Thursday, 14 August 2014

How Sustainable is your Procurement Department?

Authored by Negin Joharian

Sustainability helps many organizations eliminate waste, become more efficient and save money. With that in mind, every organization should consider the role procurement can play in contributing to its overall sustainability. By understanding the value of “Responsible Procurement” one can leverage this as a means of improving the organizations overall sustainability.

The first thing to remember about Responsible Procurement is that it is not something that can be achieved on a standalone basis. The entire organization is part of a huge and complex supply chain, therefore this approach needs to be communicated and adopted within the entire department to direct these efforts towards the group goal of Responsible Procurement. I have identified three top tips in which you can follow to become more effective and efficient in adopting a “Responsible procurement” approach.

1) Establish group policies and practices – Develop a Responsible Procurement policy that can be mandated across the whole department. With this you can ensure that the outlined initiatives are in line with the organizations core ethics and values and that your department is working in sync.

2) Identify the problem areas – In order to become more ‘responsible’ you’ll need to think back on the areas that were not so efficient in the past and the areas that may be a future hazard to sustainable progress. By identifying these areas you are then able to determine key principles such as Health & Safety and Environmental Protection where you can classify your problem areas with a sustainability focus.

3) Go Green - Green procurement demonstrates the departments commitment to considering and minimizing the environmental consequences of its activities. It can offer cost savings as buying 'green' usually involves products that are easily recycled, last longer or produce less waste, and generally require fewer resources to manufacture and operate, so savings can be made on energy, water, fuel and other natural resources. Integrate these environmental considerations into your Procurement decisions. Organizations often require a green procurement program as part of their environmental management systems, as certified under the EMAS “ Eco-management and Audit Scheme” and ISO 14001 “ Environmental Management System” regimes. In addition, new regulations increasingly require the adoption of green procurement practices.

It is essential to recognize the growing importance of how our actions as part of an organization affect the world as we know it now and its future state. By adopting these kinds of approaches and consciously making an effort to improve the way we operate, there is room for a great shift in social responsibility, so why not start now through responsible procurement.

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