Blog

  • 12 Dec 2013

    LOCO, the Columbia Institute and ISIS Research Centre at the UBC Sauder School of Business released a new report to influence increased local purchasing today. Buying Local: Tools for Forward-Thinking Institutions is a companion to The Power of Purchasing: The Economic Impacts of Local Procurement, released earlier this year, that quantified the benefit of purchasing from B.C.-based suppliers.

    Around the world, institutional procurement is beginning to incorporate the value of local economic health and vitality. Here in Canada, local governments and school districts alone spend more than $65 billion annually on the procurement of goods and services. Cities and regions spend millions on economic development, and hundreds of millions on procurement, yet these efforts are rarely aligned. Important opportunities exist to benefit public, non-profit and private sector institutions as well as communities by shifting purchasing dollars towards local business. This report outlines strategies and paths that policy-makers, sustainability managers, procurement professionals and others involved in institutional purchasing decisions can pursue to realize this potential.

    Around the world, there is a growing movement to support local economies, and various approaches are being taken in different places. Great benefits come from strong, resilient local economies, and many opportunities exist to take small steps that can majorly benefit our public institutions, businesses and communities. If purchasers are ready to take on leadership roles, the tools and solutions detailed here are effective ways to expand local purchasing and strengthen our communities.

    Part I of this report outlines the argument for local procurement. It demonstrates the power that institutional procurement has over the economy and highlights opportunities for change by examining the current landscape in Canada, the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. It details how local economic impacts fit within the definition of value when attempting to achieve best value in procurement.

    Part II and Part II of the report identify tools that can be used by institutions and policy-makers to increase local procurement. They outline a number of challenges, and detail solutions that are currently being used. Examples of the tools have been included along with references to material for further research.

  • 03 Jun 2013

    Our new study The Power of Purchasing, completed in cooperation with the Columbia Institute and ISIS at the Sauder School of Business, shows that sourcing from local suppliers has a big economic impact. The study is the first of its kind in Canada. It found that purchasing goods from locally-based suppliers creates nearly twice as much benefit to the local economy as buying from multinational chains.

    In British Columbia, local governments and school districts alone spend more than $6.7 billion annually on goods and services. This purchasing can be used to reinforce economic development and support strong communities when some of that money is spent with local suppliers.

    Using office supplies as an example, the study found that Mills Basics, a locally owned B.C. office supply company, re-circulates 33% of their revenue directly to residents and businesses in B.C., compared to 17% and 19% for their multinational counterparts. This presents a 77%-100% economic advantage for B.C. from buying local, and an 80%-100% increase in jobs per million dollars spent. The increase in  recirculation is attributed to greater employment on the part of the local company compared to multinationals, as seen in these figures.

    While purchasing policies and practice have traditionally focused narrowly on price, organizations are increasingly incorporating ethical and sustainability considerations into purchasing decisions. Local companies form the backbone of our economy, and LOCO has been advocating that businesses, institutions and consumers spend with local businesses because they support local causes, create local jobs and help build strong communities. Now we have the hard figures to back up just how much further the money goes when buying from local suppliers.

    Download the full study here