What is sustainable procurement?

Tips for achieving a sustainable procurement organizationSustainable procurement is not a new term, but it has increasingly been on the agenda of procurement and supply leaders as pressure from customers, clients, and governments mounts. Developing a sustainable procurement organization requires looking beyond short-term benefits/savings and considering the long-term effects of purchases. When done correctly, sustainable procurement allows organizations to meet their needs in a way that creates value not only for themselves, but also to society, the economy, and to the environment.

Why bother with sustainable procurement?
There are plenty of drivers for procurement organizations to become more sustainable. A few key ones are:

  • Increase profits and enhance social responsibility
  • Differentiation from competitors
  • Mitigate legal, ethical, and brand image risks
  • Keep with increasing consumer expectations

Tips for achieving a sustainable procurement organization:
Transitioning a procurement organization to a sustainable approach can be a daunting task. Here are a couple helpful tips for making sure your organization is on the right track:

  • Integrate measurable indicators, i.e., recyclables used in production
  • Start including viable parameters for RFx evaluation criteria

Since the transition into a more sustainable procurement model takes time and effort, it’s recommended that organizations implement a set of guidelines which includes a baseline of measurable criteria that can be used to track and report progress. The tracking of measurables is key to holding organizations responsible for their own sustainability statements and encouraging competition between organizations to keep striving for better and more innovative ways to increase sustainability.

RFx sustainability requirements
The more responsible the sourcing of an organization, the more sustainable that organization can be. Keys to satisfying sustainable purchasing goals are:

    • Adding or increasing the weighting of sustainability requirements in the RFx process
    • Performing industry research focused on sustainability to create innovative and enhanced criteria

These requirements can also help open communications with suppliers and help build strong, long-term supplier relationships which are important to satisfying sustainable purchasing goals.

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