Index linked

11 June 2013
David Noble, chief executive, Chartered Institute of Purchasing & SupplyHow do you currently measure the sustainability credentials of your suppliers? The chances are that most buyers, in larger organisations at any rate, will have a formal and detailed process for their top-tier suppliers, but are less likely to extend the same level of scrutiny to the rest. It’s understandable that the time and cost of collecting and evaluating the information focuses attention on those areas of greatest risk to the business. But these days, when supply chains are longer and more integrated than ever before, it is understood that suppliers play a major role in helping organisations meet their sustainability goals, minimise risk and identify areas for innovation and improvement. It is becoming more and more important for buyers to know all their suppliers well to avoid the kind of surprises that can be costly to reputations and customer confidence. The CIPS Sustainability Index (CSI) has been developed to help buyers get a better handle on their supply chains at every level, by measuring sustainability in a way that’s standardised and efficient. CSI has been developed by our partners, PRGX, and is supported by rigorous academic research by the University of the West of England. We’ve also had input from more than 20 industry mentors representing a broad cross-section of business, including BAA, Centrica, the Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium, and the Department for Work and Pensions. A lot of work has gone into making sure the Index asks the right economic, environmental and social questions. They are relevant in every sector and are based on the profile of a supplier, providing a scoring mechanism that is easy to understand and to use to inform procurement decisions. CSI is made up of a series of common questions that mean suppliers will be able to answer in a standard way, saving time and resource on evaluating the different ways they provide routine information. It will also allow buyers to compare suppliers more easily. And, of course, this won’t just benefit buyers. It will give suppliers an impartial and quantifiable assessment of their sustainability credentials which can be used when responding to RFPs and, if their rating is low, gives them an incentive and a best-in-class benchmark to raise their game. Initially, the index is available in the UK and Ireland, but we’re excited about its potential to be a global benchmarked service for CIPS. The plan is to roll it out worldwide with a multi-lingual platform, so keep an eye out for announcements. You can find out more information 
on the dedicated CSI website. On an electoral roll This issue of SM will reach you just as nominations for this year’s Congress elections close and preparations get under way for the ballot. Voting opens on 1 July and every eligible member will receive an online or postal vote, administered by the Electoral Reform Service. Members who receive their ballot paper by post will have the option to vote online instead. The closing date for voting is 2 August. We’re extremely fortunate at CIPS that elections to our representative body are well supported, both in terms of candidates putting their names forward, and in voter numbers. CIPS modernised its governance structure last year, leading to the creation of the Congress – a representative and advisory body comprising individuals from the profession elected by members to promote their interests and help steer the strategy of the institute. It’s shaping up to be a dynamic forum for raising and debating issues that matter most to you as procurement professionals. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to choose who you want to represent your interests. If you have any enquiries, email
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