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Yarra Valley Water has announced that it aims to support Indigenous suppliers and certified social enterprises with a $16 million pledge over the next six years. 

Additionally, the utility set a goal that eight per cent of its active suppliers would be certified First Nations-owned businesses by 2030, with a current target of four per cent tin 2024.  

Yarra Valley Water also aims to increase the percentage of its active suppliers who are certified social enterprises to five percent by 2030, which is sitting at three per cent in 2024. 

In the 2022–23 financial year, Yarra Valley Water partnered with Enable to decommission 653 laptops in a sustainable manner.   

Yarra Valley Water’s Managing Director, Pat McCafferty, said Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles are central to Yarra Valley Water’s operations and procurement strategies. 

“When the time came to decommission these laptops, we wanted to make sure that our actions aligned with our broader strategy of supporting communities and protecting the environment. 

“By working with Enable, we could address e-waste, create jobs and support people facing employment barriers at the same time.”   

The laptops were donated to students in need through partnerships with organisations such as Banyule Council. Enable also dismantled and recycled IT products, significantly cutting down on e-waste. 

The utility’s social procurement policy advocates for the efficient use of materials and energy to conserve natural resources. Yatta Valley Water said that purchasing from suppliers that help reduce e-waste is prioritised and the utility has e-waste bins in its offices for items like printer cartridges. 

Additionally, Yarra Valley Water’s procurement policy promotes the use of Indigenous and social enterprises and its procurement process is designed to facilitate this, whenever possible.  

Building thriving communities and leading for an environmentally sustainable future are key pillars of the company’s 2030 strategy. 

“Building social and sustainable procurement into our long-term strategy shows how we can deliver real, tangible benefits to communities,” Mr McCafferty said.  

“Collaborating with innovative social enterprises like Enable helps us meet our goals while having a positive impact. 

“Businesses are now not only creating economic value but also building economic capacity within Indigenous and social enterprises. Empowering individuals, families and communities economically is one of the most effective ways to create opportunities that lead to real, meaningful, and lasting change.” 

Mr McCafferty said that Yarra Valley Water would drive hard to meet and exceed the targets and acknowledged that this type of progress doesn’t happen overnight.  

“Achieving these targets involves a lot of hard work, tough questions and ongoing improvement. It gives us an objective view about what we are doing well and where we need to improve in terms of social and environmental impact.  

“We believe that our spending decisions can drive significant social and environmental outcomes. This is just one example of how we plan to make a real difference in the communities we serve.”  

Image credit: metamorworks/Shutterstock.com. 

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