Nestlé’s CPO on responsible sourcing

“There is no sustainable procurement as such. We should talk about a sustainable business.”

So said Marco Gonçalves, the CPO of Nestlé, to an audience of senior procurement professionals at a CIPS Switzerland branch event. Alongside the Nestlé presentation, the event featured for the first time in Switzerland an open presentation on International Standard on sustainability ISO 20400. This is not certifiable, but gives guiding principles to ensure that procurement develops the most positive environmental, social and economic impacts possible over the entire life cycle. Here’s how to do it right.

 It will help the business

Consumers are evolving, Gonçalves said, citing research figures that show an increase year-on-year of those willing to pay higher prices for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact. This trend applies to three different generations, he said: baby boomers, Generation X and millennials.

Start at the top

If the business model does not integrate a sustainability mindset, procurement will just scratch the surface, he said. The executive board of every business must deliver commitment to this cause and live up to the principles to enable solid actions that will lead to the new ways of thinking. To this end, Nestlé adopts a pyramid approach to creating shared value, cascading through the organisation from a company purpose to enhance the quality of life and contribute to a healthier future.


To achieve responsible sourcing, Gonçalves recommends the following:


  1. Clear purpose (why we do it)
  2. The way we do business (owned by brands)
  3. Prioritisation (engage, listen, act, measure)
  4. Operationalise (walk the talk, hands-on)
  5. Transparency (traceability, reporting)
  6. Cooperation (scale up through complementary capabilities)
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