Article: The Road to Sustainable Procurement
Procurement is one of the essential, if unsung, engines of the economy. How can we ensure that it’s sustainable? For many, procurement – determining a supplier for goods or services – is an invisible process. Despite this, it’s a completely vital one that keeps the global economy humming along.
Selina Donald shared her experience building sustainability into the procurement process for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games:
“For most sectors, scope three greenhouse gas emissions – the indirect impacts that occur in a company’s value chain – are the largest source of emissions, but getting a handle on them is notoriously difficult”
Recognising that “no one can become net zero until we all become net zero”, Donald stresses the need within procurement to align with like-minded suppliers, as well as to rate the sustainability and social values of potential suppliers.
“In their contract, there’s a clause that requires them to provide sustainability data and ensure that their values align with expected on-site behaviours across power and waste management, transportation and design.” In the event she is not sure, she deploys tools like TRACE, a carbon calculator that tracks the environmental impact of suppliers. By implementing workshops and maintaining regular communication, sustainability was kept at the forefront of her company’s relationship with suppliers. By setting up a direct line via an email address, suppliers were engaged “to provide sustainability support as appropriate and for them to put forward more sustainable options when delivering the product or service”.
Donald neatly summarises the approach: “We recognised that a key driver to meeting our Sustainability and Social Values commitments was working with a like-minded supply chain that can not only meet requirements and provide value for money, but, at the same time, hold sustainability, diversity, and ethical sourcing practices at the core of their operations.”