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August 2011 | Adam Leach
management is taking a greater interest in what their buyers are doing to
develop sustainable procurement, according to research.
across Europe told a study published this week that bosses were now more
supportive of such initiatives, as well as taking greater responsibility for
projects by signing them off.
Sustainableprocurement: Back to management report conducted by consultancy EcoVadis and French
business school HEC, found more than a third (36
per cent) of senior purchasers had made significant progress in securing
top-level management’s interest in sustainable buying.
study, which surveyed 80 senior procurement officers across Europe, found 92
per cent believed their organisation considers sustainable buying to be an
“important or critical” initiative. The three main motivations for this were improving
risk management, cost reduction and value creation.
a result, the number of purchasers who think it is still a challenge to get
senior executives to agree to sustainable purchasing initiatives fell by five
per cent to 12 per cent, when compared to the corresponding study from 2009.
while engagement from the very top of an organisation in sustainability is
increasing, buyers said the momentum trickles away as you go further down the
chain of authority. Senior purchasers highlighted a “reluctance” on the part of
middle managers to implement these initiatives.
growing importance of sustainable procurement was highlighted by the fact 56
per cent of buyers saw their budgets for sustainability projects increase,
while just 8 per cent reported them being cut. Some 36 per cent said their
budget in this area stayed the same.
purchasers indicated that short-term financial targets often overshadow the
need to develop sustainable procurement. Some 44 per cent cited “contradictory
objectives” as a major challenge, with only 11 per cent saying they had made
2011 edition of the HEC-EcoVadis sustainable procurement report is the fifth
study conducted since 2003.