Sustainable Procurement is an approach to purchasing products and services that takes into account the economic, environmental and social impacts of an organisation’s buying choices, at all times. Committing to a policy of sustainable procurement is about ensuring that the values that are core to the business are transferred through the organisation’s supply chain into the life-cycle of the organisation’s products and services.
‘Procurement’ refers to the acquisition and management of (but not limited to) people, buildings, land, transport, energy, water, materials, food, waste and outsourced services.
‘Sustainable Procurement’ is not simply about choosing not to use sweatshop labour or illegal tropical timber or chemicals that damage our health and the environment. Rather, Sustainable Procurement encompasses the planning for a changing climate, a resource and carbon-constrained future and a socially-beneficial, supportive and inclusive society.
Best practice in Sustainable Procurement is about future proofing both the chain of supply and the company’s investments, in order to make them all viable in the long term.
Common characteristics of sustainable products include: superior energy and water efficiency; lowest hazardous material content available; longer life and greater upgradability; reduced packaging and waste; increased recycling capability. These characteristics usually translate into lower running and disposal costs, which in turn result in direct financial savings and proactively protect the reputation of the brand.
Ensuring excellence in the manufacturing (and other) processes that result in the company’s products (and services) are key steps on the journey towards embedding and integrating sustainability into the culture of the business and the fabric of the company’s operations.
What are the drivers & business Case for Sustainable Procurement?
The drivers of a policy of Sustainable Procurement are usually a combination of the following three:
In the past companies such as Skanska, Marks & Spencer, United Utilities, TNT, Siemens & Adidas said they had developed their sustainable procurement policy and strategy due to:
For examples of best practice in Sustainable Procurement please visit our CSR best practice database
Support available to Members of Business in the Community Ireland
If your company would like support with the development of a sustainable procurement policy and strategy please contact your Account Manager.
If you are not a member yet and would like to join the Network please contact Joe O’Donnell.