Social procurement: using your business spend for good

Many organisations want to be part of the solution to social issues, from supporting Indigenous communities to providing opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in the workforce. Social procurement can help achieve these aims.

Key points

  • Social procurement means supporting social enterprises in the course of normal business operations.
  • Organisations can find social enterprises through various online directories such as Social Traders, Supply Nation and BuyAbility.
  • To find out how to get involved in social procurement or set up an Indigenous procurement policy, businesses can reach out to the AusPost Social Procurement Working Group.

What is Social Procurement?

Social Procurement is when organisations use their buying power to purchase goods and services, while generating social and environmental outcomes. It’s not philanthropic spend, rather essential spend used to procure goods and services we need to run our business – with the added benefit of social and environmental outcomes.

Social enterprises are businesses certified by Social Traders that trade to intentionally tackle social problems, improve communities, provide people access to employment and training, or help the environment. They are businesses like any other, but they exist specifically to create social impact.

How can you buy social?

There are an estimated 20,000 social enterprises operating across Australia1, and organisations can find many of them on various online directories such as:

  • Social Traders Finder, a national directory of certified social enterprises
  • Supply Nation, Australia’s leading database of verified Indigenous businesses
  • BuyAbility, an initiative of National Disability Services (NDS) which lists social enterprises that give people with disability the opportunity to participate in the workforce.

For any questions on how to engage Social Enterprises or Indigenous Business, please reach out to the Australia Post Social Procurement Working Group.

How does Australia Post engage in social procurement?

As a large organisation we’re able to use social procurement across a diverse range of categories including; employment services, cleaning and preventative maintenance, catering, delivery contractors, fleet, gifts and flowers, locksmiths, metal fabrication, pick and pack services, and stationery to name a few.

We have a target of procuring $60 million through social enterprises and Indigenous businesses between 2020-20222.

“We’re really proud that we can see so clearly the impact that our spending has in local Australian communities,” said Tony Citera, General Manager Capital Management, Procurement and Corporate Services. “We know that through this spend there are so many people benefitting, which is incredibly pleasing.”

It’s through this spend that Australia Post has supported employment and training opportunities for the disadvantaged, including people that have been unemployed and are facing difficulty re-entering the workforce, people with disabilities, new migrants and refugees, Indigenous Australians, at-risk and homeless, and marginalised youth.

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1 Australia Post, August 2018, Unlocking the value of social procurement and supplier diversity: Leading practice insights

2 Australia Post Group Corporate Responsibility Plan 2020-2022