Duty calls... - Supply Management

Duty calls...

3 June 2011
I have some strange weeks in my Olympic role as chair of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012. Just recently we received a huge package in the mail from an enraged taxi driver from Weymouth containing piles of information about how changes to the traffic system is causing gridlock in his town and making it impossible for him to make a living. He also bemoaned the closure of the Thornton’s chocolate shop and blames the Olympics for all of this. We also received a polite letter from a 40-year old man from Austria (he told us he was 40) with an enclosed photo featuring one of our commissioners as part of the US gold medal winning synchronised swimming team from the 1980s. He told us he collects autographs of gold medal winners and asked if we could kindly ask for this lady’s autograph. This particular week ended with a lady turning up at our office and refusing to leave until she spoke to somebody from London 2012. A member of my team met her and she demanded to know what the Olympics were doing for the London Borough of Southwark. This seemed a little strange as she lived in Lewisham. The Commission is a public service and we did our best to help in all cases. A little light relief turned up at the Action Sustainability office in the form of an invitation to join a dinner at the Savoy hosted by Barbara Kux, CPO at Siemens. I have met Barbara before but I don’t know her well. She is one of eight people on the management board of this global corporation. She is both CPO and chief CSR officer. To my knowledge this is unique in the world. Siemens chose London as the venue to launch their 2010 sustainability report. In it they claim their customers have saved 300 million tonnes of CO2 through buying their more sustainable products. I am sure the carbon geeks could argue about these numbers until the polar ice caps melt, but for me this is a bold move by an influential corporation. To support a claim like this it is necessary to address every aspect of sustainability in every element of the value chain - from the products sold to customers through the operation and into every tier of the supply chain. Siemens accepts it still has much more to do to, but totally understands the need to ensure objectives are supported by a more sustainable supply chain. Not one to miss an opportunity, I have invited Barbara to come along to speak at our 2012 sustainable procurement conference and I am delighted to reveal she has accepted. We aim to stage this event in February 2012 and should be able to announce a date in the next few weeks. This will be a great opportunity to hear from one of the true global leaders in sustainable procurement. The star of last year’s event, Peter Head has also confirmed he will come back to tell us about his new global charity. I am also hoping to persuade Frank Henke, global head of sustainability at Adidas, to participate when I meet with him next week. It’s shaping up to be a great event.
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