Supplier Preference Policy


In order for MilkCrate to live its mission of promoting a sustainable, local lifestyle, preference is given to local suppliers, underrepresented-owned suppliers, and suppliers with a social and environmental mission.


Why purchase from sustainable, local, and diverse suppliers?

1. Buy Local — Support yourself: Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than nationally owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms — continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community.

2. Support community groups: Non-profit organizations receive an average 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses.

3. Keep our community unique: Where we shop, where we eat and have fun — all of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place. Our tourism businesses also benefit. “When people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.” ~ Richard Moe, President, National Historic Preservation Trust

4. Reduce environmental impact: Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation and generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.

5. Create more good jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally, and in our community provide the most jobs to residents.

6. Get better service: Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers.

7. Invest in community: Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.

8. Put your taxes to good use: Local businesses in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community.

9. Buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy: A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term. A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.

10. Encourage local prosperity: A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.
Source: Sustainable Connections – Why Buy Local?


The measures taken to ensure that these policies are in place include but aren’t limited to:

  • Ask suppliers if they align with our standards:
    • Environmental and/or social mission
    • Owned by underrepresented populations (minority, LGBTQ, women, disabled, veterans, etc.)
    • Certified B Corps or Benefit Corporations
    • Members of our own partner organizations
  • Work collaboratively with suppliers to develop and implement sustainability standards if they do not currently exist, or set performance objectives to improve upon current standards.
  • Commit to meet with all significant suppliers yearly.


Responsible Parties: Employee seeking purchase of product or service

Policy Adherence: Any purchase above $300 will need to be reviewed by the Director of Operations to ensure that their supplier meets MilkCrate’s social and environmental criteria. A supplier interview has been created and can be given to new suppliers by employee seeking a purchase. The results of the survey must be shared with Director of Operations before a transaction occurs/contract is signed.

At least 75% of MilkCrate’s annual expenses should be selected based on the above criteria of social and environmental impact.

Urgent Jobs: In a case where a expedited purchase is needed (i.e., less than 2 weeks), a phone call with the supplier asking at least 3 questions from the interview will suffice. Responses must be documented and saved into the supplier folder in Google Drive under HR in ‘Supplier Questionnaire (Responses)’.

*Keep in mind that this exemption does not apply if the employee does not make efficient use of time and leaves the supplier interview until the last minute.

Effective Date: April 11, 2016