Principles and practices: Sustainable procurement as a corporate strength

21 July 2023

In the modern business world, procurement has taken a central role, becoming a strategic element for companies. In particular, sustainable and socially responsible procurement has become a priority. This approach to procurement ensures that the products or services purchased are not only of high quality and affordable, but also meet certain environmental and social standards.

The Fundamental Elements of Sustainable Procurement

Sustainable procurement is based on two pillars: environmental and social standards. Environmental standards involve the adoption of practices that minimize negative impact on the environment. This can include efficient resource use, waste minimization, the elimination of hazardous substances, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, social standards focus on respecting the rights of workers and local communities. This includes fair wages, safe working conditions, the right to organize into unions, and respect for human rights.

Measuring the Impact of Procurement Practices

Measuring the impact of sustainable sourcing practices is a crucial aspect of sustainable sourcing. There are various indicators that can be used to measure environmental impact, such as greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, waste production, and raw material usage. As for social impact, indicators can include respect for workers’ rights, working conditions, training and development opportunities, and impact on the local community.

Here are some examples of how organizations can do this:

  1. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Companies can measure the greenhouse gas emissions generated by their suppliers during the production process. This can be done through regular audits or by requesting suppliers to provide data on their emissions.
  2. Water Usage: Water usage can also be a significant indicator. Companies can monitor how much water is used in the production process and work with suppliers to implement water-saving practices.
  3. Waste Production: Measuring the amount of waste generated during the production process can also provide an indicator of a supplier’s environmental impact.
  4. Raw Material Usage: Companies can also monitor the use of raw materials, ensuring they are used responsibly and sustainably.

Regarding the social impact of sourcing practices, indicators can include:

  1. Respect for Workers’ Rights: Organizations can assess whether their suppliers respect rights such as fair wages, reasonable working hours, and a safe working environment.
  2. Working Conditions: This can include monitoring physical working conditions, like workplace safety and accessibility, as well as psychological working conditions, like respect and fairness in the workplace.
  3. Training and Development Opportunities: Organizations can assess whether suppliers provide their workers with training and development opportunities, thus contributing to their professional growth.
  4. Impact on the Local Community: This can be measured by considering whether the activities of suppliers are having a negative impact on the local community, for example, through pollution or the destruction of the natural environment.

These are just a few examples of how organizations can measure the impact of their sourcing practices.

Implementing Sustainable Procurement Practices

The implementation of sustainable procurement requires a commitment from the entire organization.

Sustainability is a central issue in current supply chains. Let’s see how sustainable procurement practices can be implemented and what benefits they can bring. A common sustainable practice is collaborating with suppliers to ensure that raw materials come from sustainable sources. This not only reduces the environmental impact but also ensures that products are of high quality, which can lead to greater customer satisfaction.

Another important practice is the efficient use of resources. For example, the use of innovative technologies can help reduce the waste of resources such as water and energy during the production process. This not only reduces the environmental impact but can also lead to a reduction in operational costs. These practices are not only beneficial for the environment but can also lead to competitive advantages. Implementing sustainable practices can improve operational performance, increase reputation, and better manage risks.

Sustainable procurement is more than a trend – it’s a necessity. In addition to contributing to a more sustainable world, these practices can improve a company’s reputation, lead to greater customer loyalty, and create long-term value. In an increasingly interconnected world aware of environmental and social issues, sustainable procurement is a winning strategy for companies looking to the future.


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