20 June 2002 | David Arminas
Environmentally responsible supply chain management is fundamental to better profits in the construction industry, a former cabinet minister told CIPS members last week.
John Gummer, a former secretary of state for the environment, urged the 60 guests at the CIPS construction lunch in Birmingham to buy sustainable products and energy-efficient systems, or they would lose business.
"Clients will increasingly demand information on where products come from, how they are made and whether future legislation will make items more expensive to run or obsolescent," he said.
"Do not think that in four years' time you will be able to get away with using wood that does not have some sort of forestry stewardship standard mark."
He said buyers can ensure their company keeps making profits in the face of increasing environmental legislation.
"In this way, purchasers can make sure their company doesn't get clobbered by regulations in the coming years," he said.
But he added that to take advantage of sustainable procurement, they must move out of old-style "comfortable supplier relationships" but avoid the "hard-nosed US style" where lowest price is foremost.
"There is a third way, which is a partnership with suppliers over a time when you do the job together and share in the profits of reduced costs through sustainable buying and practices."