15 March 2007 | Antony Barton
Suppliers appear more interested than heads of procurement in reducing carbon usage in the supply chain.
At the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' (Defra) first suppliers conference, all but one of its 47 vendors said they would, in principle, be interested in working with the department to develop plans to achieve a carbon-neutral supply chain.
Yet during the first TiVA forum of 15 company procurement directors, which took place the same week, delegates unanimously voted against discussing global warming and carbon neutral supply chains. They preferred the topic of how to improve relationships with suppliers.
Andy Brown, chief executive of supplier management firm TiVA, told SM after the event that he was surprised and disappointed at the lack of interest in the issue. He said: "I guess that people need a chance to think these things over before they act, so at the moment we'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Yet I did take them to task because to me it seems obvious that the business case is a good one - saving the planet."
But Guy Allen, director of sourcing and supply services at Fujitsu, said the CPOs did show an interest but nobody wanted to discuss it: "I think it's something that's been well discussed and a way forward is fairly evident. Supplier relationship management is a non-specific issue - there is no answer. But with CSR there are answers, it's just about whether you have the appetite to do it."
Brown revealed to SM
that he would provide TiVA funds for its members' suppliers to receive free advice, support and training on how to reduce carbon in their supply chains. See News focus