New Zealand Post has helped improve the lives of Indian cotton workers ©Getty Images/Alexandre Sattler
New Zealand Post has helped improve the lives of Indian cotton workers ©Getty Images/Alexandre Sattler

How to spend one dollar twice

That’s what New Zealand Post is doing by sharing contracts with social enterprises, which reinvest profit for the benefit of community or social gain, CIPS New Zealand conference delegates learned

Procurement is evolving and value is now defined beyond purely financial considerations, says Matt Parsons, procurement team manager of New Zealand Post. The state-owned postal service has been working with the Akina Foundation, a social enterprise, which helps connect businesses with other social enterprises.

New Zealand Post is dedicated to supporting social enterprises, as it enables the business to continue with an overarching commitment to community investment. “We have an obvious connection with communities and care about supporting them,” says Parsons. “Social enterprise is going to grow,” he adds.

One opportunity Parsons found was to move a contract for polo shirts from the usual uniform supplier to a small business whose purpose is to create a positive social and environmental impact – it pays a good living wage to workers in India, provides education and helps improve lives. “We talked to the incumbent. We have a really good relationship, so they knew that there was good reason,” he says.

Parsons offers these tips on involving social enterprises:

• The contract size needs to be worthwhile enough for the social enterprise and still suit the wider business and the incumbent.

• Set out a road map and implementation plan to build momentum. Take the quick wins, but plan for the harder parts that need time.

• Support others. As well as engaging an expert, such as Akina, buyer-to-buyer support opportunities are important.

• Engage with the supply chain. You’ll likely find suppliers are keen to take the same journey.

• Align action strategically across the organisation, gain high-level support and engage with any pockets of interest around the organisation.

• Learn. Capture the learning from the quick wins, create case studies and talk to your suppliers and buyers.

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