Social Procurement

University of Fredericton

Author +
Sandra Hamilton

Year: 2014

The Olympic, Commonwealth & Pan Am Games, and the growing case for Social Procurement Policy in Canada

Procurement: Moving from ‘Do no harm’ to ‘Do some good’

With each major games comes the generation and codification of knowledge; elevating organisational intelligence, and contributing to a greater understanding within governments of how procurement can be leveraged to achieve social impact. With lessons learned from each event, and from the environmental movement of the 1970’s, procurement is now poised to move from a reduce-the-risk, and protect the earth, philosophy of ‘Do no harm;’ to a more proactive and strategic approach which actually ‘Does some good.’

What is social procurement?

At this emergent stage there appears to be many definitions and opportunities, but very little empirical evidence to demonstrate and measure impact. Social procurement can mean socially responsible screening to mitigate risk in the supply chain; it can mean leveraging procurement dollars to generate a value-added, social impact; or it can mean procuring social services in a way which moves beyond traditional philanthropy and grants (Burkett 2010). We could further consider consumer, organisational and public sector approaches to social procurement. However, for the purpose of this paper, the focus will be social procurement within the public sector.

Download the Social Procurement research report

About the author

Sandra Hamilton is the former business manager to John Furlong, CEO, Vancouver 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games; Senior Partner, Twentyten Group; Director of Marketing, Vancouver Sun and Publisher of BC Woman Magazine. Hamilton’s consultancy work spans 20 years, working primarily with Olympians managing the transition from sport to business, and with charities pursuing new revenue streams.

Today, Hamilton works to advance social enterprise within the not-for-profit sector, social innovation policy within the public sector and social entrepreneurialism in rural communities. She is a BC Partner for Social Impact, pursuing graduate studies in the field of Social Enterprise Leadership. More at