Majority of buyers aim to have sustainability efforts recognised, SM poll finds

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
7 May 2015

A majority of buyers are seeking to have their sustainability efforts recognised by external bodies, according to a poll.

When asked: "Is your organisation making efforts to earn recognition for its work to develop a sustainable supply chain?", seven members of the SM Jury voted 'yes' against five who voted 'no'.

The question was prompted by the rankings compiled by charities such as Greenpeace and Oxfam, which assess the sustainability credentials of firms.

Nad Aberkane, director of Procuring Group, voted 'yes’. “Sustainability is crucial, but so is communicating its importance,” he said. “Gaining recognition for a sustainable supply chain promotes this approach as a company value, increasing community engagement and drawing like-minded partners.”

Chris Graves, head of procurement services at YPO, also voted ‘yes’. “In order to maximise the value we obtain from the spend that we manage, we are working hard to develop the way in which sustainability in its widest sense is derived through our procurement activity.”

But others felt sustainability was “rewarding enough in its own right”.

Emma Goodwin, a procurement manager in financial services, voted ‘no’. “In terms of sustainability, it is only one part of our overall corporate responsibility and procurement policy, therefore we are not seeking reward for doing our job to the expected standards,” she said. “It is a given that you should be sustainable in all actions including your supply chain.”

Cristian Martin, procurement and contracts manager at the Commonwealth Secretariat, also voted ‘no’, but he felt his organisation could be promoting its actions more.

Martin said the Commonwealth Secretariat was working to be carbon neutral and was aiming to encourage more SMEs and minority/women-owned firms into the supply chain. “We are not doing this for recognition, we are doing this because it is the right thing to do,” he said. “We should promote our work in sustainability more than we do in my view.”

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