A Social Procurement Program can Position Peterborough as a Trend Leader: Kemi Akapo

‘I feel this is the way things are going; I think this is the way the world is going right now’

Town Ward Coun. Kemi Akapo says the City of Peterborough has an opportunity to be a leader among Canadian municipalities if council decides to adopt a social procurement program to buy goods and services.

City councillors will have a chance to learn more about social procurement when they meet with David LePage, managing partner of Buy Social Canada, a Vancouver-based organization that promotes social procurement, on Jan. 21.

Social procurement — also called social purchasing — is a way of attaining goods and services that leverages buying power to gain social benefits.

“People are a lot more conscious about… choosing to spend their monies in ways that are ethical and socially conscious. So, how can we, as a city, start taking leadership on that and encourage other people to do the same?”

Kemi made a motion at the July 8 council meeting that the city prepare a report providing background information on social procurement and possible next steps if the city decides to adopt a social procurement program.

The motion was passed at the July 22 council meeting.

“I thought to myself, ‘how can we extend our money as a city?’ ” Kemi says, when asked why she made the motion.

“People are always talking about budget, and it’s really important that we spend our money wisely. A lot of what we spend our money on is procurement. So how can we look at the system we have in place and stretch our dollar as much as possible?”

During their meeting with David, councillors will learn more about benefits that can be reaped by municipalities when they adopt social procurement programs and invest in local social enterprises.

Information garnered by councillors from the meeting will be used in the report the city will be submitting by the end of March.

There are other Canadian cities that have successfully adopted social procurement programs — Toronto and Calgary, for example — and Kemi says the time is right for Peterborough to follow suit.

“I feel this is the way things are going; I think this is the way the world is going right now,” she says.

“People are a lot more conscious about… choosing to spend their monies in ways that are ethical and socially conscious. So, how can we, as a city, start taking leadership on that and encourage other people to do the same?

“I think that’s the way things are going, and I think at some point you will see a lot of (cities) doing this, at least I hope.”

Click here to learn more and register for a community-wide conversation  with David LePage of Buy Social Canada on January 22 from 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

If you are a purchasing agent and are interested in a conversation for purchasers only please contact peter@electriccitymagazine.ca and set some time aside for Tuesday morning, January 21.

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