CIPS SM Awards overall winners Northumbrian Water (with the evening's host, comedian Russell Kane and Patrick Dunne of the judging panel) ©Alex Deverill
CIPS SM Awards overall winners Northumbrian Water (with the evening's host, comedian Russell Kane and Patrick Dunne of the judging panel) ©Alex Deverill

Getting suppliers on board with CSR

Northumbrian Water was named overall winner at the CIPS SM Awards 2018, thanks to its responsible procurement strategy. Procurement category managers Laura McMain and John Murray share these quick wins for engaging suppliers in CSR

1. Have a clear link between CSR and your vision and values. This provides suppliers with a clear understanding of why it is important, making them more likely to buy in.

2. Engage them at an early stage and bring them on the journey. When we developed our strategy we engaged the supply chain to understand their needs and focus areas.

3. Give them the tools and resources to support. You will have suppliers of varying maturity. By making training available and producing guidance booklets we ensured all the supply chain understood CSR and the value it can bring.

4. Set clear expectations. A supplier charter was developed with statements on values, principles and standards of conduct for everyone in the supply chain without exception. Creating a culture where everyone knows what is expected allows this to be communicated down.

5. Educate where necessary. Highlighting the reasons why suppliers will benefit from having a better understanding of CSR, such as ensuring they are legally compliant or the potential of winning more work, will help bring them on your journey.

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