I think it’s telling that this year’s overall winner in the CIPS Supply Management Awards was also the champion in the corporate responsibility category.
Sainsbury’s triumphed for its project to remove all food waste from landfill. It achieved its target six months early while also saving £1.5 million annually. Furthermore, the company is receiving revenue from the electricity generated by the food recycling plants.
The work done by the procurement team caught the attention of their CEO Justin King, as well as the public with news stories appearing in national media.
It is evidence, if evidence is needed, that sustainable procurement can be cost effective – and that for retailers, at least, the economic climate hasn’t altered their approach. Responsible buying remains on the agenda.
Elsewhere this week, for example, sports company Puma has unearthed issues of "non-compliance" in its supply chain. Persistent problems include staff working "excessive" overtime and not being aware of their right to a minimum wage.
In the firm’s sustainability report for 2007 and 2008, it said it was addressing the issues through consistent auditing and by working with suppliers to improve conditions.
Chief supply chain officer, Reiner Seiz, added: "More than ever, people want to know where the products they buy are sourced and the conditions in which they are manufactured. The economic crisis has not changed this.”
Has it changed your approach?