Buyers need to replace ‘greenwishing’ with green action

25 April 2023

Organisations are so preoccupied with getting the “perfect” emissions data they are failing to take any immediate action to remedy it.

Speaking at the CIPS Sustainable Procurement Summit, Mark Perera, co-founder of platform provider Vizibl, said procurement teams run the risk of so-called ‘greenwishing' by “waiting for the perfect data set.”

Instead, he urged procurement teams to take more immediate action on their and their suppliers’ carbon emissions.

Perera said: “Over the last 20 years we've all been talking about having data driven decisions. And as we look at net zero, there's plenty of opportunity to spend our time looking at the perfect data set around our emissions. But the truth is we just need enough information to take action.”

He continued: “We can spend another two weeks or even another two years looking for the ‘perfect’ data model [but] we’re not going to reduce and remove the emissions just by staring at it. We're going to have to do something with it. So that's why action is so important.”

He said: “We need to be on a journey with suppliers, to show that our boardrooms actually care about how they're making a difference."

He added: “If you're not working collaboratively with your suppliers to actually tackle some of these key categories to transform, then you know in your heart of hearts that the business is going to miss its targets,” he said. 

Perera shared four initial steps that he said all firms should take to get them started on their emissions journey.

Firstly, he said procurement teams must define the scope of their goals and understand the commitments their organisation has made.

Procurement should secondly select the suppliers they think are going to focus on driving down emissions - typically by honing in on the highest emitters in their supply chain. 

He added that firms should then set clear KPIs to assess progress, and only after all this should procurement then establish a “rough baseline” around its emissions data.

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