Money talks, BS walks 🤑

Money talks, BS walks 🤑
Photo by Erik Mclean / Unsplash

Last week, I covered a new certification for social and environmental impact organizations, People and Planet First, hatched by the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF).

This week, we’ll look at one of the certification’s differentiating points: How it proactively manifests itself in the marketplace.

That manifestation is a program in Portland, Oregon, intended to catalyze supply chain purchasing 💰 in a way that purposefully multiplies impact.

That’s where we get the Money Talks, BS Walks – because in this activation, it's all about the Benjamins.

Called the “Impact Purchasing Pilot Program,” the initiative takes a page out of the old Local First movement of the early 2000’s, whereby local merchants banded together and attempted to drive consumer spending to locally owned businesses. 

In 2024’s edition, the Impact Purchasing Program is focusing on the B2B supply chain.

The program is a partnership between SEWF and the nonprofit Purchasing with Purpose.  It’s being catalyzed locally in Portland by The Impact Collective.

This is an offshoot of a movement known internationally as “social procurement,” which has gained traction around the globe with governments and businesses intentionally making purchases from social enterprises.

Here in the U.S., $23 trillion is spent on goods and services each year.  While we’re at the very teensy-weensy phase of purchasing with profit here in the States, this just means there’s a monumental opportunity to unleash its power to benefit society.

“If we can shift just 1% of that spending, it would be massive,” says Rebecca Dray, executive director of Purchasing with Purpose.

The path to massive, as they say, begins with a pilot program in Portland, and its participants exemplify People and Planet First’s operating concept for scaling impact by leveraging a “network of networks.”

Dray was familiar with SEWF from her time running social enterprises in the UK and sparked the idea there.  She then connected with Andy Reed, who at the time was working for Prosper Portland, a governmental economic development organization, as he had been interested in how local businesses could reinvest in the community.  He, in turn, pointed her to the Impact Collective for local activation of the initiative.

And voila – where once there was nothing, now there is the Impact Purchasing Program PDX.

The pilot program intends to help larger organizations inject more purpose into their supply chain spending by connecting them with People and Planet First verified organizations.

The Impact Collective is forming a buyer’s cohort – organizations that fiscally sponsor the program and are committed to making at least one purchase from a People and Planet First verified enterprise.  As part of the initiative, the Impact Collective also performs an audit of the sponsor’s supply chain to provide the sponsor with deeper insight into how to better align spending with its values.

Thus far, the American College of Healthcare Sciences, Nossa Familia Coffee, Prosper Portland, the Port of Portland, and SAP have signed on as sponsor buyers.

On the sell side of the equation, The Impact Collective aims to help 100 companies achieve People and Planet First certification and qualify as potential purchasing partners for the buyer’s cohort.

“What we’re saying is you can make your supply chain and procurement process more impactful by shifting spend to Portland businesses that put people and planet first,” said Sarah Holdeman, COO and co-founder of The Impact Collective, who is leading the local effort along with her co-founder Rebecca Goldcrump.  “We believe this will power a more regenerative economy and provide new growth opportunities for verified organizations.”

I’ve been a fan of the economic multiplier effect since my days as an Econ TA in college, and have written here about its potential when applied to impact organizations. As with the magic of compounding interest, it’s a force that can quickly accelerate the movement of businesses for good.

Dray says that plans are already afoot for similar projects in Houston, Phoenix, Chicago, Rhode Island, New York, and Minneapolis, where they’ll use learnings from the Portland experiment to further spending collaborations by government, business, faith organizations, and institutions of higher education. 

I think that’s so exciting, though there are two things missing from Rebecca’s list:  Boise and your community 🤑.

Godspeed, friends.


🙋‍♂️ An Easy Ask

I'm starting a coworking space in Boise and seek your guidance on selecting a name. The coworking space will target creative professionals who care about community and those who work for social and environmental impact. Please select one of the three names below you like best – am also willing to entertain your naming ideas as well. Just let me know by replying to this email. Thank you!

  • B-Town Collaborative
  • Social Good Network
  • Inspiration Alley

💬 Quote of the Week

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country... corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed." Abraham Lincoln

💥 Quick Hits

The state of corporate purpose – This year's edition of the annual research report produced by our friends at Benevity.

Are you zoning out? – Like many of you, I'm a gardener, which is why I'm interested in how growing zones are changing because of our warming climate.

Geeks versus climate change – Can video gamers help save the planet from global warming?

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 Thanks for spending time with us – and making it all the way to newsletter's end. We'll see you next week.

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