Colin Biggers & Paisley seeks to conduct business in an ethical and responsible manner throughout all areas of the practice. There are a variety of ways in which responsible business can be practiced, however one of the most tangible and effective mechanisms is through the procurement of goods and services offered by Indigenous businesses.
Supporting Indigenous business is not just socially sound, it also makes sense commercially.
During the tender process, many corporate organisations now ask for information on broader aspects of the prospective panel firms’ business. This can include questions on gender diversity, environmental sustainability and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. By supporting businesses owned by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples the impact can be profound. Supply Nation, Australia’s peak body for the promotion of Aboriginal-owned businesses says, “For every $1 of revenue, Certified Suppliers generate $4.41 of social return“, which means “your dollar is working four times harder when you spend with Indigenous businesses.”
As of 1 July 2018 the NSW Government has introduced their Aboriginal Procurement Policy, which aims to award at least three per cent of the total number of domestic contracts for goods and services issued by NSW Government agencies by 2021. This commitment will support around 1,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander jobs over the next three years across a range of industries.
While Colin Biggers & Paisley is working to a much smaller scale, by slightly modifying our own procurement practices we can add to the creation of jobs. Michelle Evans, an academic who leads research on indigenous business at the Asia Pacific Social Impact Leadership Centre, says “we know that Aboriginal businesses are 30 per cent more likely to employ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples” and by engaging Indigenous businesses for everyday purchases, we can help perpetuate this trend in employment.
Our Artists in the Black Challenge (AITBC) provides one example of how we can actively seek to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business owners.
On 16 July, four of the AITBC trekkers became accredited in Remote First Aid training through First Aid Pro; a South Australian business owned by an Aboriginal woman. The team will also embark on their trek equipped with first aid kits purchased from Heart to Heart, another Aboriginal owned business. During the week of the Challenge, several tourism and hospitality businesses owned by Aboriginal people have been engaged for accommodation and cultural experiences.
It’s easy to support businesses owned by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in your personal life, too. Supply Nation has recently simplified their website to allow you to search for certified businesses in a number of different industries across all of Australia. If you can think of a way we can diversify our supply chain or procurement practices, please get in touch.