Six steps to Impact Sourcing every procurement leader should know

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Impact sourcing

Impact Sourcing is gaining momentum. More than 50 companies from around the world have come together through the Global Impact Sourcing Coalition (GISC) to promote and advance the wide-scale adoption of Impact Sourcing, and more are joining the movement each year.


Impact Sourcing is a business practice where a company prioritises suppliers that intentionally hire

and provide career development opportunities to people who would otherwise have limited employment prospects, such as the long-term unemployed or those living under the national poverty line.


We call these employees impact workers, because through employment, they not only take their first step onto a career ladder that leads to economic self-sufficiency through income, skills development and professional advancement, but they are the ones who also go on to invest in their families and communities. This is how we achieve impact through procurement.


When we ask representatives from buyer companies to describe the benefits of Impact Sourcing, they talk about accessing suppliers with responsible hiring practices that compete on quality, service, and price. It helps them to meet their supplier inclusion and diversity goals. Of course, they are also very motivated by creating positive social impact for impact workers, their families and communities.


In response to buyer companies’ questions about how they can get started, GISC is launching a Buyers’ Impact Sourcing Guide on September 19th. The guide will offer practical guidance on how to develop, implement and manage an Impact Sourcing programme. It builds on the experiences, lessons learned and perspectives of leading buyer companies within the GISC.


The Buyers’ Impact Sourcing Guide will outline the six key steps to developing a strategy here and link to resources and best practices that will help a company move from awareness to impact. These steps include:

  1. Develop an Impact Sourcing strategy
  2. Identify and develop Impact Sourcing opportunities
  3. Support Impact Sourcing service providers
  4. Embed Impact Sourcing in the organisation
  5. Measure and report on Impact Sourcing initiatives
  6. Collaborate with peers and other stakeholders

Tim Hopper, manager of responsible sourcing initiatives at Microsoft, said: “As soon as we heard about Impact Sourcing, we wanted to be more intentional about widening the social impact we could have. We have helped develop the Buyer’s Impact Sourcing Guide, which essentially lays out the steps we took as we developed Impact Sourcing within our organisation. We hope it is a useful resource for other companies wanting to be intentional about Impact Sourcing.”


The guide shows how to review a company’s current supply base and identify suppliers that may already be committed to inclusive employment. The guide further recommends integration criteria, including adherence to the Impact Sourcing Standard into RFXs and/or market scan processes. It gives examples of measurable key performance indicators to measure progress against objectives.


The Buyer’s Impact Sourcing Guide will be available at


In September, GISC will also launch the world’s first Impact Sourcing Supplier Directory, which will help GISC members to identify service providers that demonstrate commitment to inclusive employment, across multiple procurement categories.


Representatives from buyer companies are invited to an event on September 19th entitled ‘Impact Sourcing: Economic Inclusion through Procurement’, which will include an interactive panel discussion with GISC member companies and an opportunity to hear from impact workers directly. Participating companies include Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Bloomberg, and Nielsen.


Mark Williams is a manager at the Global Impact Sourcing Coalition


This contributed article has been written by a guest writer at the invitation of Procurement Leaders. Procurement Leaders received no payment directly connected with the publishing of this content.

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