Businesses must now navigate the treacherous waters of increasing legislative and consumer pressure to make ethics a central aspect of their business processes. But your business needs to delve deep into the supply chain when it comes to addressing your accountability  – consumers and regulatory bodies hold businesses responsible not only for their own practices, but the behaviors of those they do business with.

For this reason, much of the responsibility for adhering to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability lies with the procurement team, whose supply chain risk management strategies are becoming more convoluted and complex than ever.

Sustainable Procurement is More Than a Buzzword

At the center of sustainable procurement is the knowledge that what we buy, whether as an individual or as a business, and the way we buy it has a butterfly effect that reaches far beyond our immediate business and ecological environs. Our supply chains have a huge impact on communities and economies, and on the environment. Through ensuring that these impacts feature highly in our purchasing decisions and policies, we will make a positive impact on our supply chains and the entire globe.

In the Power of Sustainable Procurement Report by the American Sustainable Business Council, they refer to this as businesses “doing well by doing good.”

President of the National League of Cities, Mayor Mark Stodola, said, “We must understand that sustainability is more than an environmental issue. It extends to embrace building an economy based on triple-bottom-line values: people, planet, and profit. To achieve this broad goal, we need policies that enshrine these values in the way we do business, and one of our most powerful tools for change is procurement.”

Many ethically-minded corporations will now decide who to do business with based on their sustainability performance, and the Dow Jones.

Strategic Sourcing is the Answer

Sustainability is a priority now for most corporations, but often they must battle preconceived notions that with sustainable procurement comes increased costs and bureaucracy.

It is true that monitoring sustainability criteria and the compliance of all suppliers can be a feat of complexity. Supplier audits take time and resources, and therefore have a negative impact on budgets, and many SMEs simply cannot afford to undertake these lengthy processes, leaving them vulnerable. A sustainable procurement pathway is not a luxury of big businesses, though. The secret is in efficiency and in strategic sourcing software.

eProcurement drives efficiency and help you reach your cost-reduction and sustainability targets.

Achieving sustainability targets can be part of a cost-reduction strategy, with both objectives co-existing and even complimenting the other. Organizations can leverage insight into their supply chains to achieve optimum value whilst not compromising reputations, lives or the planet and meeting the CSR and sustainability goals.

Integrating CSR value points into your RFX and contract management systems is the key to your business being able to leverage insights into how vendors can impact your supply chain. If you are interested in responsible supply chain practices, it is essential that you are engaging with vendors who align with your ideals and ethos, and who won’t, in the worst case scenario, end up being a skeleton in your CSR closet.

From helping you make greens sourcing decisions for direct spend and ensuring all components are ethically sourced, to controlling the environmental impact of your indirect spend and ensuring you are making the most environmentally and pocket-friendly decisions for energy, freight and fleet – strategic sourcing is the answer your business is looking for.

Your environmental conscience can align with your cost-cutting mindset, and ProcurePort’s strategic sourcing software including RFX tools, contract management and eAuction technology can help you to build CSR value points into your sourcing process and rationale. For more information about how our strategic sourcing software can help your business achieve your procurement goals, get in touch with our team of experts.