'Buy Social' movement comes to Halifax with 12 vendors

Consumers who care about the social footprint of the goods and services they use now have a way of feeling good about the businesses they deal with.

Movement follows buy local's success, but with a focus on ethics

An aerial view of Common Roots Urban Farm in downtown Halifax, located on the site of the old Queen Elizabeth High School.

Nova Scotia consumers concerned about the social footprint of the goods and services they use now have a way of feeling good about the businesses they deal with.

Companies and groups can now be certified "Buy Social."

Similar to the Buy Local movement, Buy Social aims to raise awareness of the social implications and the benefits of using companies that take an active interest in the social value of their business.

Stephanie Pronk, of Common Good Solutions Inc. in Halifax, helped bring the movement to Canada.

"It means there is a marketing stamp of approval that sort of says these social enterprises and organizations who are making a social impact with their good and services are legitimate and they should be trusted by government and corporate buyers," she explains.

Many of the enterprises that have been certified in Canada so far include those that assure living wages, purchase from fair trade suppliers and provide jobs for people who have barriers to finding employment.

The movement started as Social Enterprise UK in 2013 and launched in Canada in April.

To qualify, a business or enterprise needs to apply and prove they prioritize community benefits and social impact over private profit.

Already 14 Nova Scotia groups and businesses have applied and 12 have qualified for the certification. Some of them include:

  • Common Roots Urban Farm in Halifax
  • Conway Workshop in Digby
  • Dartmouth Adult Services Centre
  • Horizon Achievement Centre in Sydney
  • In My Own Voice in Halifax
  • Metro Care and Share Society in Halifax
  • New Leaf Enterprises in Halifax
  • Petstuff on the Go in Dartmouth

Pronk finds buying social isn't more expensive.

"I think it's actually — in terms of government savings — more beneficial and governments already support non-profits and other organizations that do social value work," she said.

She sees the movement growing in Canada.

"I think the blended value business of doing business while also doing good is very important and I think it's something that should be done more, and is being done more."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.