Key considerations for sustainable procurement practices
Bringing sustainability to procurement is one of the most important priorities for most companies and has been a popular topic around supply chain leaders, especially when it comes to identifying how to start and where to apply good sustainable procurement practices that will bring results and be maintained as time goes by.
When building robust procurement sustainability processes, the company's unique operations need to be taken into consideration – especially when defining priorities and an action plan to put the processes into practice.
Understanding a few key aspects before creating sustainable practices will help procurement succeed by setting long-term and high-impact targets that will be achieved and maintained in the future.
Start by assessing possible procurement risks
There are no ideal sustainable procurement practices without first performing a good risk assessment. The risk assessment stage should happen along with priorities definition – or right after it. Even before setting the first KPIs or action plans: priorities for sustainability and risk assessment first.
As the priorities are defined, they'll be the perfect guide to assess the risks, since now contracts and requirements will be analysed by the sustainability requirements and priorities in order to guide procurement on the decision-making that will bring lower risks.
The risk assessment will be the lead for the procurement team to make the practices defined part of their daily routines – from making a contract, ending a negotiation, or even start working with suppliers that meet the required standards for sustainable practices and won't open the company up to future risks.
Also, a good risk assessment can be used as a tool to show the company were to spend more and how to spend it more wisely, as all the risks will be mitigated with precaution.
Face sustainability as a purpose
Most companies fail in maintaining sustainable procurement practices when they face sustainability as a simple initiative carried out by procurement, instead of a purpose that should be adopted by the entire supply chain.
As procurement is often considered the champion for sustainable practices, so they are the owner and the driver of it, it's hard to make culture changes inside the organisation in order to have sustainability as a value driver that will have high impact for all involved.
It's a challenge for procurement teams to engage their key stakeholders, supply chain leaders and the suppliers within the practices created, but they'll certainly fail if there's not a culture and behaviour change to see sustainability as a key tool to bring growth and positive impacts.
Use technology and digital tools
Technology will be the best ally for procurement to create and monitor sustainable practices that matter. Technology and digital tools won't do the entire job, but they'll be the best way to deliver long-term change and show the business the impact and value of sustainability across the entire supply chain.
Maistro's unique digital procurement software allows companies of all sizes to get a handle on their supply chain and improve upon their sustainability outcomes. To find out how we can transform your supply chain, get in touch now.