Making social improvements through procurement should be an everyday consideration of the role, according to Nationwide’s supply chain boss.
Laura Faulkner, director of supply chain management at Nationwide Building Society, told SM it has created a cross-functional team within supply chain management, with the core purpose of working collaboratively across the business and its supply base to create maximum economic, social and environmental value.
“You need to make this a formal part of an overarching plan. Teams need to consider wider social impacts as part of their everyday role and it’s crucial to be clear with suppliers about what you expect of them today and in the future,” she said.
“By working collaboratively across the supply chain we can focus all our efforts and achieve so much more together.”
Faulkner oversees a department of around 130 people who look after third party management, of which procurement is one part.
The business, which spends approximately £1.4bn a year with third parties, is one of only 16 partners to have signed up to Social Enterprise UK’s Buy Social Corporate Challenge. The challenge aims to see £1bn of procurement spend with social enterprises over the course of five years. “Signing up was a key achievement for us last year,” she said. “The challenge is very ambitious… but we’re excited to be involved and are committed to doing our bit.”
Faulkner says the business has designed a scorecard, to be launched in the spring, to measure and track its performance against key social responsibility criteria so it can assess the impact its having and identify areas of opportunity both for Nationwide and its suppliers.
It has recently started working with WildHearts, an organisation that aims to transform lives through office supplies spend, and invest profits into several charity projects in the UK and around the world. Wild Hearts focuses on delivering an environmental product range, recycling initiatives, sustainable packaging and uses an electric and biofuel vehicle fleet.
Examples include the delivery of a free multi-award winning entrepreneurial education programme so far delivered to 40,000 young people in UK schools and the funding of ‘Love to Learn’ packs as part of a global literacy project.
It also continues to work with the Carbon Trust and has been awarded the Carbon Trust Triple Standard – for carbon, water and waste reduction – for the third consecutive year. In 2015 it acted as one of the pathfinders piloting the methodology for the Carbon Trust Standard for Supply Chain, successfully achieving the award as a result of its work engaging suppliers around emissions reduction.
“Doing the right thing for our 15 million members and their communities is at the heart of what it means to be a building society. We must also adapt to remain safe, sustainable and dependable for our members today and in the future. Ensuring we have a resilient supply chain is vital in achieving this,” added Faulkner.
• See the next issue of SM for a feature on how and why to incorporate social value into procurement.
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