Buyers need to take individual responsibility for their business’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals.
Matt Beddoe, head of procurement at Nestlé, said CSR was about how his procurement team could contribute to the group’s wider goals.
“I could, as Nestlé, cite our cocoa plan, or our coffee plan and the social enterprise that goes with that. That’s part of our global procurement function and it’s something that I am proud to work for and it makes me feel good about procurement,” he said.
“But I think it’s more about what we can do as individuals within that, and how my team can do things that change things.”
Speaking at the Procurious Big Ideas Summit in London, Beddoe said he works for Nestlé because of its purpose as a business. “It’s not because I work for procurement first, I work for Nestlé first,” he said.
“I happen to have a function that’s procurement. [But] it’s more about my role as a business leader and getting engaged in the business challenges.
“I don’t think it [CSR] is necessarily a procurement challenge, I think it’s about how procurement can support, and also bring new things to the party, to develop those greater purposes.”
One of the ways Beddoe’s team is contributing to Nestlé’s CSR goals is with a programme to support young dairy farmers in the supply chain.
Over the last two years the team has been working with eight farmers who are starting out in their careers, helping to educate them on financial responsibility, best farming practices and looking at how they work with the firm’s supply chain.
“They got to meet government figures and all sorts of different things, and that makes me proud that we’re responsible for doing that,” Beddoe said.
“It doesn’t cost a huge amount of money, it costs a lot of time and effort and an inclination, but that’s because we want to do it and it’s the right thing to do.”
The work his team has done on CSR has also made procurement a more attractive place for young Nestlé recruits, said Beddoe. “It’s about how we make it relate to our market and how it inspires people, and now I get a lot of particularly commercial apprentices and graduates wanting to work in procurement because they see it as an attractive place.
“It’s about what we can do as individuals and how we make it real. We can talk about the corporate things – and we do do them, it’s not greenwash – but personally, what am I doing to make a difference, is the most important thing.”
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