 

GLOBExCHANGE builds on our 10×10, which are the 10 areas where we need to take action in the next 10 years to get to net zero. We very deliberately took note of what our community was telling us at GLOBE Forum, and the 10×10 captures the action areas that they think need to be prioritized. We built the GLOBExCHANGE program to drive the critical exchanges of ideas, skill sets, solutions, policies, regulations, and dollars that will help us make progress in these areas. 

The “who” is something I’m feeling excited about. GLOBExCHANGE is where we’re leveraging the GLOBE community’s “big tent.” We’ll see government of all levels; Indigenous leaders; civil society; NGOs; young changemakers; not-for-profits; leaders from Canadian and multi-national corporations; solution and service providers who are bringing the innovative technologies and processes that we need; and the financial community. We’re actually partnering with the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative to host their North American member roundtable so we’ll see the finance community coming out to this event. It really is all of these folks that we need at the table to make action happen. 


How is GLOBExCHANGE different to GLOBE Forum and GLOBE Capital?  

Historically, GLOBE Forum happened on even years in Vancouver, and GLOBE Capital would be hosted in the intervening years in Toronto. GLOBE Capital was a little more narrowly focused on sustainable finance. GLOBExCHANGE is essentially an evolution of GLOBE Capital. Yes, we need to drive exchanges of capital to reach net zero, but there are also other critical exchanges that need to happen – and individuals and organizations beyond the finance sector have a role to play in driving those exchanges and transactions. The other big difference is that deliberate connection between the outcomes from GLOBE Forum (the 10×10) and the accountability at GLOBExCHANGE to deliver on them. 


What are you most excited about at GLOBExCHANGE? 

Folks who know me know that I’m an off-the-charts extrovert, so I can’t wait to be together with our community in Toronto. One of the things I’m excited about is the investments that GLOBE has made with our partners to increase the accessibility of GLOBExCHANGE and support the participation of folks who might not otherwise attend an event like this. We’re ensuring that youth are in attendance by partnering with Leading Change Canada, and we’re making sure that Indigenous thought leaders and young people, including from more remote areas of the country, are there by partnering with organizations like SevenGen and Yukon University. And we’ve partnered with groups from civil society and leading ENGOs to deliver diverse content and perspectives. We can always do better. But I’m excited to look around the room and see the growing diversity of faces in our GLOBE community and know that it’s not just the usual suspects who have a seat at the table. 

 Plus, the sessions are much more action oriented than ever before – we said no panels and we stuck to it. We have many more open-door workshops, curated roundtables, and carefully planned but informal networking moments and business-to-business connections. We’re very intentionally creating these moments so that there’s a two-way and multi-way flow of dialogue and also opportunities for action. 


How can people get the most out of their GLOBExCHANGE experience?  

Take a look at the program because, man, is it cool. We’ve got some really diverse content that’s being led or delivered in partnership with a huge variety of organizations – from Microsoft to World Wildlife Federation to MakeWay to SNC Lavalin to Environmental Defence Canada. So don’t forget to look at the program and attend a bunch of different sessions – you might uncover things that you never thought you needed or wanted to do! We’ve also got meetups designed around those critical action areas from the 10×10, so step outside your comfort zone and maybe show up at a networking event that you might not typically go to. 


Do you have any final words on GLOBExCHANGE for the CBSR community? 

Mitigating climate change is a team sport – we can’t reach net zero alone. This year we’ve incorporated more CBSR programming, speakers, and leaders throughout the event than even before. This really speaks to that opportunity for collaboration and partnership. Keep fighting the good fight, and thanks for being leaders who always strive to do better and for being a part of this GLOBE community. Now let’s get down to business at GLOBExCHANGE! 


Join Canada’s premier community of climate and sustainability leaders at GLOBExCHANGE to accelerate our net-zero progress and make the connections you need to succeed in a net-zero future. Learn more and register here.

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A new purpose economy: federal financial cooperative, Coast Capital, on its journey to becoming a social purpose organization

September 23, 2022

A history of purpose. 

Credit unions around the world share a history of supporting employees, members, and communities—and, in doing so, they can create positive social change. They also see firsthand the opportunities and growing challenges facing their communities every day. 

That’s why Coast Capital—a federal financial cooperative headquartered in Surrey, B.C.— believes that they are uniquely positioned to help Canadians succeed, by driving the real and lasting change needed in their communities. And two years ago, Coast Capital made the decision to transform the way they do business by embarking on the journey to officially become a social purpose business. 


Our journey.  Our purpose. 

In developing Coast Capital’s social purpose of Building Better Futures Together, they considered the unique skill set they held that would allow them to create value for society and drive meaningful change for Canadians. 

Today, it has become Coast Capital’s North Star that informs every decision they make. It is the engine that powers their business. It’s at the heart of every interaction with their members, employees, and community partners.  

And as Coast Capital continues their journey of building better futures together, they are bringing that purpose to life in three strategic ways:  


They are building and championing more equitable and inclusive employment.  

Coast Capital is building the best, most inclusive workplace for their employees and working with partners and members to create opportunities for others to thrive in their careers. 

  • They are supporting Canadians with more equitable access to education and training. 
    Coast Capital is working to support more people to access the education and skills training they need to grow their careers and to prepare them for the jobs of the future.
  • They deliver financial tools, education, and advice for all.
    Coast Capital is helping their members and wider communities achieve their full potential through comprehensive and relevant financial education and trusted advice.
  • The business case for social purpose.
    Driving impact through business isn’t a new concept—but today, organizations are evolving to embed social purpose into every facet of their operations, making it a crucial element of their corporate strategy.  


The United Way’s Social Purpose Institute outlines six compelling benefits of the practice.  

A social purpose: 

  • Builds customer commitment: Social purpose companies attract and retain customers and build customer brand advocacy. 
  • Increases employee engagement: Social purpose companies recruit, retain, and motivate employees and build employee brand advocacy. 
  • Enhances stakeholder relationships: Businesses that demonstrate a social purpose build trust, reputation, and loyalty with their stakeholders—opening opportunities for new and deeper relationships.  
  • Builds social capital: Social purpose strengthens operating context and increases trust. 
  • Improves financial performance: Social purpose enhances financial performance, increases access to capital, and manages risk. 
  • Inspires innovation generation: social purpose increases innovation, enables business transformation, and enhances resiliency. 


The power of partnership 

Social purpose is a collaborative practice that requires organizations to come together, work together, and share openly.  

As Coast Capital moves through this journey, embracing the “we” of their business has helped them unlock new value and opportunities with leading partners across industries in Canada. No one organization can solve social issues independently, and partnership is key to moving the needle on real, tangible change. 

A great example of what can happen when like-minded organizations come together with a mutual purpose is a recent joint pilot project Coast Capital launched with DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society. 

With an appetite to fund a program under Coast Capital’s defined strategic imperative to build and champion more equitable and inclusive employment, a partnership was launched to help skilled newcomers to Canada, who after years of training and experience in their country of origin, experience overwhelming challenges as they seek to enter, and adapt to, a new labour market. 

Through the Express Grant for Foreign Credential Recognition for Women program, sponsored and funded by Coast Capital, female professionals are provided with funding to access resources and achieve the Canadian qualifications necessary to fast-track their professional settlement process, and better position them to make an impact in their communities. 

Partnerships like these remind us that real and lasting change cannot be achieved in isolation. Social purpose work is a journey and not a destination—and together, we can work to contribute to an equitable society, where we each have the opportunity to thrive.  


Embracing social purpose at Coast Capital has had an incredible impact on the way they work. Just last year, Coast Capital invested over $4 million in 117 partnerships and programs aligned to their purpose. Learn more about how Coast Capital is driving positive social impact for its employees, members, and communities. 

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