‘Impact ideas’
Amanda Loewen - Dec 06 - Columnists

Buy different, build communities

Image: Facebook

One of the easiest ways to contribute to improved community, social, and environmental outcomes is to change the way you spend your money.

Social purchasing is a growing trend among individuals, organizations, and businesses who choose to purchase from suppliers that are directly working to address issues such as homelessness, poverty, access to local food, and are creating employment opportunities for people with barriers, etc.

It doesn’t necessarily mean paying more, but it can; it usually means buying differently.

Catering, clothing, transportation, coffee, and restaurants (among many others) are products or services being offered with an added social value. Here are a few examples of the diversity of the services and products you could choose to purchase from social enterprises:

The biggest challenge reported by organizations in the social sector is lack of a sustainable revenue model.

Social enterprises use entrepreneurial revenue models to help generate their own money which is directed towards solving community, social, or environmental objectives. These organizations can be run as a non-profit, for profit, charity, co-op, or hybrid like a Community Contribution Company, but the majority of profits must be directed at achieving social objectives.

Social purchasing doesn’t mean that competitive pricing and quality products and services should be ignored–it simply means there is another factor for consumers to consider when making purchases.

Changing your individual, family, business, or organizational purchasing habits can significantly contribute to improved capacity to create positive community, social, and environmental outcomes.

Listen to Don’s story about participating in training and employment programs from Mission Possible in Vancouver. It’s a great example of the life changing difference you can make from using and supporting social purchasing.

We can choose to build our communities and our economy differently.

Amanda Loewen is the marketing coordinator for the social enterprise accelerator Purppl. She joins the team with a Bachelor of Management from UBC Okanagan, where she focused her studies on marketing.


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