Sustainability attracts customers, directors find

15 July 2009

16 July 2009 | Jake Kanter

Securing consumer trust is the biggest motivation for adopting sustainable procurement strategies, a study has revealed.

A gap remains, however, between the number who consider sustainable buying a business priority and the percentage who fully embed it.

The survey of 250 purchasing and supply chain directors at 50 multi-national companies by the Future Laboratory, found 68 per cent implemented standards on sustainability to help their company win over customers.

It was considered as important as helping the business become more efficient and preparing for legislated targets in the UK government's Carbon Reduction Commitment, coming into force in 2010.

Some 38 per cent also said responsible procurement can help bolster a business's brand image. "Consumers today are increasingly concerned about a product's environmental and social footprint," the report said.

It added that public sector buyers are also analysing their suppliers' green credentials more often, and warned vendors not to "fob them off" with poor data.

The report, Sustainable Performance Management, commissioned by technology firm Oracle, revealed most of this year's respondents are focusing on "easy wins", such as reducing usage and waste.

Procurement consultant Meryl Bushell said only a "handful" of companies have sustainability at the core of all their activity, despite 92 per cent of buyers saying the green agenda is a "business priority".

David Croft, conformance and sustainability director at confectionery firm Cadbury, noted: "Giving farmers a stronger livelihood and making cocoa farming more attractive ultimately gives us a cocoa supply-chain we can depend upon."


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