Why National Close the Gap Day is important and the difference you can make

Published on February 22, 2024
Why National Close the Gap Day is important and the difference you can make

National Close the Gap Day is an annual event that raises awareness and seeks to close the gap with respect to health outcomes between First Nations Peoples and non-Indigenous Australians. This year, the day is being marked on Thursday, 21 March.

Winc spoke with Mark Daniels, Company Director at Social Procurement Australasia to understand why Closing the Gap is so important and how taking meaningful action on your organisation’s commitment to supplier diversity and First Nations procurement can make a real difference.


Why is National Close the Gap Day important?

“From the procurement perspective, National Close the Gap Day presents an opportunity for procurement professionals to take a step back and consider how they can support First Nations businesses to make them part of their supply chain.

Successful partnerships with First Nations businesses, however, are rarely just transactional – there is a business development side to it as well. Think about what support those First Nations businesses need to successfully engage with your organisation. It might be different payment terms which are easier for a smaller organisation to manage. Or agreeing to longer terms contracts rather than one-off engagements to give the First Nations business more security.

It’s about getting the right ecosystem in place that allows the First Nations business to thrive while delivering the goods and services your organisation needs,” explains Mark.


What are some ways you can make a difference?

You can do wholesale root and branch change to the way you buy or you can just start by getting some runs on the board. Here are a few ideas:

1. Make simple swaps

“Work with a supplier like Winc who has a ready-made network of First Nations businesses that you can support. Then encourage your people to make simple swaps which purchasing their workplace supplies such as stationery, kitchenware, cleaning and even office furniture. This is a simple way businesses can help support First Nations communities,” says Mark.

You could be doing the same process with some of the services you procure by looking at Supply Nation’s list of registered First Nations businesses or by partnering with each state's Indigenous Chambers of Commerce. First Nations businesses operate in every industry, so don’t limit your imagination in relation to what you could buy.

2. Tell the stories

Once you have successful stories of procurement from First Nations businesses, it’s important that other people in your organisation hear about them. The way to make people feel at ease in changing their suppliers is to celebrate successes. This isn’t just about the quality, price and timeliness but also the impact that the First Nations business is having on its community as an employer, as a wealth creator and as a role model for the community.

3. Reframe your view of what value for money means

According to Supply Nation, for every $1 of revenue, Certified Suppliers generate $4.41 of social return. This means that your dollar is contributing to better outcomes as it is working four times harder when you spend with First Nations businesses.1

“We know that First Nations businesses are over 100 times more likely than non-Indigenous businesses to hire First Nations workers. This helps overcome discrimination, which is a major barrier to employment for First Nations Peoples. Creating employment opportunities by supporting a First Nations business to grow is just one way the sector helps to generate a social return.

To recognise this in the procurement process, why not think about adding a weighting for social impact. By reframing what value for money means in this context, you can avoid price becoming the overriding factor. It allows you to recognise the importance of Closing the Gap in your decision-making,” suggests Mark.

4. Set First Nations procurement targets

Review your whole spend and identify any procurement opportunities. This may include carrying out an analysis of your existing categories and examining how they can align with First Nations suppliers.

“The first step can include assessing upcoming contracts in your areas of spend and then start to think about taking the market differently. Understanding what’s coming up and where the best matches are between what you buy and what First Nations businesses supply is essential for developing those targets,” says Mark.

“Avoid setting unattainable target goals. If this is your first year of procurement, set goals that are appropriate for the first year and reflect a meaningful cultural shift in your organisation.”

5. Engage with your existing suppliers

Once you have some targets in place, Mark also recommends communicating with your suppliers about what you want to achieve through your First Nations procurement efforts and developing a plan together to help achieve it.

“As a business, you have the purchasing power to effect meaningful change. Work with your business partners on a plan to incorporate more First Nations businesses into your supply chain. This puts it on their agenda, allowing them to plan ahead and collaborate with you on achieving your social impact goals as an extension of your procurement team. You might even be surprised by how much they are already doing.”


Why buy with Winc?

When you purchase supplies for your workplace, you can make a difference and support diversity by buying products from First Nations organisations. At Winc, we partner with a range of Supply Nations certified brands to help create positive social and economic outcomes for First Nations communities. Close the Gap and shop our wide range of products from First Nations suppliers.

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1Shift eLearning, 2019, ‘The Psychology of Color: How Do Colors Influence Learning?’,<https://www.shiftelearning.com/blog/how-do-colors-influence-learning>

2Pantone, 2023, ‘What is Viva Magenta’, <https://www.pantone.com/color-of-the-year-2023>

3History of Pencils, 2021, ‘History of Highlighters’, <http://www.historyofpencils.com/writing-instruments-history/history-of-highlighters/>

4Schliemann, U., 2017, ‘The Importance of Color In The Workplace’, <https://www.workdesign.com/2017/04/importance-color-workplace/>

5Humantech, 2020, ‘The Importance of Color in the Workplace’, <https://www.humantech.com/2020/06/the-importance-of-color-in-the-workplace/>

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