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7 Options for Socially Conscious Procurement in Greater Vancouver

Published on November 4, 2019

Here at Realize, we’re incredibly passionate about using our procurement practices to support local, socially conscious organizations. Before we work with a new supplier, we go through a vetting process to make sure their values and practices align with ours. To share the love, we thought we’d share our list of qualified social suppliers:

Mills Basics Office Productivity

Mills began in 1949, when Don Mills set out from Kitsilano to become the youngest person in Canada to establish a commercial stationery company. Mills continues to be a family-owned and operated business, led by Don’s sons. Mills actively engages with other social enterprises, utilizes unique hiring practices, and provides generous sponsorship and donations to initiatives, foundations and non-profits. They were also the first office supply company in Canada to become a Certified B Corporation.

HAVE Café and Catering

HAVE Culinary Training Societies provides food service job training and work opportunities to individuals facing barriers to employment. They have an impressive success rate, with over 75% of students gaining stable employment in the tourism and hospitality industry. They also operate a wonderful café in Downtown Vancouver and provide a socially conscious catering service.

Potluck Café Society

Potluck Café Society is an award-winning social enterprise on a mission to create jobs and provide healthy food for people in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. They run a great catering business, which provides up to 25% of the operating revenue that is required to run the Society’s ongoing programs. Programs include outreach, community kitchens, training, community meals and a produce market.

Wood Shop

Wood Shop Workers Co-operative provides furnishings for home and office that both look good and do good. Everything they produce is always handcrafted right here in Vancouver, BC with locally sourced, reclaimed materials so no forests, natural habitats, barns, or cultural heritage sites are ever harmed. For the final touches, they never use finishing products that are tested on animals, and ship using only recyclable materials. They’re even a worker-owned cooperative business, so their workers don’t just survive- they thrive.

Novex Courier

Novex is one of the largest local same-day couriers in British Columbia, making more than 1700 deliveries per day. They understand that their business contributes to environmental concerns and have developed a comprehensive plan to become a sustainable organization. As a result, they were the first courier in North America to become carbon neutral. They reached this milestone by transitioning their vehicles so that 100% of the fleet are ultra-low emission vehicles or better, and by offsetting the remaining emissions. Novex is also a certified B Corporation.


While Camino is based in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, several of their products are absolute staples in our kitchen. Camino offers a range of certified Fairtrade and Organic food products, made from quality ingredients that are grown by family farmers in Central and South America and Southeast Asia. Their hot chocolate is an absolute must!


SPUD (Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery) is a certified B Corporation who is on a mission to provide simple access to real, healthy, local food. They will deliver directly to your home or office, and ALL of the products they stock are either certified organic, natural, or locally and sustainably made. On top of this, they are also the lowest waste grocery company in Canada.

For more inspiration about where to use your procurement practices for good, click here to check out Buy Social’s Canada-wide Directory.


John Kay
Client Solutions in Strategy, Governance, Leadership and Finance

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