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choosing  people and the planet



Our economy is a human system. It’s based on stories and social rules that we create, and these stories and rules can change over time. Our current economy is based on a 20th century story that prioritized profit over human wellbeing and the natural world. 


That story isn’t working for the majority of people in the United States. It’s harming our health, our families, our communities, our environment, and our ability to work together to make important decisions. It’s contributed to rising insecurity and deep fear about the future. The situation can feel overwhelming.


But the transition to a new economy has already started. There is a growing movement of people and businesses across the country who are creating a new story. We prioritize people and the planet over profit maximization in our daily lives and in our work, and we actively support initiatives that put people and the planet first.


Purchasing with Purpose is a network of networks in the United States that makes it easier to find and buy from businesses that share your values and are helping create a better world.



People and Planet First

It can be difficult to buy from businesses that put people and the planet first in the US because the movement has emerged bottom-up and different terminology is used in different networks, regions, and sectors. There can also be real issues with socialwashing and greenwashing.


Purchasing with Purpose uses a low-cost global verification system and recognizes all businesses that meet five standards:


  1. Purpose: They exist to solve a social or environmental problem

  2. Operations: They prioritize purpose, people, and planet over profit in operational decisions

  3. Revenue: They have a self-sustaining revenue model

  4. Use of Surplus: They reinvest the majority of any surplus towards their purpose

  5. Structure: They choose legal structures and financing that protect and lock-in purpose long term


This brings together social enterprises, cooperatives, earned-income nonprofits, fair trade enterprises, green businesses, steward-owned companies, benefit corporations, local independent businesses, and other business networks that put people and the planet first.

If your business puts people and the planet first and you are not a member of a partner network yet, you can apply here to get involved.


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Purchasing with Purpose brings together national, regional, and local networks of businesses that put people and the planet first. By focusing on shared values and standards, we are able to work across traditional divides and open up opportunities that no single network or organization could open on its own.


Many network partners have additional criteria, for example, they might collect details on democratic governance, community ownership, stakeholder diversity, supply chains, or impact measurement. This diversity is recognized and celebrated. 


The Purchasing with Purpose collaboration focuses on the People and Planet First standards to keep assessment costs low and increase the visibility of the broader movement.


If you are a member organization, certifier, investor, accelerator, or service provider that works with businesses that put people and planet first, you can fill the collaboration commitment here to get involved.


What We Do

We focus on purchasing because it is a way that everyone can get involved. Every time we choose products and services from businesses that put people and planet first, we are directly contributing to social and environmental solutions with a self-sustaining model. 


By shifting our purchases, we can help create employment and good working conditions for people in need, build community wealth and resilient local economies, turn waste into resources, stop animal cruelty, increase biodiversity, capture carbon, transition to renewable energy, and address local challenges affecting our communities.


This process often starts at the household level, but when we come together, we can start shifting the purchasing patterns of government agencies, businesses, places of worship, universities, hospitals, and other anchor institutions in our communities. In other parts of the world, this is called social procurement. We call it purchasing with purpose.


Visibility and Search

  • Verification through network partners

  • Searchable national and local directories

  • Online tools for easy sourcing

  • Integrations with existing platforms

  • Support services for procurement teams 


Collective Action

  • Mobilizing supporters

  • Joint campaigns

  • Support for events

  • Case studies and best practices

  • Shared training materials, policy templates, and tools


Local Projects

We work with local networks to:

  • Engage local stakeholders

  • Map and verify businesses

  • Onboard local buyers

  • Organize local campaigns

  • Learn from other regions


Purchasing with Purpose works with other purchasing initiatives like supplier diversity and buy local campaigns as allies to complement and expand their work. Together, we can help individuals and institutional buyers find diverse, local suppliers that also reinvest profits to address social and environmental problems.


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Get In Touch


Do you want to purchase with purpose in your own home or workplace?


Do you work with a business that puts people and planet first?


Are you part of a network of businesses that meet the 5 standards?


Are you involved in purchasing or procurement in your organization?


Do you want to start a Purchasing with Purpose program in your local community?


Enter your name, email address, and a message to receive updates on new developments or set up a call.

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