7 Guidelines for Sustainability in Procurement: The Way to Green Supply Chains

7 Guidelines for Sustainability in Procurement: The Way to Green Supply Chains

Supply chain management involves many actors, making the task of achieving sustainable and green procurement a complex and tricky one. 
Two of the biggest challenges companies face in this regard include a lack of available data to achieve transparency, and the fact that they can only influence decisions made by their suppliers. 
However, some practices are better than others at influencing suppliers and pushing for sustainability and a green supply chain. 
This is precisely why the insights from prominent consulting firm Navigant are so important: they point toward some of the best practices for achieving real results at a time when the pressure is growing for corporate sustainability in procurement | Learn more on Commonshare |.  
Navigant’s first guideline is commitment: the only way an organization can implement a green supply chain is if it is committed across the whole of the organization. 
If both the board and the sustainability and procurement departments are on the same page, they will be in a better position to make changes. This is particularly important with regard to the sustainability department, who will typically have the most domain-specific knowledge relevant to this challenge.
Second, Navigant advises smart pre-selection of suppliers. For a large company, there are often thousands of suppliers to consider across multiple industries and sectors. 
Therefore, it is advisable to reduce the total number of suppliers and focus on those – usually a handful – who are most important. 
Third, supplier engagement is best when there is open communication and a concern for common benefits. Openness and helping suppliers to see the benefits of working together toward sustainability will go a long way.
Fourth, long-term relationships and a sense of co-creating stability are better for supplier engagement. This approach produces better results over a longer period of time.
Fifth, incentivizing suppliers should occur in a way that is in keeping with the company’s size, culture, and overall position in the value chain. 
The posture companies should take here is one of being supportive and informative, while also promoting a sense of competition among suppliers to encourage ever greater efforts toward sustainability. 
Sixth, scaling up supplier engagement should happen through sector efforts. This means taking a sectoral approach, looking at each sector and promoting sustainability in that sector in ways that make sense. 
Finally, the seventh step is goals-focused monitoring. There should be a strong effort to monitor with an eye on the prize, as it were: there needs to be an understanding of where the baseline is, and then progress toward adjusting that baseline in agreed-upon ways. It is crucial, finally, to understand what is needed to achieve these targets. 
With the growing consensus for sustainability shared more and more by shareholders, corporate boards, and employees, implementing Navigant’s guidelines is an increasingly important way for companies to demonstrate their commitment to green supply chains.

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