There’s a lot more to sustainable procurement than making ethical and environmentally friendly purchasing decisions. For smart, forward-thinking businesses, incorporating good sustainable procurement practices into your business strategy can significantly reduce operational risk, protect revenues and safeguard employees and customers. Read on to find out how sustainable procurement can help your business.
What is sustainable procurement?
In a nutshell, sustainable procurement is making a commitment to purchase goods or services that consider wider public and environmental interests as well as those of the business. This includes choosing ethical or green suppliers and opting for companies who advocate social good, diversity, equality and inclusion.
Why is sustainable procurement important?
Sustainable procurement is important for a number of reasons. Here are just some of the benefits to businesses, regardless of sector or size.
Helps save money and controls costs through transparent and rigorous procurement processes.
Helps cut waste, reduce carbon emissions and lowers energy and fuel consumption.
Improves understanding and visibility of supply chain and helps create robust procurement strategies.
Helps mitigate risks to business and supply chain.
Boosts staff morale and makes employees proud to work for you.
Improves internal processes and assessment protocols.
Shows a long-term commitment to sustainable, ethical business practices and good corporate governance.
Helps comply with environmental and social legislation and regulations.
Improves business reputation and bolsters PR.
Improves local business community
How does sustainable procurement affect industries?
A 2017 study by EcoVadis and HEC revealed 97 percent of the 120 supply chain professionals surveyed placed a high level of importance on sustainable procurement, with an impressive 50 percent reporting increased revenue from sustainability initiatives. These figures clearly indicate a long-term, genuine commitment from the business world to play their part in protecting the planet and creating a healthier, happier society.
All companies, regardless of sector or industry have a sustainability agenda with the more forward thinking having clearly defined, robust processes in place that are regularly updated and reviewed. Thanks to the powerful message of programs like Blue Planet, companies are moving beyond playing lip service to greener procurement processes and really doing something about it. Historically, businesses predominantly chose suppliers based on cost, speed of delivery and quality. Fortunately, in today’s more enlightened, progressive society business leaders seek out suppliers that can deliver the right services, at competitive costs and with greater societal benefits and less impact on the environment. Even huge energy companies and industrial conglomerates are proudly flying the sustainability procurement flag as this list of the top 25 sustainble companies in 2018 demonstrates.
Adopting sustainable procurement practices encourages businesses to look beyond financial rewards, foster altruistic strategies and take pride in achieving long-term environmentally and socially conscious goals. We all want to be part of something positive. Sustainable procurement processes are an effective and straightforward way of showing you care.
How does sustainable procurement affect employees?
Put simply, employees are far more likely to be loyal advocates of your business if they feel you are doing the right thing; for them, their colleagues, your customers, the planet and society as a whole. If you demonstrate a genuine commitment to best practice in sustainable procurement your employees will be proud to work for you and will have greater confidence in your commitment to their happiness and wellbeing.
From a procedural point of view, colleagues that are involved with managing procurement should enjoy better devised and managed processes and feel they are working within a robust, strategically-driven environment. The benefits to working with long-standing, trusted suppliers are clear and with the emphasis firmly placed on good ethics, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility and solid environmental goals as well as quality and competitive costings, these relationships are highly likely to be successful - for all parties.
Sustainable procurement practices encourage innovation among colleagues. They can look beyond the usual siloed approach and identify solutions and better ways of working where sustainability is integral to business success and not merely an afterthought.
Bramwith’s upcoming conference on sustainable procurement best practice
In March Bramwith conducted a study among 150 members of our community which revealed an overwhelming need for businesses to incorporate sustainable procurement practices into the overall business strategy. With this in mind, we are hosting a free Sustainability Procurement Conference on Tuesday 18th June at 8am - 1pm. This event is free to attend and will address the issues above and provide a platform for discussion on how to incorporate these valuable ideas and practices into your business.
This will be an opportunity for procurement professionals to listen to the stories of individuals who have been successful in their goal of implementing a sustainable procurement function. The speakers will come from different industries and will talk through their goals and challenges, in the hope that we will be able to see a common practice, regardless of industry.
For more information on attending the conference please contact Amit Desai (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Declan McElroy (email@example.com) on 02071384100.
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