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Sustainability and Social Value in procurement

by | August 18, 2020

In many countries the idea of sustainable procurement is deeply connected with the aspiration to create more jobs locally and the use of local suppliers to help the local economy grow.  Sustainability has most certainly moved up the agenda for governments, organisations and individuals. Climate change is rarely out of the news and is seen as one of the most serious threats society has ever seen. 

Sustainable procurement should be a key part of any organisation’s overall Procurement Strategy to be used as a powerful driver for delivering improved economic, environmental and social outcomes. A good percentage of organisations have adopted some aspects of good sustainable procurement practices, however, there is still a long way to go.

Implementing a procure to pay software solution can remove the need for the printing of thousands of documents a year through the automation of finance, AP and requisitions processing, creating a significant reduction in waste for both customers and suppliers.

How can you make an impact on sustainable procurement?

Procurement involves and affects everyday people’s professional lives. Resources are allocated to activities that create and ruin value every day. The objective is to have as many positive outcomes as possible, whilst minimising the negative outcomes from any procurement process or activity. A staggering 90% of companies use 50% more energy and 90% more print than what is actually required!

Asking the right questions to the right people, at the right time (during a certain procurement process) can prove to be very useful in maximising social value.

Steps for improving sustainability and social value in procurement processes:

  • Encourage innovation
  • Help local businesses and deliver local training – use local authorities to help you with this process
  • Engage with your supply chain to understand better what social value means to them and how it can be improved
  • Make social value part of the KPIs in your contracts and keep an eye on the outcomes
  • Be involved in the social, economic and environmental discussions in your business

Mandating that suppliers have procedures in place for environmental and social value legislation puts a customer ahead of the curve when it comes to market change contributing to competitive advantage. Ethical sourcing practices can be defined in an onboarding questionnaire to support CSR targets, as our Procurement Consultant Joe Ciotkowski recommends in his article about the environmental benefits of using Procure to Pay software.

Putting a plan together and setting objectives for improving sustainability and the social value in your own procurement processes can help in driving costs down and at the same time reduce the environmental impact of a procurement operation.

Our procurement methodology provides access to sourcing strategy expertise to ensure organisations leverage pre-qualified ethical suppliers, in-turn giving you the winning combination of cost-effective suppliers that also rank high in sustainability ratings.

Have a chat with one of our procurement consultants to find out more about sustainable procurement and what it can mean for your organisation.