30 January 2009 | Jake Kanter
Purchasers must play a key role in helping their businesses balance sustainable procurement with commercial gains, according to a report by CIPS.
Balancing commercial and sustainable issues said business objectives and sustainable priorities can sometimes conflict because ethical sourcing is seen to be more costly. It said organisations need to understand that both issues must go "hand in hand".
The report called on buyers to drive the message that sustainable purchasing makes strong commercial sense. "Responsible procurement is essential to the core business of a company, since no business can sell its goods or services unless suppliers deliver those goods and services on time, to the agreed specification and cost."
Purchasers were urged to champion the total life-cycle costs of goods and services, rather than the initial price paid. For example, it said purchasing certified timber may cost more but will ensure security of supply and mitigate any potential damage to a businesses reputation if caught sourcing illegal supplies.
The report added businesses that identify the importance of sustainable procurement would be in a better position to survive the economic downturn.
A recent poll of 100 buyers by supplymanagement.com revealed that sustainable purchasing will continue to be a priority for their organisation even during tough economic conditions (News, 13 November 2008).