Through its software and supporting services, Greenstone enables its clients to align their purchasing practices with their sustainability goals.
What is Sustainable Procurement?
Sustainable procurement is the practice of incorporating sustainability into an organisation's procurement processes and procedures, in addition to traditional price and quality considerations.
Compliance with environmental regulations and objectives, the removal of hazardous chemicals and waste from the supply chain, and rigorous screening of suppliers for ethical labour practices are all examples of common sustainable procurement activities.
Sustainable procurement and sourcing should actually enhance an organisation's bottom line and help it achieve its long-term goals.
Drivers for adopting Sustainable Procurement practices
Resilience: resilience means the ability to recover quickly from difficulties, and a supply chain that cannot do this can hardly be classified as sustainable.
Responsibility: if resilience reflects mitigation against potential impacts on the supply chain, then responsibility represents the increased accountability for the impact of operations. A sustainable organisation and a sustainable supply chain is one that minimises any negative impact on its workforce, local communities and the environment. In the most mature examples, integrating sustainability into procurement can generate a positive impact.
Risk: different types of risk drive different programmes of activity and can involve different parts of the organisation. The proliferation of regulations and standards provides a framework within which organisations can operate and report.
Policies: policies can commit an organisation to certain actions, targets and levels of performance. Increasingly suppliers are seen as an extension of the organisation, and responsibility needs to be taken for understanding who they are and how they operate in order that they too align with standards laid out in relevant policies.
Opportunity: once the sustainability lens has been applied to all aspects of a business effectively, then with clarity comes increased opportunity. This can be through longer-term and more symbiotic relationships with suppliers, changes to the production and delivery of products and services and improved environmental and social practices.
Practical steps towards sustainable procurement
Below we have provided some practical steps towards sustainable procurement. 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.
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 effect 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 and reported
3. Develop a consistent approach for more responsible supplier assessment
- Base on global reporting frameworks e.g. GRI, UNGC, SDGs etc.
- Include cross-functional 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, and provide audit holidays for good performance
How Greenstone can help with sustainable procurement
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.
Greenstone works with clients to enable them to advance their sustainable procurement capability. Whether they are just beginning to tackle sustainable procurement or they are relatively mature, our software and services provide the platform for them to continue their journey. We work with our clients to create a compliance-based approach to supplier assessment and management. Greenstone’s SupplierPortal enables the distribution of bespoke and standard assessment questionnaires to help align purchasing practices with sustainability goals.