This week, the Vancouver Convention Centre, along with Simon Fraser University and Tourism Vancouver, was recognized as a Social Procurement Champion by Exchange Inner City and Buy Social Canada for demonstrating excellence in social procurement.
“We are honoured to be recognized for our practice of social procurement, an initiative that we are highly proud of and strive to more deeply integrate as part of our operational processes,” said Craig Lehto, General Manager, Vancouver Convention Centre. “Social responsibility is at the heart of our organization, and it is thanks to our exceptional teams who drive that mission forward that we have been able to so effectively collaborate with local social enterprises to support their missions and those they represent.”
“We value the commitment to social procurement from large institutions like the Vancouver Convention Centre. Not only does their purchasing power achieve their social responsibility goals, it also makes a meaningful contribution to the development of a thriving local economy that creates opportunities for all residents,” said Steve Johnston, Director of Exchange Inner City.
Since 2018, the Vancouver Convention Centre has formed partnerships with several local social enterprises including Embers and Hives for Humanity to provide sustainable employment opportunities for workers with barriers and support various initiatives within the facility.
One such partnership is with Binners’ Project, a local organization that advances social and economic inclusion and tackles sustainability issues through empowering and creating opportunities for binners, who now contribute to back-of-house support for the facility’s waste diversion program. Additionally, in cooperation with Mission Possible, a social enterprise that provides individuals with a renewed sense of dignity and purpose through meaningful work, the Convention Centre has offered temporary landscaping and maintenance positions.
The social procurement award was presented at an event held in Vancouver, B.C., at The Anjok, which also featured a panel discussion on the positive impacts of social procurement and utilized best practices.
“We are in excellent company and congratulate Simon Fraser University and Tourism Vancouver for their work implementing social procurement,” continued Lehto. “This practice can have enormous positive impact on our community, and we hope that more organizations will be inspired to also engage with and support their local social enterprises as part of their organizational mandate.”
The Convention Centre maintains long-standing partnerships with other community and charitable groups, including United We Can. Since 2011, the facility has donated over $157,000 worth of beverage recyclable to United We Can’s recycling depot. As well, the Convention Centre ensures that items left behind from events are donated to local charities for repurposing. To date, goods have been donated to: Vancouver Public Library, Vancouver Orphaned Kitten Rescue Association, Vancouver Food Bank Society, Union Gospel Mission and social enterprises like Common Thread.