19 Nov 18

Sustainability in procurement – 5 practical steps to more sustainable procurement

victor-benard-570384-unsplash-web-1In Part 1 of this ‘Sustainability in procurement’ series, we discussed how sustainability is relevant to all aspects of an organisations’ operation, and the resulting need for an integrated approach to embedding this in the supply chain. However, changing the culture of a company is a huge undertaking, and embedding sustainability into everything you do can take time. This article, provides you with 5 practical steps which can help you start the process.

We will discuss this topic further in a webinar hosted jointly with our partners Grippr - a purchasing consultancy specialising in driving purchasing efficiency. More information is available on the webinar at the end of the article.


5 practical steps to more sustainable procurement practices

1.  Identify which supply chain related regulations affect your company:

  • Consider country-specific standards and legislation, including any voluntary commitments
  • Understand which areas of the business these affect or are responsible for compliance

2.  Create and assess suppliers against a code of conduct:

  • Align this with your corporate strategy and your own legislative compliance requirements
  • Supplier attestation should be mandated in any supplier selection process, with live compliance statistics recorded

 3.  Develop a consistent approach for more responsible supplier assessment

  • Base on global reporting frameworks e.g. GRI, UNGC, SDGs etc.
  • Include cross-business compliance requirements e.g. risk, legal, sustainability, health & Safety, information security


4. Utilise assessment information

  • Identify non-compliances and communicate to relevant business areas and suppliers
  • Use performance metrics to embed in supplier selection and review processes


5. Create a deeper supplier review or audit process

  • Link further assessment to review process i.e. high risk / poor performance drives deeper assessment or audit
  • Opportunity to work through improvement plans with suppliers


These steps are by no means exhaustive, but they will help any organisation to begin to work more coherently and to have more confidence in their supply chain.

At Greenstone we work through these early stages with our clients to create a compliance based approach to supplier assessment and management. Then, as your organisation becomes more mature you can start to work with suppliers more closely, embed sustainability in all purchasing decisions and even look beyond tier 1. Our SupplierPortal solution supports our clients throughout this journey, from a simple starting point right through to a fully integrated approach.

As such, the goal of your strategy should not only be to reach a point where short term risk is minimised, supplier compliance maximised, and sustainable selection criteria are used, but to also have the confidence and maturity to be focussed on the long-term risks and opportunities.


Greenstone provides software and services that enable sustainable procurement and responsible supply chains.

Greenstone’s SupplierPortal supply chain sustainability software solution provides your business with a single point of transparency across your supplier network, ensuring that compliance, performance, and risk can be managed seamlessly.


Coming up:

  • Webinar – ‘The rise of sustainable procurement – how to integrate sustainability into procurement’ (29 Nov - registration link below)

See our previous blog:



New call-to-action

Sustainable procurement