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  • Writer's pictureAB Seed

Addressing Poverty through Social Procurement

City of Edmonton Leads the Way

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We can broaden access to quality jobs and make sure money and buying power stays in our local economies. How? By the community taking action on the idea that every purchase we make gets us both the things we need and what the community needs. EndPovertyEdmonton is bringing this idea to life through its work with the City of Edmonton on social procurement.

EndPovertyEdmonton is excited that the City of Edmonton demonstrated its leading commitment by passing a sustainable procurement policy in December 2019 that includes social procurement goals. The City has tremendous buying power, and they are now putting out request for proposals for a construction project using social procurement criteria. In response, construction companies are getting involved and looking at opportunities to include workforce development organizations, social enterprises, or local businesses in their bids. That will translate into local jobs and more purchasing in local economies.

In turn, the City of Edmonton’s leadership causes a ripple effect throughout the community. Expand this to different areas such as public works, infrastructure, or business areas making food purchases, and the benefits for our local economy just grow. Already, other large institutions and companies are noticing what the City is doing and looking at how they too, can do the same thing with their buying power. Soon enough, every size and model of business and individual will be considering how they leverage their existing buying activities to benefit our local economy.

It is opportune timing, given that buy local initiatives are on everyone’s minds. The global pandemic is forcing people to reassess and recognize we need a better plan to come out of this.

To expand understanding of how to leverage social purchasing for win-win situations, EndPovertyEdmonton is working with the Edmonton Construction Association, the City of Edmonton, and construction companies here in Edmonton to present a webinar on March 18 about opportunities through social procurement. EndPovertyEdmonton also works with companies, by helping them find people in the community they can purchase from, including social enterprises, diverse business, and workforce development organizations. The webinar is going to be a great opportunity to see what is going on in Edmonton right now around transforming procurement.

Curious why EndPovertyEdmonton is leading this work? People often equate poverty with homelessness and a level of destitution, or deep poverty. The full breadth of poverty, however, includes not having enough to thrive, to be struggling on a low income, or lacking cultural, or community participation access. The number of Edmontonians in poverty (pre-COVID) was well over 100,000 based on income alone. Social procurement is one way to make sure we broaden access to quality jobs.

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