Buying Local: Tools for Forward-Thinking Institutions

There are many opportunities for organizations to benefit themselves, as well as the economies that sustain them, by making minor adjustments to the way that they purchase goods and services. 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 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 III identify tools that can be used by institutions and policy-makers to increase local procurement. They outline a number of challenges, and details solutions that are currently being used. Examples of the tools have been included along with references to material for further research.

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