The Fwd

Certification process

What certification means for you,
and how to get certified.


A buying organisation (public or private), that acquires products and services through a procurement function.


The positive social, cultural and/or environmental impact that is delivered by the Supplier when a Buyer purchases products or services from them (social procurement).


A social enterprise that is a supplier of products/services to buying organisations ('business to business' procurement).

The Fwd assessment criteria



The positive social, cultural and/or environmental impact that is delivered by the Supplier when a Buyer purchases products or services from them (social procurement).


Products / Services

Does the Supplier offer products / services in a business-to-business context and to which extent can the Supplier deliver these products/services?



What is the positive social, cultural and/or environmental impact the Supplier delivers? How is it measured?

Become Fwd certified


Social Enterprise:  The definition of Fwd

The definition of social enterprise is central to the Fwd certification process, as Buyers want to know that the organisation they are buying from meets the hallmarks of how a social enterprise operates. While there is currently neither a legal definition nor an agreed national definition of social enterprise in Aotearoa-New Zealand, Ākina has established a definition for the Fwd programme and certification that is based on international best-practice (Fases, 2010).

This definition comprises three main elements:


The social, cultural and/or environmental mission provides a public or community benefit and is the primary purpose of the organisation.


The majority of income is from trading a product and/or a service.


The majority of either expenditure or profit is spent in the fulfilment of the purpose of the organisation.

We recognise that things will change and evolve in Aotearoa-New Zealand, either with a more formal national definition, or through the evolution of what best-practice looks like for a social enterprise and its legal structure(s). As such, this is a 'working definition' that Ākina will use as our definition for the Fwd programme.

“We’re thrilled and proud to have become a certified social enterprise and part of the Fwd marketplace. Our reach and impact has been increased through this great opportunity.”

Lisa Clausen

What to expect from the certification process:


This is your first point of contact and allows you to express interest in becoming a certified Supplier for Fwd. You can make an enquiry to fwd: and will be asked to provide some preliminary information relating to your social enterprise.


Should you be accepted for certification, you will enter a process with three different stages: Application, Assessment and Review.

First, you fill out an online application form. This is where you provide most of the information we require to assess your social enterprise.

Secondly, the assessment stage involves us clarifying information, and you providing evidence that shows you meet the requirements of being a certified Supplier.

Finally, we review all the information gathered and confirm how your listing will be presented on the marketplace.

Please note: to help ensure financial viability for the programme, there is currently an annual fee for certification. The fee is set with accessibility in mind, and will be discussed with you as part of the certification process.


You are awarded certification and receive the fwd: certification mark as a member of Fwd. The fwd: team publishes your Supplier listing, which will now be visible to fwd: Buyers on the Fwd marketplace.


Supplier memberships are renewed annually. Information is reviewed and updated every year ahead of your renewal date.

If your submission is declined

Certifications may be declined during the enquiry, certifying and renewing stages. The Supplier will be told the reasons why this has been declined and referred to other services offered by Ākina or Ākina's partners, as applicable.

Financial Declaration

As part of the certification process, Suppliers are asked to get a Financial Declaration completed by an appropriate third-party professional to indicate how much revenue comes from trade and how revenue or profit is directed towards impact. 

The purpose of a social enterprise is to generate positive social, cultural and/or environmental impact, and the way money flows through a social enterprise should reflect this.

Become Fwd certified


Request more

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Fwd Certification Process document.

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