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MEDIA RELEASE: New collaboration to embed social sustainability into Australian supply chains

Sydney, Australia (Wednesday 24th October 2018) – Three new partnerships for Australia’s Supply Chain Sustainability School indicate a new level of industry collaboration, a more accessible range of free learning resources and case studies, and a focus on social sustainability as the Property Council of Australia, Social Traders and Supply Nation all commit to working with the School.

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Launched in March 2015, the School was established to increase sustainability knowledge and competency along property, construction and infrastructure supply chains, and has grown steadily since. The School is funded and supported by 23 partner organisations across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, and provides hundreds of free learning resources to sole traders, small, medium and large organisations alike.

“Our recent research confirms not only that 63% of participants believe sustainability knowledge has become more important in the last year,” says the School’s Chief Executive Officer, Robin Mellon, “but also that 60% of respondents identified ‘social sustainability’ as the biggest skills gap across the industry.” The topic of social sustainability includes diversity and inclusion, health and wellbeing, social value and social enterprise, human rights and modern slavery, as well as local, social and Indigenous procurement.

“By working with the Property Council of Australia we can add learning resources and case studies around issues such as affordability, gender diversity and retirement living to the School’s growing free resource library,” Mr Mellon explains. “Through our alliance with Social Traders we can make more resources available about social enterprises, procurement practices and social value. And by collaborating with Supply Nation we can promote their work on Indigenous procurement and share case studies of successful business relationships, from small to large,” he adds.

The Property Council of Australia is the leading advocate for the industry that employs 1.4 million Australians. Francesca Muskovic, the Property Council’s Policy Manager for Sustainability and Regulatory Affairs says social sustainability and gender diversity have become increasingly important to employees and suppliers over the last decade.

Australian property companies have forged a world-leading position on environmental sustainability and are increasingly focused on social outcomes as we have an enormous capacity and opportunity to do well by doing good. In the same way we are using transparency and reporting to drive improved diversity outcomes in the property industry, we want to apply a common set of metrics to support greater benchmarking and place a more robust value on the ‘people’ part of the triple bottom line,” Ms Muskovic says.

“We are also intensely focused on issues like Modern Slavery, where the property industry has significant influence across a large supply chain and is well-placed to work collaboratively to help deliver solutions. By partnering with the School, we’re embarking on a project to provide education and support for continuous improvement for suppliers to identify and remediate risks of modern slavery,” she adds.

Social Traders supports the creation of jobs for disadvantaged Australians by connecting business and government buyers with social enterprises. Mark Daniels, Executive Director at Social Traders, says social value has become increasingly important to employees and suppliers over the last decade. “Business and government are increasingly taking the time to make more informed purchases, with greater importance placed on ‘social value’ rather than just price and quantity,” he states.

“By re-considering procurement policies and practices, organisations are realising they can significantly contribute to improving employment outcomes for people experiencing disadvantage.  This provides an important competitive edge in staff attraction and retention, while also making their products and brands more desirable,” Mr Daniels adds.

“We’re excited to be working with the Supply Chain Sustainability School. Australia’s current infrastructure boom is being led by the property, construction and infrastructure sectors, and the opportunity for bringing disadvantaged Australians into the labour force means this boom can mean so much more than improved roads and rail networks,” he concludes.

Supply Nation provides Australia’s largest national directory of verified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses. Supply Nation’s Chief Executive Officer, Laura Berry, explains that “supplier diversity is a growing movement in Australia and has become increasingly important to corporate and government organisations of all sizes.”

Supply Nation’s research shows that for every dollar of revenue Indigenous businesses produce, there is on average $4.41 of social return. “The impact of engaging an Indigenous business can flow much farther than the business owner and their families – it can foster momentous change within a whole community,” says Ms Berry.

“Since its introduction in July 2015 the Indigenous Procurement Policy has contributed to a significant growth in the Indigenous business sector with approximately $1 billion in contracts awarded to more than 1,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses across 6,850 contracts,” she continues.

“Supply Nation is looking forward to working in partnership with the Supply Chain Sustainability School to develop an online resource tool for the School’s members about the history, importance and long-term business benefits of supplier diversity in Australia’s business landscape. We are committed to collaborating with like-minded organisations such as the School to work towards our vision of a prosperous, vibrant and sustainable Indigenous business sector.” Ms Berry concludes.

As Mr Mellon explains, “these partnerships are tremendously exciting because they mean more free resources, more accessibility and more relevance for all of the small, medium and large businesses working in our supply chains and projects; and growing their capabilities means growing Australia’s social capital.”

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About Australia’s Supply Chain Sustainability School

The School was established in 2015 to increase sustainability knowledge and competency along the construction and infrastructure supply chains. With an emphasis on supporting small-to-medium enterprises, the School provides free e-learning, information and face-to-face training for construction and infrastructure suppliers, contractors and service providers. Companies signing up can access a wealth of free resources and tools to meet increasing sustainability demands and performance benchmarks, and to help build clever, collaborative and competitive construction and infrastructure sectors: www.supplychainschool.org.au


About the Property Council of Australia (PCA)

The Property Council of Australia champions the industry that employs 1.4 million Australians and shapes the future of our communities and cities. Property Council members invest in, design, build and manage places that matter to Australians: our homes, retirement villages, shopping centres, office buildings, industrial areas, education, research and health precincts, tourism and hospitality venues and more. On behalf of our members, we provide the research and thought leadership to help decision-makers create vibrant communities, great cities and strong economies. We support smarter planning, better infrastructure, sustainability, and globally competitive investment and tax settings which underpin the contribution our members make to the economic prosperity and social well-being of Australians: www.propertycouncil.org.au


About Social Traders

Social Traders was established in 2008 as an independent not for profit company. Social Traders exists to connect social enterprises with social procurement opportunities and supporting social enterprise to successfully deliver on the contracts they win. By 2021 Social Traders goal is to create 1,500 jobs for disadvantaged Australians. To do this we’re creating a community of 95 business and government buyers and 600 Social Traders certified suppliers and facilitating $105 million in procurement spend: www.socialtraders.com.au 


About Supply Nation

Since 2009, Supply Nation has worked with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses along with procurement teams from government and corporate Australia to help shape today’s emerging and rapidly evolving Indigenous business sector. Supply Nation’s world-leading 5-step verification process provides peace of mind by ensuring that all businesses listed on Australia’s largest national directory of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses, Indigenous Business Direct, are not only Indigenous owned but are also regularly audited for changes in company structure and ownership. Supply Nation partners with its paid membership of government, corporate and not-for-profit organisations to develop procurement policies that modify and redirect spend to include the traditionally underutilised Indigenous business sector: www.supplynation.org.au

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