Let’s make 2016 the year of sustainable procurement

Jeni Christiensen is a procurement professional
posted by Jeni Christensen
15 March 2016

SM recently highlighted the low levels of preparedness and lack of understanding of procurement leaders in UK in regard the Modern Slavery Act.

I have read the CIPS guidance on the Act, which is informative, and provides a useful summary of the Act well (and provide one hour of CPD for reading). This is a definite step in the right direction in regard to the social factors for UK (including my homeland of Scotland).

But I believe here in Australia we’re lagging behind in regard to making procurement more professional. We need to step-up and recognise procurement as a true profession – not an addition to finance and encourage companies to appoint more chief procurement officers. We need to articulate our value proposition, the benefits we bring, celebrate success and relaunch the procurement brand.

We need to demonstrate the value of professional procurement and contract management. This involves promoting value-for-money, not cheapest price; reduced risk; good governance; celebrating our success and demonstrating the benefits realisation of the resultant contract, not just savings; compliance; due diligence, particularly when bringing suppliers on board, promoting longevity and relationship management; detecting procurement fraud and avoidance of conflicts of interest in our supply chain; and supporting ethical and sustainable procurement.

Let’s join together as fellow procurement professionals and campaign to remove the stigma that procurement is about savings and cheapest price.

And let’s make 2016 the year of sustainable procurement.

Sustainable procurement should focus on all three pillars: people, planet and profit, or social, environmental and economic. We need to look deeper into ethical sourcing and sustainable procurement - this should include, but not be limited to: 

  • Labour standards, including modern slavery
  • Health and safety
  • The environment
  • Business ethics 

While corporate giants fight their suppliers and farmers for the cheapest price, we should promote the concepts of value for money and fit for purpose. We should stop importing inferior products such as toxic tuna, unethical prawns and inferior electrical products such as hover boards that are prone to catch fire.

Our target should be a CPO at every boardroom table and move procurement from the back room to the boardroom. Let’s promote professional procurement!

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