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March 31
CSR Purchasing: Help us build our next CSR resource!

Is your cleaning contractor reducing waste?  Are your cheques and paper forms sustainable?  Are the refreshments at your AGM promoting social inclusion?
Many credit unions look at their purchasing practices as a first step to developing their CSR baseline and strategy.  Adopting a CSR purchasing policy can help credit unions achieve their own goals, while sending ripples into the economy so that suppliers see the benefits of reducing their environmental impact or increase positive social outcomes.
One example taken right from the Credit Union Social Responsibility Roadmap is Assiniboine Credit Union’s decision to source from community enterprises that create jobs for target groups, like Aboriginal people.  For instance, Assiniboine bought goods and services from two Aboriginal co-ops in 2009, including Neechi Foods Co-op and Northern Star Worker Co-op.
Responding to your feedback, Canadian Central is in the process of developing a tool on CSR purchasing.  But first, we want to know more about how your credit union is making purchasing part of your CSR plan.  Specifically, does your credit union have any of the following: 
  • A sustainable purchasing policy?
  • A sustainable purchasing strategy or program?
  • Sustainable purchasing procedures (Supplier Codes of Conduct, RFP clauses etc.)?
  • Examples of supplier engagement or partnerships with other organizations on sustainable purchasing projects?
  • Measurement and reporting system for sustainable purchasing?
  • Examples of “green” screened purchases (e.g. green cleaning supplies, renewable energy)?
  • Examples of social benefit purchases (e.g. sourcing from a co-operative, social enterprise or Aboriginal company)?
  • Or cost savings from sustainable purchasing efforts?
Please take a minute to comment below to let us know one of the ways your credit union is innovating in CSR purchasing.


A grassroots start

I've been at MSCU a year and a half and we haven't had a push on the environmental piece of our CSR strategy. However, we have a number of staff that think "green" when it comes to purchasing.

As much as possible, our paper supplies and marketing materials are FSC (or better), our coffee has quietly shifted to fair trade, new lighting in a branch uses a lot less energy, we don't use any disposable dishes or cups, our new servers are more energy efficient etc.

Part of that is that more products are available but it takes conscientious staff in their normal roles to make the overall difference. It doesn't take much for this to happen and you don't need a big policy to start making changes!

I'm quietly keeping a list of everything...future policy will be better supported by it!
ben janzenNo presence information on 4/1/2011 10:20 AM

Thanks Ben!

Thanks for letting us know what's going on at Mennonite, Ben.  It's not unusual for a shift to ethical or environmental purchasing to begin the way you've described: small changes pursued by a few conscientious people, given the nod from the top to pursue them.  I'd be willing to wager that a lot credit union staff would attest to this.  What's great is that your list holds the potential to inspire and inform a future CSR purchasing policy.
Kevin DorseNo presence information on 4/1/2011 11:04 AM
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