As we prepared the business for this assessment it gave us to time to reflect on how increasingly the business value reflects its supply chain. Whether your business is a multinational or an SME, we are all being held accountable for impacts across our entire value chain.
Procurement directors everywhere face the daunting task of understanding environmental, social, and ethical risks, and integrating those criteria into purchasing decisions to assure their company’s supply network remains reliable and competitive. Sustainable procurement is now a strategic priority for most businesses’ procurement teams. The need for simple, reliable, and global sustainability ratings has become a must. For us, the EcoVadis framework has not only made it easier to identify the steps we need to take but has also laid out the work we need to do across four key areas – The Environment, Labour & Human Rights, Ethics and Sustainable Procurement.
For me there are two key reasons for implementing a sustainable procurement system:
1. To remain compliant with legal requirements and minimise impact on stakeholders. For instance, companies will implement an anti-corruption management system to prevent employees from getting into legal issues.
2. To improve business performance and the bottom line. For instance, companies will set objectives to reduce energy consumption and ultimately reduce cost. Another example would be the implementation of training programs to develop human capital, increasing efficiency and productivity.
The benefits of implementing sustainable procurement are manifold: Reduce the risk of supply chain disruption, protect brands and company reputation, lower costs through collaborative actions (e.g., reduction of energy consumption), facilitate access to capital and increase valuation (e.g. integration of ESG factors in investment decisions) and provide market advantage when consumers demand a green and responsible supply chain.
But implementing sustainable procurement on a wide scale is also a challenge due to multiple factors: such as internal change management, supplier engagement, lack of resources for remediation and complexity of our supply chain. Over the next months and years, we will continue our EcoVadis journey; working with suppliers to overcome these challenges to ensure our customers receive the information they need to manage their own sustainable procurement processes and meet the demands of their customers and today’s increasingly fundamental ESG report.