Many businesses aspire to do good by creating specialized programs and hiring executives, but the actual implementation of these programs often turns out to be much more challenging than anticipated. We frequently interact with leaders across different organizations who are very motivated about social procurement, but in many instances, this eagerness fails to materialize into the desired execution. Therefore, drawing on our experience and learning from process failures, we have compiled some best practices that we would like to share with those who truly want to advance their organization's social procurement efforts. If handled well, there can be no stopping the amount of impact your organization can make.
Develop a clear understanding of what social procurement means and why it's important for your organization. If you want to do social procurement it is very important that you yourself understand what it is and how it goes beyond CSR, Supplier Diversity and other initiatives. Once you have a solid understanding, it will be easier for you to convince your internal stakeholders
Identify specific causes or UN SDGs that align with your company's values, such as supported employment for people with barriers or addressing climate change.
Identify opportunities within your procurement process to integrate social procurement goals with other goals, such as supplier diversity and environmental sustainability.
Gain support from internal staff by creating a strong business case that aligns with departmental key performance indicators (KPIs) and includes an inspiring narrative.
Begin with a small number of products or services, perhaps using discreet spend budgets to begin with.
Engage with suppliers who prioritize social responsibility and align with your organization's values. Encourage subcontracting by motivating your contractors to also engage in social procurement practices.
Develop policies and procedures that promote social procurement and communicate these expectations to all relevant stakeholders.
Set a target, such as allocating 5% of total spend towards social procurement initiatives.
Establish a process for measuring the impact of your social procurement efforts and reporting on the results. Set measurable goals for social procurement and track progress regularly to ensure accountability and continuous improvement.
Think beyond traditional procurement products and services. You will be amazed to discover that there are social enterprises available to meet virtually any product or service need, including categories that you may not have previously considered.
Foster collaboration with other organizations and stakeholders to share best practices and leverage collective resources. Partner with intermediaries who can help you identify and vet social enterprises that meet your criteria.