“Sustainability is the internal guiding system that has to look not only internally but also across all external stakeholders, too,” said David Doran, vice president consulting at GEP Worldwide, a Silver Sponsor of the ‘Delivering Green: Creating Sustainable Supply Chains’ Conference organised by The Logistics Point.
According to Doran, sustainability is now a requirement for businesses; in fact, it’s becoming part of their core value system. The idea around sustainability has evolved during the last few decades; it’s no longer about simply checking a box to show that a company is trying to provide some added social value. More and more organisations, including suppliers, are now actively seeking ways to incorporate sustainability into their business models.
“It’s important to recognise that every area and category in procurement contributes to the overall sustainability goal,” said Doran. He focused on the importance of being able to prove that what is recorded on paper is actually happening. Many large suppliers have had problems because they hadn’t truly embraced sustainability in their operations and were only seeking to tick a box on a form.
Doran noted that it’s much easier for procurement to go through the needed changes if there is support coming from top management. He asserted that
procurement directors should look at ways to embed sustainability within their organization and refrain from working solely on their own section.
Focus on people
‘Organisations should try to convince their employees to embrace new attitudes toward procurement,’ said Doran. He insisted that since many younger employees have a desire to make a difference, organizations shouldn’t shy away from taking advantage of this passion — rather, they should support and assist those employees who exhibit it.
In addition, Doran called for organisations to expand their ecosystems and bring onboard the suppliers of their suppliers. “It’s not a one-to-one relationship, which has previously been a way to do things in procurement,” Doran argued.
Doran admitted that being sustainable is not an easy task; at times, it may in fact feel counterintuitive. He added that companies need to work from the very beginning with their suppliers and put the necessary systems in place before engaging in operations.
A big part of the overall process is educating employees, partners and any additional stakeholders. “We’re trying to change the idea that procurement is only about cost savings,” said Doran. “It’s also about sustainability.”
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