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29 May 2012 | Kamalpreet Badasha
Just under a third (32 per cent) of procurement professionals in the social housing sector do not share knowledge of sustainability within their supply chains.
A study conducted by the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University and Procurement for Housing, Sustainable procurement in social housing supply chains: the role of knowledge and consortia, interviewed 131 purchasers analysing sustainability procurement practices and policies in the social sector housing.
“There could be a lot of good practice out there that is not being shared. The public sector should be sharing knowledge,” said Jo Meehan, lecturer in strategic purchasing from the University of Liverpool Management School.
The research highlighted there are “a lot of individual companies [social landlords] doing a lot of individual things,” according to Dr Meehan.
The prime focus seems to be on internal practices, such as training staff on sustainability where 61 per cent of respondents rated their work as ‘high’ or ‘very high’. “There is a lot of activity going on but what it tends to focus on is social landlords looking at their own policy and procedures. It doesn’t engage the supply community,” added Meehan.
But the knowledge available is limited in its scope according to Meehan. “It is a very insular sector, housing people might talk to other providers at conferences. But they [social landlords] never talk to anyone from another sector. They recruit people from a housing background. There are no new ideas. There is no new stimulus coming into the sector,” she said.